What is a First Look? | Pros and Cons | Matt Mead Photography

What is a First Look: To Do or Not Do on Your Wedding Day

At Matt Mead Photography, we believe building relationships with our clients helps us to serve them better. It’s why we value meeting all of our inquiries in person (via Zoom during Covid). At this meeting we try to learn about your vision for the day and create a package that best fits what you want. During this initial consultation, one of the first questions we ask our potential couples is ‘Do you want a First Look?’

Groom rubs his chin as he reacts to seeing his bride during first look at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel

Recently, we’ve noticed there has been an increase among couples who chose to have a first look on their wedding day. While more couples are adopting this trend, others have their reservations. So, we sometimes get couples asking us, ‘What do you think? Should we do a first look or not?’

Honestly, we don’t think one way is better than the other. This is a decision we believe needs to be made by the couple and the couple alone. So, in this blog post, we will explain, “What is a first look?” along with the advantages and disadvantages of having a first look on your wedding day. We hope this article helps you decide what is best for you and your wedding.

What is a First Look?

A first look at a wedding is a special intimate moment when the couple sees each other for the first time before their wedding ceremony. This is usually arranged with the wedding photographer, who sets up the couple in a picturesque spot out of sight of any arriving guests. Typically, first look portraits take anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes and is usually scheduled about an hour to an hour and a half before the ceremony starts. We also like to give our couples the option to do bridal party photos right after the first look photos.

Groom smiles as he sees his bride during first look photos at their home in Erie, PA w

Advantages of a First Look

Some couples wish to do a first look for a variety of reasons. Here are some reasons why you may want to consider a first look on your wedding day:

  • You get a private, quiet, intimate moment to connect with each other before the (fun) chaos of the day begins.
  • If you cry easily, you’ll have time to retouch hair and makeup before the wedding ceremony.
  • After the first look, we usually move right into couples and bridal party photos. Doing this before the ceremony leaves you with time to mingle with your guests during cocktail hour.

Groom covers his face in joyful surprise as he sees bride during first look photos at the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh, PA

Groom hugs bride during first look photos at their Edinboro University wedding

Groom saying "WOW" when he sees bride during first look photos at Quincy Cellars

Disadvantages of a First Look

In order to present a balanced view, there are equally valid reasons why couples opt to not have a first look. Here are some reasons why you may not want to do a first look on your wedding day:

  • It breaks with the age old tradition of not seeing each other until the wedding ceremony.
  • You will need to get up and get ready earlier. This is a big consideration if you’re not a morning person.
  • If anything runs late (i.e. hair or makeup), there may be some time lost on your bridal portraits. However, we usually plan for a little buffer of extra time just in case.

Waiting Till the Wedding Ceremony

The photos we shared above support all the reasons why you may want to do a first look at your wedding. In the interest of presenting a balanced case, you can get some equally sweet, emotional moments by waiting to see each other at the ceremony. These are some of our favorite groom reactions as they watched their bride walk down the aisle.

Groom tears up as he watches his bride walk down the aisle at Majestic Woods wedding

Groom fights back tears while he watches bride walk down the aisle in Erie, PA wedding

Groom grins heartily as his bride walks down the aisle at their Barn at Conneaut Creek wedding

Groom smiling as he watches bride walk down the aisle in Erie, PA wedding

Groom smiles and fights back tears as he watches bride walk down the aisle in Pittsburgh, PA wedding

At the end of the day, whether you do a first look or not is completely your decision. At Matt Mead Photography, we believe your wedding day should be all about YOU. Contact us today to inquire about availability and learn more about our personalized approach to your wedding photography.

 

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At Matt Mead Photography we believe that building relationships with our clients is the best way to serve them. That's why we value meeting all of our couples face-to-face -- either in person at our home studio or by video call.  We look forward to meeting you soon!

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