Wedding Photography Advice | Is a ‘First Look’ Right For You?

Top Orlando wedding photographer captures rustic chic DIY wedding at the Holy Trinity Reception Center including traditional Vietnamese tea ceremony

Orlando Wedding Photography Advice | Is a ‘First Look’ Right For You?

The ‘first look’ is a modern wedding trend which bucks the tradition of seeing each other down the aisle and instead allows for an emotional private moment when you meet before the actual wedding ceremony. Typically it is followed by portraits– either with your bridal party & family, just the two of you, or both which allows you to get a leg up on your timeline. The alternative is usually waiting until after the ceremony, during your cocktail hour, to capture those photos.

Many of my brides and grooms often ask me for my take on whether or not they should have a first look during their wedding day. While I appreciate my couples looping me in and asking for my input, I always like to put it back on them because I don’t feel like it’s a “one size fits all” type of thing.

I personally love capturing first looks as a photographer and I did do a first look on my own wedding day back in 2011! But I also know they are not for everyone and I think it’s important to consider your options instead of letting someone else make that decision for you.

Here are some two important things to think about in order to decide if a first look is right for YOU!

Sample Orlando wedding photography album design by top Orlando wedding photographer#1 Your Timeline

The first thing to think about is your wedding day timeline and what time your ceremony will take place. Traditionally, most couples take family portraits & couples portraits after the ceremony during their cocktail hour. However if you are having a sunset wedding ceremony and it will be dark out by the time it’s over, then having a first look may be the best option for you so that you are not taking photos in the dark. Granted if you want to take photos after sunset we can make it happen! It’s just important to be aware of the difference between portraits taken in natural sunlight versus photos captured in the dark with flash so that you know what to expect. Otherwise having a first look might be your best choice so that we can capture some beautiful and romantic photos before the ceremony!

Aside from that, if you are not doing a full hour of cocktail or if you want to attend your cocktail hour then it may also make sense to do a first look in order to accommodate your timeline without sacrificing valuable portrait time.

#2 Your Personality

You know yourselves best! If you are the type of person that gets very nervous, then I often recommend a first look to help calm your nerves before you walk down the aisle. There’s nothing quite as comforting as being with your honey, so seeing them in advance can be just what you need to keep you from totally losing it!

For me, what I enjoyed most about having a first look was getting to see my future hubby and actually being able to talk to him as he saw me for the first time. I wanted to hear what he thought about my dress, how his day was and how he was feeling. (I like to ask a lot of questions!!) I knew if I waited to see him down the aisle we would not get to talk! I really enjoyed having that intimate moment just the two of us to talk and soak it in together before the ceremony.

Orlando wedding photographer captures rustic chic wedding at the Hammock House in Wekiva

On the other hand, if what you have always dreamed of is your future spouse locking eyes with you down the aisle for the first time (especially if your fiance is the emotional type!) then a first look may NOT be for you. Also if you are both very traditional then I probably wouldn’t recommend it as having a first look is more of a modern trend.

If you still want a private moment just the two of you then consider a first touch which you can do behind a door or around a corner so you can have a sweet emotional moment together without seeing one another!

Emotional first touch for Gaylord Palms wedding by Orlando photographer