Should we do a First Look? Advice from an Idaho Wedding Photographer

Advice from an Idaho Wedding Photographer



One of my favorite things as an Idaho wedding photographer is seeing the emotion that comes out on a wedding day.  I love seeing the groom grin the biggest he has even grinned, or see a tear falling down his cheek; or the bride having "her moment".  Whether or not my couple chooses to do a first look is 100% their decision.  However, I will offer my experience and advice because if getting great photographs is one of your top priorities, then you should know what a photographer needs to make that happen.

The tradition of not seeing your bride before the wedding came from the time when arranged marriages were custom. The groom had never met his bride, the marriages were a business deal between families where a bride typically married into a rich family that owned land. Father of the brides feared if the groom saw the bride before the wedding, and wasn’t attracted to her, he wouldn’t marry her. Which would be of detriment to the brides family. That also explains why brides wear a veil until the last minute. While an arranged marriage isn’t as popular as it once was, some brides still opt to keep with tradition.

I want the decision to do a first look, or not to do a first look, to be a decision that you and your fiancé make just between the two of you.  This is your wedding day, and no one should persuade you to do something that you don't want to do; but (there's always a but, isn't there?) I told you that I was going to offer my advice and now I'm going to.

By choosing to do a first look you can:

-Ease the jitters! I often suggest that when doing your first look you do it without an audience.  It is just the two of you and me.  That way, all the pent up emotion and nerves that you have can just come out and you won't be embarrassed or shy because of an audience.  When my husband and I got married, our first look was the time that we shared a private prayer together and that prayer is one of my favorite parts of my entire wedding day.  If we wouldn't have done a first look I don't know when we would have been able to share in that prayer.

-Get a true reaction! Just like I mentioned in the point above, by doing a first look alone you can get a true reaction for the both of you.  Sometimes grooms get stage fright and don't let their true reaction of seeing you come out when they are in front of everyone.  When you are alone that true reaction can come out!

-It allows more time for photos! Your wedding day will FLY by- I promise! I just don't want our time to take photos to also fly by.  I need to make sure that we have adequate time to capture couples photos, family portraits, and everything in between.  If you choose to do a first look, we can take all the wedding party photos and even some of your family portraits before the ceremony.  This will allow you to go almost immediately into your reception and eat (yay for food!) and not make your guests wait an hour after the ceremony for photos.  I will still steal you away for a little during sunset, but you won't be missing your entire reception.

 Now, if you decide not to do a first look, that is totally fine! Remember, this is your day! I will always work around your plans as your Idaho wedding photographer! We will just need to change your schedule a little more to get the most out of the time that we have.  Another thing that you might want to consider is finding ways to bring even more emotion into your day. Here are some ideas:

-Write each other heartfelt letters.  By writing each other a letter you can share your feelings about each other and about your big day on something that you can keep forever.  If you are comfortable with it, I will have you guys read your letters aloud privately so that I can capture the emotion that you feel while reading it.

-Write your own vows.  While my husband and I did do a first look, my husband's emotion didn't come out until he was reading his handwritten vows to me.  About halfway through he had to stop reading and take a deep breath.  That moment kills me!

-Have family portraits be as organized as possible! As your Idaho wedding photographer, I require you to provide me a list of who you want in family portraits.  I will work personally with you to make this list.  However, you will still want let all of your family know ahead of time that they are going to be in a family portrait and need to be ready for their turn at location X.  This might sound a little strict and bossy, but family portraits can be a daunting and frustrating task for everyone if it is not done in a semi organized way.

-Have a planned cocktail hour.  If you are not doing a first look we will need a little more time to take your family portraits, whole group shots of your wedding party, and couples portraits.  A 45 minute cocktail hour after your ceremony will allow us more time to get these photos done and not make your guests just sit and wait.  Some guests will be hungry and we don't want them to become hangry (hungry and angry!) so if your budget allows, try to offer some hors d’oeuvres for your guests during cocktail hour.

Follow me on Google+

Brie Thomason is a McCallLewiston, Sun Valley, and Treasure Valley Idaho Photographer. Are you outside of that area? I love to travel! Let’s get in touch!