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Why Your Wedding Photographer Really Wants You to Think About Having a First Look

Racing daylight and kicking the nerves aside.

Contributing Writer
photographer first look couple
Photography by: Lacie Hansen Photography

To ensure your wedding goes off without a hitch, you, your wedding planner, or your venue coordinator will come up with a big-day timeline that keeps everyone moving. Depending on what your day looks like, scheduling might be tight. Although the tradition of the couple not seeing each other until the ceremony is sweet in theory, the execution is often complicated, leading to a hectic timeline and a lot of unnecessary nerves. The solution? A first look. Not only will it make your day move more smoothly, but it'll also win you major brownie points with your wedding photographer. Here, photographer Lacie Hansen explains why the pros love a first look, and why you should consider having one before your ceremony.

 

Related: Essential Wedding-Day Photography Tips

 

A first look can be really intimate.

Many couples feel like they shouldn't see each other until the start of the ceremony, and while this tradition is lovely, Hansen acknowledges that a first look is just as special. In fact, the pro says that having a first look is much more intimate, and it gives the couple an opportunity to spend some time alone before guests arrived. Best of all, the moment leads to some of the most frame-worthy photos of the day.

 

A first look helps calm nerves.

Wedding day jitters are extremely common, and waiting until the ceremony to see your future husband or wife may only make them worse. "In my experience, just seeing each other for that brief moment of the first look calms any nerves the couple may have had," Hansen notes. While photographers are happy to work with their clients to create a calmer atmosphere, getting some of those nerves out of the way early in the festivities makes for better portraits.

 

A first look is recommended when time is tight.

Most weddings have a definite start and end time, and timelines like these don't leave much room for couples' portraits, wedding party shots, and family photos post-ceremony. In these instances, Hansen recommends a first look as a time-saving strategy. "I absolutely suggest a first look when you're racing against the light," she explains. While the timing of sunset will depend on your wedding location and date, being able to snap formal portraits before the ceremony gives the couple and wedding party a chance to enjoy cocktail hour. This also gives your photographer a chance to photograph guests, your wedding details and décor, and some family portraits.

 

Walking down the aisle still carries a surprise factor.

Even if they have a first look, most couples still find that entering their wedding ceremony and being surrounded by all their friends and family is emotional. Hansen says, "Many of the couples I've worked with that have had a first look feel that it didn't take away from the emotion or excitement about seeing each other at the ceremony." The pro says one of the best ways to make your ceremony entrance feel special extra is to change your look slightly. "You can do the first look without your bouquet and veil, then these details for the ceremony processional."