Planning For Great Photographs | The First Look | Part One

Oh, if only there were more hours in certain days... Like, perhaps, your wedding day?! Doesn't it seem like there is just too much to do in too little time? If you feel this way, you're not alone. Squeezing everything in without missing out on the fun stuff is a challenge every bride and groom face while they plan their perfect day. It's enough to make a 9am ceremony sound like a good idea! Almost. So if you are struggling to fit all of your dream wedding plans into a traditional schedule, then there's something you should consider: it's called the First Look.

should we have a first look at our wedding

Now before we delve into the details, let me recognize that this is a non-traditional option. It's not for everyone, and it's not necessary for everyone. And yes, it may throw some panties into a bunch if you've got very traditionally-minded moms or sisters or bff's. It is entirely OK if you are set on that first sight of one another as you walk down the aisle! I just don't suggest saving your ceremony for after 2pm if that's the route you are going, and I am always happy to help my couples with their schedules at any point in the planning process if things become worrisome or questionable, so reach out!

Now on to the meat and potatoes. Why have a first look instead of waiting till those doors are swinging open in the back of the church? Well, there are several reasons that more and more couples each year choose to begin their day with a first look:

  • Start your day privately and intimately. That first glance at your beloved on the wedding day is always at least a little emotional. Excitement stirs up, the day is really here, sometimes a tear or two flows, but no matter what it is a special moment. If you'd rather share that moment together without a crowd of onlookers and their iPads, you might consider a first look. It is a great option for couples who are more private or feel nervous in front of crowds. If that sounds like you, this is something that can allow you to preserve that beginning to your day and enjoy it with a lot less pressure. I once had a couple share a few moments together just minutes before walking down the aisle, just so they could get the jitters and tears out and sneak in a quick hug before they began their vows in front of all those guests!
  • Or: Share the joy with your loved ones! Not such a private couple, but eager to spread the love and include your closest friends and family in the celebration? Consider inviting your wedding party, best friends, parents, siblings, or anyone else who has a special role in your relationship to take part in your first look. You're sure to feel uber-loved when you experience the smiles and tears that will bring everyone together as they help you kick off your wedding day. Bonus: this is a great way to get group pictures started in an early, yet organized fashion if you don't have much time between your ceremony and cocktail hour.
  • Spend a better portion of your day together. Back when my husband & I got married, our wedding day went SO very fast! I wish I could re-live it just once more, and if I did, I'd see my hubby far earlier than 2pm. By 2pm, half the day is gone and the strike of midnight is that much closer. If given another chance, I'd free up some time towards the end of the morning and I'd have met my groom for some alone time around noon or 12:30. That way we would have had more time to relax and enjoy one another before things got crazy. So even if you have a 5pm ceremony like we did, why not jump-start the festivities and clock a few more hours of lovey dovey time? It might sound like a lot of time, but it's only one day and such a wonderful one. Make it last!
  • Accommodate a later ceremony or a tight timeline. There are plenty of reasons to have a ceremony later in the day rather than smack dab in the middle of the afternoon. Saving your guests that wait between the ceremony and the reception is a reason I hear often, especially on a Friday wedding day. So if you choose an afternoon or evening ceremony, when is the best time for all the portraits occur? Before the ceremony. That way, you get all the heavy lifting of the day done before the festivities begin, leaving you free to be a pair of social butterflies and really enjoy the company of your guests for the rest of the party. Because let's be real- why miss out on the open bar you're paying for?
So we've covered the WHY of the first look. Next up: HOW! The next post will give you a handful of suggestions for how to pull this off flawlessly. In the meantime, here are just a few first look photos from recent years- enjoy! wedding photographers

wedding portrait first look wisconsin photographers

First look at the Madison Capitol WI photographer

Wisconsin Property Wedding family land photographer

Madison Downtown wedding Wisconsin photographer

First look wedding photos Milwaukee Photographer

Wisconsin wedding photographers

Mansion Hill Inn wedding madison photographers

If you're enjoying the articles I'm sharing about wedding planning, definitely check out all of my "Planning Tips" blog posts!