Boston & New England Wedding Photographer Deborah Zoe

Boston & North Shore Wedding Photographer creating timeless imagery for classic New England weddings with a fine art approach.

Is A First Look For You?

In today's post, the second the DZP Planning series, we're talking all about the First Look. What is a First Look? Is right for your wedding day? How do you plan for a First Look? I'll be answering those questions and more -- let's get started!!

What Is A First Look? 

The First Look is a period of the day where the Bride & Groom see each other for the first time before the ceremony. This is an intentional period of time set aside just for the couple. Often this is the first and last time you’ll be alone together on an otherwise very busy day. It’s an opportunity for you to express all this day means to you in a safe and private atmosphere. 

With the hustle and bustle of the wedding day underway, the Ceremony does not provide much room to share heartfelt emotions. Often, the Groom may be standing in front of the aisle with all eyes on him watching for his reaction. That’s a lot of pressure and can often lead to a nervous face and stiff body language; not exactly the emotional response a Bride may have envisioned. Couples typically feel more at ease to share their feelings together for the first time alone rather than in front of all of their guests; a First Look provides the room and space to do just that.

Benefits of a First Look

I'm a HUGE advocate of the First Look. With it's many benefits, it's not hard to see why a First Look is the perfect choice for many couples. 

  • To reiterate, the First Look provides an opportunity during an otherwise busy and hectic day for a couple to express their emotions & feelings to one another in a private and quiet setting. 
  • A First Look can help to diminish nerves and jitters that may have bubbled up while you were Getting Ready, especially for the Groom. Having the opportunity to embrace each other and talk about the morning can have an incredibly calming and reassuring effect. You now feel ready to take on the day together. 
  • The First Look affords you more time. -- typically the day would start when you walk down the aisle, but with a First Look you can actually start the day with your loved ones in a relaxed environment up to 2-3 hours before the Ceremony. 
  • A First Look will give your Wedding Party an opportunity to be guests at Cocktail Hour. Your attendants will be more focused (and excited) to be a part of portraits before the Ceremony knowing that they'll get to enjoy drinks and appetizers as guests during Cocktail Hour.
  • Instead of rushing to fit in as many portraits as you can between the end of the Ceremony and the start of the Reception you’ll be able to actually enjoy your cocktail hour with your guests. You may even have time for more sunset images!
  • You’ll receive more images of the two of you on your wedding day. A First Look allows for more time in the day for photography which means you’ll have more variety in your images, especially your portraits.
  • By choosing a First Look it allows my team to capture more during the Cocktail hour. While my second photographer is capturing candids of your guests I am freed up to photograph your Reception Details before they are disturbed by guests. If you’re interested in having your wedding published, editors are especially interested in seeing your reception details.
  • If having candids of your guests is important to you, having the majority of your portraits finished before the Ceremony ensures that we can focus more of our attention on your guests during Cocktail Hour. 

Things To Consider

  • I can’t stress enough how quickly a wedding day passes and how limited your time together is. A First Look pauses the day and gives you an opportunity to be alone during an otherwise very packed and busy day. By choosing a First Look you are intentionally making time to express what this day means to you and creating time in the day for each other.
  • If you choose to forgo the First Look and are desiring natural lit portraits, you will want to consider the time of your Ceremony very carefully. In the early months of winter or later weeks of fall the sun will set very early, limiting the amount of time for natural light portraits. Consider moving your ceremony to an earlier start to take advantage of the sunlight during daytime hours.
  • If you choose to forgo the First Look, I highly encourage you to extend your Cocktail Hour by 30 minutes to ensure enough time for portraits as well as capturing reception details following the Ceremony.

From The Pros

“I've come to cherish the moments that our First Look provided because they would not appear again until the reception was over and everyone went home. While it's wonderful to be around so many loved ones, it's easy to be swept up and carried away from the most important person there - your new spouse! Seeing each other before the ceremony lifted all the stress and butterflies away and allowed us to truly enjoy the ceremony and the special moments of the rest of our wedding.” -- Mark & Marlo

“Our first look was the best part of the day! While primping and prepping I had worked myself up and became incredibly anxious. When I walked outside for our First Look and I tapped Rob on the shoulder, I immediately felt at ease. We were able to be ourselves while Deb captured these private moments. That time alone to reflect on how lucky we were to be getting married was just what we needed.” -- Rob & Rachel

“ I loooooved our first look. We both cried like babies. It was so special and honestly my absolute FAVORITE part of our wedding day. It was like time slowed down and that's the part I can remember the best!” - Stephanie

“The morning of the wedding I was a roller coaster of emotions but seeing RJ for our First Look took all those fears and worries away. As soon as I saw him I felt so at ease and relieved, which allowed me to live in the moment and enjoy our ceremony! The wedding day goes by so fast and I recommend any opportunity to spend more time with your guests and wedding party. The First Look allowed us to attend cocktail hour with our guests and enjoy every moment of the day with the people that we love!” — Meredith & RJ

“Our first look was one of my favorite moments of our wedding day! So glad we decided to do that, Jason's reaction was priceless! It was such an intimate time that we have captured forever!!” - Amanda

“Having a First Look shortened the waiting period to see my Bride to Be, which was wonderful and exactly what I needed. I think that's one of the biggest perks about the First Look. There was time before the ceremony for us to see each other, there was a flow, a reasonable and enjoyable pace to the day, that let us enjoy each other and the party. The fact that I had seen her previously didn't detract from seeing her walk down the aisle, but let me take more of it in!” - Barrett