February 1, 2023

For couples planning their wedding day, one of the most important decisions they can make is whether or not to have a first look. A first look is when a couple sees each other for the first time before the ceremony, and it has become increasingly popular in recent years. Here are 5 reasons you should consider a wedding first look from the perspective of an Austin wedding photographer.

Emotional groom during a first look moment

1. Enjoy more time together before the ceremony

Having this private moment to yourselves allows you to spend more time together as a couple. Take in the beauty of the day without worrying about all your guests watching. It gives you a chance to have some photos taken with just the two of you. Additionally, it’s a great time to share private vows, a wedding day gift, or even that little black book! These candid shots help document memories in an organic way that allows couples to relive each moment every time they view the photos years later.

2. Hair and makeup are on point!

When it comes to your wedding day, there’s a lot of time and effort that goes into looking your best. Without a first look, hair and makeup are done long before the ceremony is finished, leaving little wiggle room for last-minute touch-ups before beginning portraits. This is why I often recommend scheduling all portraits after the first look. Doing so helps ensure that the photos look flawless. The sooner these photos are taken after hair and makeup are completed, the better! On a timeline, it should look something like this:

15min First Look + Private Moment

30min Bride + Groom Formal Portraits

15min Bride + wedding party portraits

15min Groom + wedding party portraits

15min Entire wedding party portraits

30min Family portraits

30min Hide / Rest / Retouch and lineup for Ceremony

Ceremony Begins!

3. Relieves you of pre-ceremony jitters

Share intimate emotions and feelings that might be too overwhelming to express in front of an audience. This is especially important for couples who are camera-shy or don’t feel comfortable expressing themselves publicly.

Feel relaxed and present during the ceremony, knowing that you already exchanged your first glances together privately without an audience or guests staring at you both.

Worried that a first look ruins the moment of walking down the aisle? Here’s proof that once the music starts he’ll be filled with emotion all over again.

The first look + the moment she walks up the aisle

4. Enjoy cocktail hour or a private moment

One of the benefits of having a first-look is that it allows you to take care of wedding party and family portraits all before the ceremony so that you can get right into partying. This gives you the opportunity to interact with them or have a private moment for just you and your partner. Not only does this allow for more quality time with your guests, but it also takes away the stress of having to cram 90 minutes worth of portraits after your ceremony. Here’s an example of what that portion of the wedding day timeline may look like:

Ceremony Ends!

60min Cocktail hour for guests

30min Couple enjoys cocktail hour with guests or is tucked away for a private moment together

30min Sunset portraits with the bride.+ groom

Grand entrance into the reception

5. You Get More Photos

With a first look, you have plenty of photo opportunities since there’s usually suitable light available throughout different parts of the day. Depending on your venue, you may be able to take advantage of golden-hour lighting to capture some beautiful memories of the big day. All of my couples that plan for a first look do their formal portraits before the ceremony and more candid-like images at sunset. The type of timeline allows for two 20-30 minute portrait sessions for the couple on their wedding day.

Couples that opt for the first look get a “formal” portrait session and a “sunset” portrait session

Overall, the advantages of a wedding first look are abundant for couples who appreciate intimate moments and valuable time spent with loved ones. Not only does it offer the chance to share private vows, exchange a special gift or read from a little black book, but it also helps to reduce stress and jitters on the big day. If you wish to have beautiful photos without feeling rushed or overwhelmed during your wedding, opting for a first look is certainly worth considering.

5 Reasons You Should Consider a Wedding First Look from an Austin Wedding Photographer

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