New Jersey Wedding & Portrait Photography

What is a First Look?

Your first look is an amazing part of your wedding day!  

If you aren’t sure about this tradition, this post will explain why it’s a great addition to your wedding day celebration. 

It not only adds to the experience but also reduces stress!  

Please know that we would never want any of our couples to feel pressured to go with this option if they don’t want to.  BUT we do want to make sure that we share all the benefits of a first look.

There is a reason 90% (yes, 90%!) of our couples do this and LOVE it!   

The First Look Explained

We have confessed our deep love for “First Looks” many times on our blog.

There is a reason for this. They’re AWESOME! 

But not everyone is aware of how awesome they are because they get caught up in how “non-traditional” it is, and they immediately write it off.  

We can talk about those couples because we were almost one of them! Jenn wanted a REACTION. 

She wanted Ro to be so surprised and overcome with joy when she walked down the aisle that he bawled at the first sight of her! 

Who doesn’t want that reaction? 

Luckily, we were able to have the best of both worlds because we decided to share an intimate “First Look” moment on our wedding day, AND he LOST IT. Right then and there. He was in absolute tears! 

After experiencing our own wedding and shooting over 150 others, we’ve come to this conclusion:  

Some couples love “traditions,” but what they REALLY want when it comes to seeing each other for the first time is a REACTION.  

Those who are not interested in a First Look usually think that they will lose part of that reaction by seeing each other beforehand. They also assume that it will not be as emotional or as intimate as it would be if they were coming down the aisle. 

What we have found is so the complete opposite!  

With emotions running high, a moment for the two of you before the ceremony ends up being a lot of our couples’ favorite part of their day.

How First Looks Ease Stress

Everyone knows that wedding day is a bit stressful for the couple…

The whole day is focused on them. 

They need to look their best. 

They need to be on time. 

The groom has no idea what side the boutonniere is supposed to go on, and little by little, the tension grows.

It’s before the ceremony, and the gravity of what is about to happen starts to sink in, and you are now starting to feel a little anxious. 

So, what happens next?  

You wait in a little room somewhere for a cue from your coordinator.  It seems like it’s taking FOREVER.  

Finally, the coordinator leans her head in and hurries you along to get ready.  

With clammy hands, you enter the ceremony, and what do you find?

Anywhere from 80-300 people, and they’re all looking where? Right at you!

Because everyone has expectations and anticipation about your first reaction. 

This is the farthest thing from a private, intimate moment. Sure, it’s powerful, but…

Speaking from our own experience, your nerves don’t have to be sky high like this!

When Jenn walked down the aisle, Ro wasn’t a nervous wreck after having a first look. He had spent the morning with her and our best friends, and the pressure was OFF.

By the time our ceremony rolled around, he was ready to ENJOY our beautiful day!

The nerves were gone, and when the nerves are gone, genuine emotions are free to be expressed. That’s what you want when you are about to say your vows!

For most couples, the nerves kick in before they see each other because when you see each other, everything becomes VERY real! 

So, when the nerves start creeping up, instead of being alone until it is time to enter the ceremony, what if you went somewhere private to share an intimate moment?

No people, no on-lookers, no distractions.

You see each other for the first time. 

You turn around and finally get your first look! You can embrace each other, kiss each other, and ENJOY that moment with each other each other—just you two.

Because when you do a first look, you aren’t on a time crunch. You casually move into your portrait time.  

No one is around. The coordinator isn’t announcing “15 minutes left.” And there is no pressure.  

It’s just the two of you and your photographer, capturing the excitement and the joy of your wedding day. 

This is your time to be together, and to be ALONE, which most likely won’t happen for the rest of your wedding day. 

After your portraits are done, you meet up with your best friends.  Your wedding party joins you, and because you still have plenty of time to spare, you can share those moments with them.  

After a few minutes, the wedding party portraits begin, and they’re FUN. They’re fun because, with a first look in the timeline (link to timeline post), there is time to make them that way!

There aren’t any guests waiting impatiently at the cocktail hour, and there isn’t a DJ coming to find the photographer to get a time check.  It’s wonderful!  

What If I’m Still Not Sold on a First Look?

Let us put a disclaimer here before we continue. Our clients are not required to do a First Look by any means! 

We used to feel bad for sharing this option with couples who were against it because we didn’t want to push anything on them. 

But now we feel guilty when we DON’T share it! We’ve seen the benefits of a first look over and over again. So, we only share this because we want the BEST for our couples!!

It’s totally okay if couples choose not to share a first look!  It’s just our preference to do one for many reasons, especially if your ceremony and reception are taking place in the same venue. 

If you are on the fence and need a little more convincing, check out our post on 5 reasons why a first look is totally worth it here (link first look post)!

And because we always want to photograph your wedding, no matter what choice you make about a first look- for couples not interested, let’s start chatting (link to email or website) soon about how we’ll create a unique timeline to fit everything into your day!