Should You Do A First Look? - Advice From A Wedding Photographer

What is a first look?

A first look is a special moment before the ceremony where you and your groom (or bride) see each other for the first time in a private and intimate setting. Take for instance this series below.

Banyan Estate Wedding in Malabar, Florida
First look at Banyan Estate Wedding Florida
Photo by luxury Orlando wedding photographer

Why Should I Have a First Look?

There are many advantages to including a first look in your wedding day plans.

A first look allows for a more relaxed timeline. 

Wedding days are STRESSFUL. There is a lot going on, and it can be a challenge to keep everything running smoothly (which is why I HIGHLY recommend hiring a planner!). In a typical wedding without a first look, there is approximately one hour between the ceremony and the reception for formal photos. The photos that must be completed in this time are family formals, wedding party photos, and bride & groom portraits. Because family photos take such a long time (it can be difficult to keep everyone present and on-task), this often leaves photographers with 15 minutes or less for the romantic bride & groom shots! 

Enter the first look. When a first look is done before the ceremony, the bridal party photos and the bride & groom portraits are done before the wedding ceremony. This allows for a much more relaxed family formal time, and it allows the bride and groom to enjoy the cocktail hour. Now that's what I call a win-win!

Grand Bohemian Wedding Orlando Florida
First look Orlando wedding by luxury photographer
Romantic first look at the Grand Bohemian in Orlando

A first look means more romantic photos of you and your new husband or wife.

As mentioned above, when a first look is done before the ceremony, there is more time for bride & groom portraits. More time means that you'll receive a much higher amount of those romantic images in your final gallery. A typical wedding gallery for me when the bride and groom did NOT have a first look includes about 30 bride and groom portraits. When the couple opts for the first look, that number rises to well over 100!

First Look reaction at Bellewood Plantation wedding

You'll still have that special moment at the altar!

A common push back I hear when a couple does not want to do a first look is that they think the moment when the bride walks down the aisle will not be as special. That couldn't be farther from the truth! You will still get that image of your groom when he first sees you walking up that aisle toward him. A first look helps to build excitement even more, not diminish it :)

Banyan Estate wedding by Orlando Wedding Photographer
Bellewood Plantation wedding in Vero Beach Florida

I do not pressure my clients into a first look if they are adamantly against it. After all, I didn't do one at my own wedding. But I wish I had. Remember how I said family formals can take a really long time? Yeah, mine definitely did. I have NO romantic photos of my husband and I before the sun went down because of it. That is one of my greatest regrets. So should you do a first look? I think the answer is clear. Yes!

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Amanda Mejias

Amanda Mejias Photography, Kissimmee, FL