Should We Do a First Look?
When discussing this with my clients, I am happy to offer my advice and give the pros and cons, but in the end it is a decision that the couple needs to be comfortable with either way. In sitting in on some of these conversations that couples have regarding the first look, perhaps ironically, I’ve noticed that if anyone is hesitant, it’s usually the groom. Though it’s easy to think that the bride is the only one who has certain preconceived visions of how she wants the wedding day to go, sometimes guys really want to wait until the ceremony to see their bride. And if the groom does indeed feel very strongly about it, you should try very hard to structure your wedding day plans to accommodate this wish.
What are the good things about doing a first look?
How about the down sides to the first look?
It can sometimes be challenging to find an appropriate area to use at some venues. If it's taking place during daytime, I have a strong preference for an outdoor location. If the ceremony is taking place in a courtyard, this can be a good spot, though some coordination is required with the venue staff and florist to ensure the area will be set up in time or that they can take a brief break to give us the use of the courtyard for a few minutes. Often a hotel may have a smaller and more private garden or courtyard area which can be used.
But be aware, some event venues may not allow access until an hour or so before the ceremony, which may limit our ability to do the first look there, since typically we'd want to start with the first look about two hours before if we are planning to do formal group shots then as well.
Also, there can be some transportation issues, particularly if the reveal is to take place somewhere other than where the bride and groom are getting ready, because you both need to brought to this location separately, and without inadvertently running into each other. Another possible concern is that, in order to fully take advantage of the benefits of the first look (by doing most or all of the formal group shots before the ceremony), wedding party and family members will need to be fully dressed and ready earlier.
Lastly, you will likely need more photographic coverage time than you otherwise would (at least an hour more, possibly two, depending on how much time you want to devote to portraits, and also setting aside a half hour or so before the ceremony to just relax for a bit before it begins and so the bride can be hidden away before guests arrive in large numbers).
In conclusion, if both of you (particularly the groom) are open to the idea, I definitely recommend having a first look!