As a bride once myself and a photographer who has witnessed hundreds of weddings, I have a few thoughts on this popular topic. Before I share my thoughts, I want to emphasize that which ever decision you and your spouse-to-be decide upon, is the correct path you should take.
- If you’re a little shy and possibly a big crier, it’s nice to shake off those jitters and tears in a private setting. Let your photographer snap away from afar. They will likely be some of your most tender, favorite photos.
- Join your cocktail reception! Capturing your family and wedding party portraits before the ceremony allows you to mingle, hug and laugh with all of the people that traveled to see you.
- I married my very best friend. Spending 36 hours apart before the wedding was like eternity. By the time I walked to the altar, I couldn’t wait to say hi, to hug him, to ask how his night went. I even made an attempt at whispering that I liked the tie he picked out and the officiant shoosh'ed me. If I could have done a 1st look, I would have.
- Your photography timeline will likely need to increase which might strain the budget. This also means your hair & makeup has to be done earlier; in some cases 2-3 hours before the ceremony. Check with your beauty team and wedding coordinator!
- If guests are staying at the same property as you are, you might be seen during the 1st look and family portraits.
- I believe the number one reason why couples lean towards No is because they envision that something will be diminished by seeing each other before the wedding and that special spark will be lost. I see a lot of subtle emotions through my lens and every one of my couples who had a private moment together before, smiled just as big, still teared-up and seemed just as joyful as if it was the first time. With that said…
- If you dream of that slow, breathtaking aisle moment and truly worry about anything being lost if you stray from tradition, then say no and stand firm. It’s the right choice.
- Family and wedding party portraits will need to be taken during the cocktail reception if you choose not to do a 1st look. However, it’s definitely possible to still be a part of your cocktail reception with some pre-planning and possibly a slightly longer reception! I work with each of my couples on an efficient family portrait list and if it’s kept to immediate family, all of those important groupings can be done as quick as 15 mins and you’ll still have time to mingle.
- Ask a friend who is recently married. Ask what they did. Were there pros or cons? Would they do the same again?
- You'll cherish those quiet moments and photos between you two, so if you decide to skip the 1st look, consider taking a few private minutes after the ceremony together. Walk down that aisle and keep walking to your designated private spot. Inviting me along if I promise to snap from afar makes me extra happy!