Wedding Day Tips

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First Look vs Traditional

Should you do a first look or go the traditional route? Why or why not?

Today we’re talking about the differences between the two! We would love your input, so if you’ve already gone through this decision-making process, be sure to comment and tell us what route you went and what spurred that decision. 🙂

Whether you (as the bride) decide to make your first appearance when you walk down the aisle to your awaiting groom or do a first look prior to the ceremony is completely up to the two of you. Each couple has their preferences and it all depends on what you want for your day. Based on our experience, Grant and I tend to lean towards a first look, but neither is right or wrong. It’s your wedding, so do what suits you best!

With the traditional route, the special, memorable moment is when the bride walks down that aisle to her eager groom who sees her in her beautiful wedding gown for the very first time in front of family and friends. Those who have walked with them throughout their lives individually and together as a couple are able to participate in this memorable moment. Everyone gets to see the emotion and get teary-eyed as they witness the sweetness and love between the couple. Not to mention, it’s traditional! This has been done for years and years (since the days of arranged marriages)! Your parents may not have even considered the option of a first look because tradition is just what you did!

With the first look, you can choose to have family, bridal party, close friends or whoever you want be part of it, but typically it’s just the bride, groom and photographer(s). This creates an intimate moment where the groom can see his bride for the first time, wrap his arms around her and tell her how beautiful she is. We allow our couples to have as much time as they need for this. For most couples, this is the only time alone they really have together and it’s so special! A bonus to a first look is the fact that you typically get more photos because of the extra time! Not only will you get photos together pre-ceremony, but after as well! Also, a first look allows you to get to the party sooner, and you get to hang out with the entire wedding party for most of the day instead of waiting till after the ceremony!

Why would I recommend a first look? As your photographer, I want to make sure you get as many photos as possible of the two of you. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty much impossible to get too many photos together on your wedding day. 🙂 Another reason is that it helps in your wedding timeline. By getting those photos done prior to the ceremony, you give yourself more time after the ceremony to do sunset photos, or go straight to your reception and not keep people waiting. If you end up not having much time after your ceremony, spending 15 minutes taking portraits beforehand will still end up being a bonus because you had a whole 45-60 minutes of photos pre-ceremony. If your timeline allows for plenty of time for portraits afterwards, then that’s perfect! We just want to ensure you’re getting as many photos as possible. 🙂

The choice between traditional and first look is one that most couples have to make together during the planning phase of the wedding. When we first started planning our wedding, Grant wanted traditional and I wanted to have a first look. Photos were super important to me and I didn’t really care about any other details as long as I got lots of photos of us together. Grant wasn’t too convinced at first.  Traditional was just the only route he knew. We were planning a June wedding in the evening, which means, you have to plan it late enough that it’s not crazy hot for everyone sitting outside. This meant that if we waited till after the ceremony we would only have a couple minutes for portraits before it got too dark. So, we did the first look. And we’re so happy we did!! Grant is now a believer in first looks! We loved that moment together where it was just the two of us and our photographers in the background capturing it all. There’s no doubt that we ended up with many more picture than we would have had we not chosen to have a first look.

My recommendation is to talk it over with your fiancé. Are you super set on one or the other? Then, look at your timeline. Does it allow for plenty of portraits after your ceremony? If it does and you’re happy with it, go that route! Like I said, neither one is right or wrong. Just do what’s best for you as a couple and what goes well with your timeline. 🙂

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