Should I have a First Look?

What are the pros of a First Look?

1. Logistically easier 
You’ll be able to see your fiance before your wedding ceremony, and maybe even get ready together. Couples do not have to rush to get all portraits done after the wedding ceremony. During a First Look, you can build our timeline to have two hours of portraits instead of the typical 45 minutes during a cocktail hour. There will be more time for photographs of the couple, family, and bridal party. 

2. Psychologically relaxing
Seeing each other may take the nerves out. Many couples say that they were able to have a sense of calm after seeing each other. Couples have said that even though they had an emotional First Look together, it did not detract from the emotion of walking down the aisle, even though they had already seen each other. If anything, they were able to be more present and focused on seeing their family and friends’ reaction as they walked down the aisle. The thought that all formal photographs have been completed is very relaxing for some couples, as well!

3. You get to enjoy cocktail hour!
Traditionally, most couples do not attend their cocktail hour, which immediately follows their wedding ceremony. They spend this time photographing family,  bridal party, and couple portraits with their photographer. By having a First Look, you have the choice of attending cocktail hour and spending more time with your friends and family.

deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum wedding photography by Nicole Chan Photography, Boston wedding photographer

What is a First Look?

A First Look is when couples see each other for the first time on their wedding day prior to their wedding ceremony. They may take a few emotional moments to hold each other, see each other in their wedding outfits, and even have their photographs taken. 

Traditionally, wedding couples do not see each other prior to the ceremony. The first time would be as one walks down the aisle and the other watches from the top of the aisle.
boston state room wedding photos

What are the cons of a First Look?

1. It’s not what you’ve been dreaming of 
For some, it’s something that they have imagined for many years. Having a First Look may “crush dreams”, and in that case, it may not be worth it. 

2. Everyone has to get ready a little earlier 
Because of an earlier start time, everyone involved in portraits may have to finish getting ready several hours earlier than if you were not having a First Look. 

3. Timeline does not always work out as planned
Though I work very closely with my couples, the timeline sometimes does not work out. This eats into the time that would typically have for First Look. It may be stressful for you to have to change your timeline to accommodate.
Boston State Room Wedding Photos Best Boston Skyline Wedding Photos Nicole Chan Photography

How much time do you recommend for a First Look?

I recommend 30 minutes for the couple, 30 minutes for the bridal party, and 30 minutes for the immediate family

What’s a good timeline with a First Look?

Here’s a sample wedding timeline for an afternoon ceremony

1:00-2:30 Getting ready (Photographers arrive at 1pm)
2:30-4:00pm First look and Pre-ceremony portraits
4:00-4:30pm Transportation to Ceremony
4:30-5:00pm Buffer time
5:00-6:00pm Ceremony
6:00-7:00pm Cocktail hour
7:00-11:00pm Reception (Photographers leave at 10pm)

Read more about Wedding Timeline Planning here

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