Based in Sydney
will travel worldwide for a great wedding
est. 2014

Why you should have a First Look On Your Wedding Day

Wedding Hints and Tips
couple having a first look on their wedding day

When it comes to planning your wedding photography for your Sydney wedding, there are so many decisions to make. It is probably causing you a bit of stress (trust me when I say that as I have been there too!). One of the most important (and underrated) decisions to consider is whether or not you should opt for a “first look” on your big day.

So I am sure you are planning a wedding for the first time, so don’t worry, I’m here to help make sense of the little things that we see everyday as a Sydney Wedding Photographer.

What is a “First Look?”

In case you are not sure what a first look is, let me explain what that is in layman’s terms. When the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony – usually privately with just their closest friends without the entire guest list watching. It’s an incredibly special moment for the bride and groom and for my clients who have done one, they tell me it was the best decision they made to do so.

But it also comes with its own set of pros and cons. Let’s break down the advantages and disadvantages of doing a first look on your wedding day.

The Pros:

first look at Sydney harbour

The biggest advantage of doing a first look is that it gives you more time for photos! Rather than having to squeeze all your photos into the hour between the ceremony and reception, you can take them before the ceremony begins – giving you much more flexibility when it comes to getting those perfect shots. It also allows for some great candid shots, as opposed to posed ones, which can be very special memories to have later on down the road. Plus, it takes away some of the pressure from seeing each other for the first time in front of everyone else at the ceremony.

I asked my clients why they thought it was a great idea to have a first look on their wedding day and they all overwhelmingly agreed it helped calm their nerves which was more than enough to warrant the extra time and logistics it took to arrange it.

The Cons:

first look with bride and groom

On the flip side, some couples might argue that taking away from that initial moment of seeing each other for the first time could take away from its intensity – which is certainly understandable! Additionally, if you do decide to opt for a first look, there are fewer emotional reactions during the actual ceremony itself since most people will have already seen what you looked like walking down the aisle. Finally, depending on how long your photo session goes for before your big entrance at the ceremony could mean running late (which isn’t ideal!).

Considerations for Your Day

first look wedding day

One of the most important considerations for your first look wedding photography is whether you have left enough time to fit it into your wedding schedule. When my couples ask me how much time they need, I often say about thirty minutes which will allow for the actual first look, and some time for some wedding photography with each other. It is always nice to have more time, but quite often the wedding day is quite busy!

You also need to think about how you will get both parties to the meeting spot without seeing each other and ruining the surprise, so I normally speak to my clients beforehand, tell them where to meet and have one party arrive first.

Once they arrive I ask the bride or groom to face the other way while the other person walks up behind them and taps them on the shoulder.

I then take a step back and watch it all unfold. It is a magical moment seeing the reactions, you never know how it will go and often there are tears of joy to be had!

It is always nice to have your bridal party present to witness the moment and often they will start crying too!

Logistics to Plan Ahead

bride seeing groom for the first time at wedding day

Some other important things to consider is the travel time between the first look location and the wedding ceremony, so you would need to ask yourself these questions. Is the first look going to be in a different location than your wedding ceremony? Or is it the same location as your wedding photography?

If it is a different location, plan ahead to see how long it will take to travel to the wedding ceremony, how many cars you will need to transport the people involved to get there.

I would suggest using google maps to plan out your driving time between places.

Alternatives to the First Look

I suppose there is only one alternative to having a first look, and that is to not have a first look! Some couples prefer to have the excitement and suspense to see each other down the aisle and that is perfectly OK. Over the years as a Sydney Wedding Photographer I’ve seen grown men bawl their eyes out, weep like a little boy and cry on his best man’s shoulder and that is a pretty memorable moment.

But on the flip side, I’ve seen the emotion that comes out when doing a first look and how much better it makes people feel having calmed their nervous energy and excitement that often is associated with weddings.

Ultimately, deciding whether or not to do a “first look” on your wedding day is a personal choice that only you and your partner can make together – but this guide has hopefully helped you narrow down all your options! Whether you choose to go ahead with one or not, we wish you both all the best on this wonderful journey together! And remember – no matter what decision you make, it will be perfect in its own way. Good luck!

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post about having a first look is a good idea or not. Have you written your wedding vows yet? If not, I’ve got the perfect guide for you on How to Write your wedding day vows you can check out.

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Hello, friends! I'm Kev your
and new best buddy   

Hello, friends! I'm Kev, your

 wedding photographer

Hey guys, I’m Kevin and I've been in your shoes before. I know exactly how you're feeling right now. A bit overwhelmed and stressed out from all this wedding planning!

You want someone you can trust wholeheartedly and bring you to that safe place so you can be your absolute best on what is the biggest moment of your life so far.

I’m just as excited as you are and I'll do it with much as much love, respect and care as I can. 

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