It's a tricky topic, BUT I'm sharing why I'm so happy with my decision to do a first look! I hope this helps you make a decision that's right for you and your wedding!
First, our wedding planning process was a little atypical, with only 2 months to plan, and doing a destination wedding for about 30 guests....during a pandemic! Casual. Here's my wedding overview to give you an idea of the entire event.
So it's December 2020, we are getting married in Austin, TX, and it's been a beautiful week in ATX.
UNTIL SATURDAY, our wedding day. A cold front came in and it was lightly sprinkling. YEP, we were risking it and having an outdoor ceremony! Yikes!
We had decided in advance to do a first look and here's why. (then I'll share what ended up happening that made it even better!)
Take advantage of daylight hours.
Are you having an evening wedding? Since our wedding was in December, we had to move our ceremony time up to 4:30pm to make the most of the light while we had it! I was cringing thinking about all of the money we were spending and the thought of not getting any good photos of it! (haha blogger problems!)
Don't make guests wait.
The easy reason! Everyone hates waiting around at weddings. Let's be real. Your guests are hungry and ready to get moving, so why not get photos done ahead of the ceremony and be able to join your guests right after the ceremony to get the party started!
Knock out family photos too.
We didn't have a bridal party, so we opted to knock out our family photos prior to the ceremony as well! This was another great way to save time and head straight into the party after your ceremony!
Extended family can meet each other!
Adding family photos right after our first look turned out to be a great way for our families to have another opportunity to interact in a funny/awkward atmosphere before spending the rest of the evening together! Nothing brings people together quite like a photographer yelling "scoot in!" ;)
Maximize time with your photographer.
This was a big one for us! We were doing a sparkler send off at the end of the night, but didn't want to pay for extra hours with our photographer if it was going to be dark anyway! We tried to capture as many photos before it got dark as possible! Our photographers were so helpful and made a ton of suggestions about our itinerary to maximize our photography dollars, which was so nice! Be sure to ask your photographer for input!
Release anxiety and emotion before your ceremony!
Turns out... I was a stress ball on my wedding day and didn't even know it! I was holding everything together just fine until I walked into my first look and Adam turned around! Water works! It was so helpful to be able to spend a little time with Adam prior to the ceremony so that I wasn't *as* emotional during the ceremony. Neither of us remember a lot about the ceremony or reception but we remember everything about the first look - so special!
Photos are so special!
I think it's a given, but the photos of our first look are so special to us and are some of our favorites from our whole wedding! Since we planned our wedding quickly, we didn't do formal engagement photos or even bridal portraits, so having these photos means so much to us now!
I hope this helps all of my brides out there trying to plan a wedding! Remember, this is YOUR day, so do what's best for you and your groom!