Santa Barbara Wedding Photography | Santa Barbara Boudoir Photography »

FAQ: The First Look

A First Look is one of my absolute favorite moments of a wedding day! I honestly can’t believe there are still couples who don’t know about this new, hip wedding tradition. But I am ALWAYS happy to educate my couples on this topic and explain all about the magic that is the First Look. So here is a FAQ post explaining everything you need to know about a First Look. Hopefully you will get enough from this post to know if a First Look is right for you. But if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments! I am happy to answer!:)

What is a First Look?:

A First Look is when the bride and groom choose to see each other before the ceremony. We find a beautiful, private, quiet location to stage the First Look. Typically we will arrange it so the groom is standing facing the cameras. We will get the bride and have her walk up to the groom. At her own pace, the bride will tap the groom on the shoulder and turn him around to see her all dressed up for the big day for the first time. This moment is usually quite emotional– whether it be laughter, tears, or a mix between the two, we will be there to capture it all.:)We don’t interrupt this intimate moment. When you are finished whispering your thoughts and feelings into each others ears, when you are finished hugging and kissing, just let us know and we can move on to the next stage of photos!

What are the  benefits to having a First Look?:
There are several benefits to having a First Look. For one, you get an extra special moment added to your big day. Secondly, and the main reason typically for doing a First Look, it is that it allows for a much more relaxed wedding day schedule. A First Look means we can do all the group portraits– both bridal party and family– BEFORE the ceremony. The only pictures left to take would be bride & groom romantics which we will do for the first half of your cocktail hour, but then all the formalities will be over! You will actually get to spend the second half of your cocktail hour enjoying drinks and appetizers and mingling with your guests!! The First Look allows for so much less time line stress and actually gives you the ability to enjoy more time with your loved ones! And who doesn’t want to spend more of their big day having fun with friends and family!

I’m worried a First Look will take away the emotion of walking down the aisle? I don’t want my day to feel less special or emotional…?:
This is a very common question. Brides always share with me that they’ve always imagined walking down the aisle and having their soon-to-be-hubby see them in their dress for the first time. Brides are often worried that if they see their husband before the ceremony, all the emotion will be ruined. But as a former bride myself and as some one who has witnessed many weddings with First Looks, I’m here to say that’s just not true. You will not lose an emotional moment by doing a First Look, you will only ADD another emotional moment to your day.
You see the two moments, the First Look and walking down the aisle, are two entirely different moments. The First Look is very intimate. Just the two of you. Walking don the aisle is a completely different feeling. You will be surrounded by friends and family, music will be playing, and you will be walking to marry the love of your life! Most of my couples cry during the First Look AND during the walk down the aisle. Both moments are unique and emotional in their own right.
Who is present during the First Look?:
This is really something I leave up to the bride & groom. While First Looks should be intimate and quiet, some couples would like their parents are bridal party nearby and able to watch the moment. I am okay with this if it’s what my clients want! However, some couples just want it to be the two of them and I respect that too! It’s completely up to you how you want your First Look to be!

Did you have a First Look at your own wedding?:
Yes!!!! I did have a First Look at my own wedding and it was one of the best wedding decisions we ever made! Our First Look was a very sweet and happy moment. And we were able to get all our pictures done before the ceremony which meant more time for partying after the ceremony. And the walk down the aisle?? Well I cried like a baby. My husband cried like a baby. And I think our parents may have cried as well. So that moment was pretty emotional!! My own amazing First Look experience is why I can confidently recommend a First Look to my couples! I know it will make their day as special as it made mine!

How many of your clients choose to do a First Look? What has been the feedback?:
I would say about 90% of my clients choose to do a First Look and they are always so happy with the outcome! Last year, only two of my clients opted not to do a First Look, and one of those couples told me they later regretted not doing the First Look as parts of the day had been stressful because of a jammed pack time line! I am so happy most of my clients choose to do a First Look and I’m so happy when they tell me how much it added to their day!! But of course, I totally understand when couples choose not to do a First Look. It’s a totally personal and individual decision, and I am thrilled to document your day whether you choose to do a Fist Look or not! 😉

When must I decide about whether or not to do a First Look?:
You have awhile to make a decision on the First Look! You really don’t need to decide until about 3 weeks before your wedding, which is typically when your time line should be finalized! You should have plenty of time during planning to chat with your photographer about the First Look and chat alone as a couple about this decision!
I hope this post has been helpful and has shed some light on the topic of First Looks! If you have any questions or anything to add please feel free to do so in the comments section below!:)
  • sean - i think your images here stand alone for being ‘pro’-first look! it’s some of the best moments!

  • Evie Perez - Great post and love the pictures!!

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*