The Pros and Cons of "First Looks"
First off, what is a first look? It is when the couple meets in a prearranged location prior to the ceremony usually with their photographer and/or videographer to capture their "first look" of each other in their wedding garb on the special day.
So, before I give you the pros and cons of the "first look" think about your initial reaction to the idea. Put aside what you think others will say and just ask yourself, "is this something my fiancé and I would enjoy?". Keep in mind that answer, as it should help to inform your decision.
Photo By: L3 Studios Photography
Ensure Perfect Pictures of Each of Your Reactions
Especially if you are only having one photographer on the day of the wedding this will guarantee that you will have photos of both of your reactions. This also frees up the photographers to get your guests' and parents' reactions when you walk down the isle.
Have a Special (semi-private) Moment
Before you surround yourselves with all your family and friends a first look is a second to check in with each other. It's a time to be reminded of your love and the amazing commitment you are about to make to each other.
I say semi-private for this because if you do invite your photographer/videographer (although you definitely do not have to) you are not really alone but probably the most "alone" you will be for most of the day.
Get Some of the Photos Out of The Way
If you do opt for a "first look" this means that you can take some of the posed photos before the ceremony. These can be the just portrait photos of you and your spouse or even include the ones with your wedding party. This way you can actually go enjoy your cocktail hour!
This is also an important consideration with winter/fall weddings as lighting is an important factor in your timeline. The sun going down earlier means it gets darker earlier. First looks help you take advantage of winter's limited daylight hours.
Mini-Con: You might have to get up a little bit earlier as the day will start earlier (but will you be able to sleep anyway?)
Photo By: Lindsay Stephany Photography
The First Time You See Each Other Will Not Be At the Ceremony
If you do the "first look" both of you might have a less dramatic reaction when you finally join one another at the end of the aisle. However, maybe you will be swept up in the moment and the wonderful realization that now is finally the time that it won't even matter you have seen each other already.
The Lighting Might Be Not Be Ideal
Since most "first looks" happen when the sun is highest in the sky the light might be too harsh for best photos and you will have to retake them later anyway. Consult your photographer to see if this is the case and if you can possibly find a shadier spot.
Try a "first touch"
When you can't decide or can't agree don't forget you also have the option of a "first touch". This is when you and your fiancé stand on either side of a door, are blindfolded, or stand back to back. It's all the intimacy or the "first look" without ruining the tradition. It also has the added benefit of putting the focus back on your relationship as opposed to the looks.
Check out some of my other blog posts:
14 Questions to Ask Potential Officiants