For Couples: Should you do a first look? Myths, Pros, and Cons

Let me start by saying my number one tip that applies to all wedding planning details: You can do whatever you want. In today’s wedding world, the rules are pretty much out the window and you can tailor your day to fit you guys and your personalities. “We should” can go ahead and high-tail it out of your wedding vocabulary right now and be replaced with “We want.” Do you.

With all that said, let me tell you what Dan and I think about first looks so you can see a photographer’s perspective on the whole thing. Dan and I honestly believe that a first look is a highly personal decision. In this post we’ll talk about myths, pros, and cons so that you can have a little insight into the decision.

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Myth 1: “It’s so IN right now”

Half of our couples have one and half don’t. Its certainly not something that “everyone is doing” and you absolutely do not have to do one. You won’t be weird if you don’t and you won’t be weird if you do.

Myth 2: “It’s the best timeline decision for every wedding”

It depends so much on so many other factors on your wedding day timeline that it doesn’t always make the timeline better to have a first look. If you are dead set on making it to your cocktail hour for the full time then a first look is a good solution but we can usually swing something where you only miss half. The really important thing to remember with timelines is that every single wedding is different and assuming a first look is the best option isn’t always right.

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Pro 1: “It’s private”

One thing that we LOVE about first looks is that it’s a more intimate private experience for our couples. Rather than having this critical moment in front of every single person at your wedding (and their plus ones), you get to have this moment almost entirely alone. We let you have the most real-lost-in-the-moment experience you can. You can be you. Unedited.

Pro 2: “Photo timing”

You do have the option to take the formal family and wedding party photos before the ceremony if you do a first look. This does allow more time afterwards for that whole cocktail hour AND your family and friends are off the hook for photo assignments early!

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Con 1: “Light”

Nine times out of ten, the first look is scheduled to happen in the harshest light of the day. This limits where we can comfortably photograph you for the best results. When the sun is high in the sky, it puts harsh shadows under your nose and eyes and it blows out the ocean behind you. (Everyone wants that ocean and we get it). Whenever a couple of ours has a first look in the harsh light, we always schedule another mini couple session in the lovely light later on in the evening just to get that buttery golden light.

Con 2: “Cost”

Since we need to arrive an hour earlier to the event on “first look weddings” our couples usually need to book an additional hour with us to cover the full event. It adds an hour on before the ceremony that isn’t there on non-first look wedding timelines. Whomp. There is the occasional wedding where we don’t have to do this but with a typical “first look” timeline, we need to stay longer than 7 hours to cover the event.

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I hope that was helpful for you in considering if you want to do a first look at your own wedding. There really is no wrong or right here. It’s all about priority and what you want your wedding to feel like. It’s all good with us either way. We just want you to know what having one or not having one means for your day. We love them AND we love the traditional route. Seriously. You do you.

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Hey there!

This is a photo of me in a burger bar in Stockholm Sweden. I am about to drink the best beer I have ever had. It's a pretty important photo of me. I just remember feeling filled with joy and so so glad to be alive. That's a good place to start on getting to know me.


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