"Should we do a first look?"
As a professional wedding photographer, that is the number one question I am asked by clients as we discuss and plan their wedding day together.
Having photographed over 300 weddings in the past 15 years, I have seen what works and what doesn't, and I'll share a few reasons why I think a first look is a good idea. Just in case you are unsure of what the first look is, I'll explain. The bride and groom traditionally see each other on their wedding day as the bride enters the ceremony and walks down the aisle. With a first look, the bride and groom choose to see each other BEFORE the ceremony, usually in a private setting with only a few people around.
A few points on why I think it's a good idea:
A first look can relieve stress. As much as we don't want to believe it, getting married in this day and age is pretty stressful. Taking all of the emotions of your wedding day and putting them on display for all of your family and friends to see can sometimes be too much. I've found that a first look can diffuse some of the stress and calm people down.
Some people want the moment they see each other on their wedding day to be a private moment. Its as simple as that, all of us have a little introvert in us and we prefer to be alone for certain situations. You get to slow down and savor the moment without an audience.
Time. Deciding to do a first look allows you to spend more time with your guests. Because you saw each other before the ceremony, that allows for all of the family pictures that would normally be taken after the ceremony to happen before... now you have time to go to cocktail hour and mingle with your guests which means you can also sit down and enjoy your meal instead of visiting tables. In the winter you'll have more time for photos during daylight!
Aesthetics. I consider the moment that the bride and groom see each other to be a pretty important moment. Having a first look allows us to choose the time and place it happens rather than being at the mercy of the venue, such as the inside of a dark church or under the tent with the power lines in the background.