While soon-to-be newlyweds traditionally have been advised not to see each other before the wedding, first-looks have become the new tradition that many couples have chosen to follow. This trend allows for couples to privately connect with each other before the ceremony. While many have turned to this idea, many still choose to go the traditional route and wait until the ceremony. If you are on the fence about whether to do a first-look at your wedding, check out the pros and cons to help you make a decision.
The Argument for Doing a First-Look
Many couples choose to do first-looks because it gives them a quiet moment together before they are officially married. While it may break with tradition, this can be a very sweet moment to have together before saying your “I do’s.” It can also be a good time to let go of any pre-ceremony jitters and really focus on the present moment with your partner. On top of that, since it is such a whirlwind of a day with lots of people around, it will likely be the last moment of calm (and privacy!) together before the celebrations ensue.
On the practical side, doing a first-look can give you an opportunity to take your family, wedding party, and a couple shots before the ceremony. This means you can get the portrait photos out of the way, and then head straight to a cocktail hour after your ceremony. You could also consider taking a few shots of just the two of you during this time as well. That way, you won’t have to spend quite as much time doing portraits between the ceremony and the reception.
There is one important thing to keep in mind, however. If you are considering taking your photos before the ceremony, be sure to assess the lighting situation, particularly if you want these portraits in natural light. Consult with your photographer to determine what time of day is best to take these photos – if your ceremony is earlier in the day, the lighting might be too harsh to take your photos beforehand. On the other side of the spectrum, if you are having a winter wedding, you’ll be losing light earlier in the day – in which case it might actually make more sense to do pre-ceremony photos.
The Argument Against a First-Look
Of course, the main argument against doing a first-look is that it breaks with the tradition of not seeing each other before the actual ceremony. If you prefer to stick to traditions, a first-look will probably not be the best option for you.
Some also argue that a first-look takes away from the special moment of seeing each other at the start of the ceremony. The family members and friends who have gathered together for the big day won’t be able to experience this special moment of the couple seeing each other for the first time – which can be a deal-breaker for some couples.
There is also the point that, if you are taking your portraits during this time, you won’t actually be married in these photos. For some, that isn’t a big deal, but others might prefer to take their portraits once they are married, with their wedding bands on.
On the logistics side, a first-look could mess with timing – especially if you are trying to fit in portraits before the ceremony. If you end up running a bit behind schedule getting ready for the big day, you might end up eating up your first-look and portrait time. This means you’ll be rushed taking these photos, and might not be able to get all the shots you want. For couples who are worried about this but still want to get the first-look moment in, they may need to start getting ready earlier in the day.
When it comes down to it, the choice of whether to do a first-look photo is a very personal decision. Look at what is important to you and your partner – as well as the logistics of the day – and decide what makes the most sense for you.
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