Wedding Wednesday: A Case For First Looks

First Looks: Not necessarily a new thing in weddings. Orthodox Jews have been practicing unveiling ceremonies for centuries, Russian grooms "Pay the Ransom" for a Bride the day of the wedding by knocking on the door of her home and give money or jewels so the Bride will come out of her home, several other religions and cultures have a bride and blindfolded groom pray together before the wedding ceremony. However, First Looks have been gaining popularity substantially over the last few years. 

For many couples, this non traditional practice may be the best recommendation. Many Brides who decide against a first look cite tradition or bad luck to see the bride before the wedding, many many more want that photo of their groom seeing them for the first time as they walk down the aisle. All of these are very honest, legitimate reasons to not have a first look. We'll get into that next week. 

The biggest thing to remember is it's your wedding day, it's completely up to you to have a first look or not. Whether you decide to have CCPhotoFactory document your special day or not, please do not let your photographer encourage you to do something you don't want to do for a simple, invalid reason like lighting or timing. Anyone worth their while (and your money) will know how to do your group shots at any time of day in most, if not all, conditions. 


Plus, they won't be trying to convince you to do something you've expressly said you do not want to do. 


There are a few pros for having a First Look. The biggest being the pure, raw, emotion captured by the photographer. This moment, usually set up privately between you and your groom, is so magical and heartwarming that it can make for some of the best images of the two of you on your wedding day. 

Another big reason for a first look is you're able to have all of your group photos done before the ceremony so you can get to your cocktail hour and reception sooner. Simply, you've seen your groom, you've asked all of your important relatives that are on your group shot list to arrive ahead of time, the whole list gets knocked out right then and there. Easy, done. You guys say "I Do" then you go and party your night away. 


When setting up your first look, it’s always important to remember this is an intimate, private moment between you and your groom. You’re going to want to speak with your venue and your coordinator about private spots and spaces away from the crowd. You’re not going to want to have mom and dad watching, or a whole bunch of your guests for that matter. Make sure to let your photographer know where and what time so they’re able to make sure to check and see if the lighting will work or if they need to bring in extra lighting equipment to make the shoot successful.

And communicate with your makeup artist to ensure they’re available to do touch ups….there will be tears and kisses and lots of them! 

There are a couple of ways by which a bride and groom can do a first look. You can have your bridal party back the two of you into one another and you turn around on the count of three, you can be on either side of a door, he could round a corner and see you….the list does go fairly long.

However, my personal favorite is “the Turn Around”. 

Your groom is on one end of a space….a balcony, patio, your ceremony site, some place….with his back to the entry way. You come through a door and walk up to him slowly, place your hand on his shoulder, he counts to three, and turns around. This has been the most successful method I’ve seen on a first look and it generally brings bout the best photos. 

One of my favorite first looks that I have seen took place between Brandon and Christina last year. They had a really stupendous wedding at the Kendall Plantation in Boerne, TX. This unique duo decided on a first look on the balcony.

It was one of the sweetest first looks, as the second they saw each other, the literally jumped three feet apart and started relishing in how awesome the other looked that day.

By the end, Christina’s lipstick was all over Brandon’s face. She ran back upstairs to get her touch ups, and he went to wash his face…

After that was one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever shot.

Well, that does it for me this week! Next week we'll discuss why NOT to have a First look if you don't want one. 

Take care! And keep your eyes out for a fun promotion we're having soon!

-Caity C.|Owner and Lead Photographer

Caity ColvardComment