Here’s another weekly installment of Wedding Tips by yours truly! This week I want to tackle “First look Pros and Cons.”

Although a “First Look” (or “Reveal”, or however you choose to say seeing your fiancé before the ceremony) is no longer a new idea, I do remember not so long ago photographing weddings and this concept seemed rogue and unabashedly brazen. How DARE you break tradition?! Its funny what a few years combined with our big brothers, sisters, and many friends before us treading the way can lure us into choosing this option.

Couple do a First Look on a bridge at the Rockhouse Hotel in Negril, Jamaica.

Wedding Day Tips Question: Does a First Look Make Sense for Your Wedding?

First, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

Why are you choosing to see each other beforehand? Are you getting married in December at 6pm? If you want any naturally lighted photographs then you must choose a First Look. However, what if you are getting married at 6pm in July in Napa Valley? Should you choose to use your only time for portraits to be during your First Look then you might be asking for bright over-head mid-day light in all your photographs.

Couple do a First Look on a bridge at the Rockhouse Hotel in Negril, Jamaica.

First look Pros and Cons; Question: Do you want to enjoy your cocktail hour instead of taking photos?

Set aside for a moment the lighting situation (but not for too long – its quite important). Here are some notes I’ve observed along the way in participation of First Looks.

  1. Cocktails with friends! Yes, you can enjoy all that banter, booze, and dancing without anyone requesting your attention for a photograph.
  2. Nerves. Do you feel like you might be ill if you are too nervous before your ceremony? The moment my couples see each other ALL nerves go away and are immediately replaced with instant joy.
  3. Another special moment. Instead of taking away from the “walking down the aisle!” moment it simply is an addition to your wedding day. I expertly coordinate with my couples a private and beautiful setting for them to see each other for the first time. That moment is discreetly documented (another win) and after photographs are done, you are eventually brought to the ceremony were…YOU WILL GET MARRIED. There is nearly nothing I can think of that can take away the specialness of reading vows to each other. You see what each other looks like beforehand? No worries, you still get to DECLARE YOUR UNDYING LOVE.


Couple do a First Look on a bridge at the Rockhouse Hotel in Negril, Jamaica.

First look Pros and Cons; Question: Why not meet in the middle?

Somewhere along the road you will probably be faced with this question because of the multifaceted affair a wedding is. So, do I see Mr. Jones before the wedding or not? For some people a compromise (not unlike what you’ll be doing long after your vows) is the ticket.

Perhaps you would like to be able to get all your portraits out of the way regardless of where the sun happens to be in the sky during your photos. Why not have a slightly shorter portrait session and then save some beautiful “golden hour” moments for long after your ceremony? You can tuck out for 10 minutes, enjoy some quiet moments alone, just the two of you, *and* manage to receive gorgeous photographs as well.

Couple do a First Look on a bridge at the Rockhouse Hotel in Negril, Jamaica - First look Pros and Cons

As always, work with your planner and photographer together to make the least stressful, most organic, and most efficient timeline for your wedding keeping these thoughts in mind and you can’t lose!

And of course lastly, and most importantly. If you just don’t want to see each other before the ceremony…then don’t! Its your wedding after all!

To see past tips visit HERE and HERE.

Are you planning a destination wedding like the photos from Jason + Ariana’s Rockhouse Hotel Wedding in Negril, Jamaica from above? Or are you getting married here locally in Napa Valley? Contact me HERE

All scans by Photo Impact Imaging

category: Tips, Wedding

  1. I agree. As Bali Wedding Photographer, I also have some sort of things around. But going to have the first look is so relaxing for the couple. In addition, we can take more intimate photos of the couple.

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Meet Amanda

Downright Dirty | Sophisticated

Based in Napa, California, Amanda has been photographing some of the worlds more beautiful weddings around the world for the last 12 years. Trusted by top industry peers and house hold names, you can see her work featured in Martha Stewart Magazine, the front page of Style Me Pretty (16 times), Once Wed, Confetti Magazine, Brides, and Vogue Italia. Intimate celebrations and grand affairs alike, Amanda documents in her signature effortlessly chic and sophisticated world view. 

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