Wedding Day First Look | Maine Wedding Photography
Should you consider doing a wedding day “first look” ?
In this article we’ll explain what we’ve found to be the advantages of a wedding day first look, not only from our unique perspective as Maine wedding photographers, but from your perspective as the bride and groom as well.
So, what is a “first look”? A first look is when the bride and groom see each other before the actual wedding ceremony. The time, place, and circumstances are generally determined along with the bride and groom by the photographer. It’s a carefully-orchestrated, quiet, intensely emotional, amazing moment in time. The photographers have found the right light, the right backgrounds, the right everything, and have scripted the process and guided the couple through the “what-to-do” instructions. There are many great reasons to do this, and among all those reasons, the schedule of the day ranks pretty much at the top of the list.
The #1 piece of “resistance” we hear on why not to do a first look, is the groom-to-be’s concern that he wants to do things “traditionally”. We understand that concern. And we explain that the tradition of not seeing the bride before the wedding dates back to cultures of arranged marriages, when the fear was that the groom would bolt if he saw his bride beforehand. Luckily, arranged marriages are no longer the norm. Many couples have realized the incredible benefits of a first look on the day’s flow and timing, and we are fine with sequencing the day just exactly as wished by the bride and groom. It’s worth noting, that not all Maine wedding photographers are that flexible. Some insist on a first-look. This is an important discussion point with your photographer, especially before committing to hiring them.
All that said, let’s explore all the wonder and joy of doing a first look by looking at these images, all done at a first-look.
Just look at the wonderful emotion Patty and Tommy enjoyed in the above panels. A perfect location, free of distractions, where emotions can flow. We often hear from the groom that, were he to see his bride for the first time in front of all the guests at the actual ceremony, he would feel a need to hold back emotion and not shed tears of joy in front of everyone. What a shame that would be, as the groom indeed is often the first to shed tears. We hear back from both the groom and the bride that at a first look, they felt no need to do other than let themselves be themselves.
A wedding day first look takes off so much pressure. Couples tell us what fun it was, that “getting this emotional part of the day out of the way” ahead of time let them breathe, relax, and truly enjoy the day.
Then we come to the fact that when the couple indeed sees each other once again as the bride walks up the aisle, a whole new set of emotions is scripted out once more. Many couples report that they were more able to be present in the moment, as the anxiety had passed, after seeing each other beforehand. Perfect! Two distinct photo ops!
Late afternoon wedding ceremony times are no longer an issue with concerns about there not being enough light for subsequent couples and wedding party photos. The two photos that follow below are examples of photos that would simply not have happened without a first look, as the light just wasn’t there after the ceremony. Moving the ceremony time earlier is an option, for sure, but that most often also means the party will fall apart much too early in the evening. Further, family formals can be scheduled to happen before the ceremony, to the delight of family members who can directly go to enjoy the cocktail hour.
With a first look, the couple themselves can also fully enjoy all of their cocktail hour, and be able to mingle with guests. That mingling cuts down the amount of time spent visiting during the reception, and that translates into more time to dance and party.
Not one time has a couple done a first look and reported back any regret whatsoever. To the contrary, couples universally report back to us what a fantastic decision it was.
Here are some additoinal key observations we have made:
- Grooms are more apt to let tears flow at a wedding day first look than at the altar or in front of all the guests.
- The idea that “we want the first look to be a special moment” isn’t just one that will be solved by seeing each other at the ceremony. It absolutely will be just as special a moment doing a first look. Or even more so, because this niche has been carved out of the day, and you both will be in great light, in the privacy you deserve, with your photographers standing a good distance back. Our long lenses (that let us work from afar) are the standard for the first look.
- Like we alluded above, the time when the bride walks up the aisle feels different than the first look did, and thus it actually makes for two distinctly special moments.
- A first look gives the groom an important part of the wedding day that is largely focused on him.
- All of the blog posts featured on Russell Caron Wedding Photography feature some outstanding, stellar images. The vast majority of these weddings, however had a first look. Amazing images don’t necessarily just happen, nor do they need to take an especially long time, but doing a first look often allows that extra 20 minutes or so, which may be just long enough to ride into town, go to the beach, to the fields in front of the mountains, to get a few more shots that end up being the real artistic memories of the day.
- Couples get a rare moment on wedding day to be alone with each other. We cannot count the times couples riding with us in the back seat of our vehicle tell us how they so so loved the quiet time that this afforded them.
Of note, all of the wedding day first look photos you see in this post were taken by Maine wedding photographers, Russell Caron Wedding Photography, and we are a 2-photographer team. The best photographic results during a first look require two photographers. Our placement: one of us photographing the bride, and the other photographing the groom, is essential to capturing the emotion of not just one, but both people. While a first look can certainly be done by a single photographer, it just cannot possibly have the same photographic outcome as when your photographic team consists of two professional wedding photographers.