First Look – Pros and Cons

First Look – Pros and Cons

Planning your wedding day is filled with everything from the really important decisions like which venue to have your reception at down to the smaller decisions like should Aunt Jenny really be at a table that close to the open bar. I get it, it’s really hard to figure it all out and sometimes it can even be a tad confusing.

One of the decisions I see my couples going back and forth with the most often is whether or not to have a first look on their wedding day. There are a number of reasons for and against this wedding day trend, so let’s jump right into helping you decide what works best for you.

 

Pros of Having a First Look

 

A Moment Just for Two

With all of the controlled chaos of a wedding day, sometimes it can really be hard for the couple to get a few moments alone. Everyone means well and they just want to congratulate you and wish you well. Unfortunately, after an entire day of that, you can walk away exhausted and feeling like there wasn’t enough time for the both of you to just be together on what was supposed to be your day.

A first look can give you those precious moments together – just the two of you to be yourselves (OK, the two of you and your photographer but that’s just nitpicking now isn’t it? Ok, and maybe the video company… but you get the point. Let’s move on.).

I always try to suggest to my couples that they schedule some time in the day just for them. Whether it’s during the first look, their portrait session, or even a little time before their entrance into the reception, it’s great to be able to regroup and enjoy each other’s company away from everyone else if only for a moment.

 

Getting Your Portraits Out of the Way

You’ve waiting all this time for your wedding day, the ceremony is over and now you want to get to your reception and have fun with the rest of your guests.

But wait, we still need to take those pesky family group shots and your portraits as well. It’s not uncommon to see the bride and groom start to get a little anxious to get to the reception and just want to be done with the portraits because they are just tired from all the anticipation of the wedding itself.

The problem is that your portraits together can be some of the most important to you down the road and if you aren’t enjoying yourself then you’ll see it in your expressions and the moments won’t be as honest. You don’t want to rush through photos that important.

A first look can work to your advantage because it’s taking place much earlier in your day where you are fresher and still looking your best right out of hair and makeup.

 

A More Controlled Situation

There’s a strong chance you have seen one of the humorous/horrifying images on social media of a wedding ceremony where the scene is ruined because one of the guests at the ceremony had decided that the best way to remember the very touching moment taking place right before them is by holding up their iPad at eye level to take photos or video instead of simply being there.

In doing this they end up obstructing the view of other guests as well as the photographer more often than not which can be very problematic. There is always that chance that as the couple sees each other for the first time the photographer’s view could be obstructed in that precious moment leaving it lost forever.

With a first look we can eliminate the potential of that because your photographer and their team are the only ones there and will know how to stay out of each other’s way to capture each and every moment.

 

Cons of Having a First Look

 

You Wasted the Good Surprise

One of my personal favorite moments of the wedding day is that moment when the couple see each other from opposite ends of the aisle. This is also a favorite for many family members as well as your guests so by having a first look you deny them that often-emotional exchange.

Sure, you may still get a little choked up when you see each other if you’ve had a first look earlier in the day, but my experiences have been that it’s much more subdued than when there hasn’t been a first look.

 

Don’t Get Your Dress Dirty

Many times, I get requests for first looks to take place in open fields or at parks because of their scenic quality. Visually tht can be stunning however you then run the risk of getting the train of a dress and your shoes dirty prior to walking down the aisle. You’ve spent quite a bit of money on your wedding attire so it’s a shame to take them outside and get them filthy before the ceremony.

Sure, we can also do the first look inside but often that isn’t as romantic to the couple and not as appealing visually.

As a side note, being a wedding photographer here in North Carolina, besides getting your clothing dirty, you risk starting to sweat possibly staining your clothing or worse causing your hair and makeup to start to come undone before the ceremony. You also risk your bouquet starting to wilt if you decide to incorporate it as well.

 

Is the Moment Even Real

Many couples decide to have a first look because they’ve heard about them from friends or have seen photographs online and in bridal magazines.

Because they fall in love with the idea of the first look, that can sometimes create certain expectations they feel they need to reach in how they react. You are aware you are being photographed and know exactly what’s about to happen which can cause a less than genuine reaction when it actually takes place.

Instead of the moment just taking place you can find yourself caught up in thinking about your expression and how it will photograph instead of having an honest emotional moment. You’ve now not only created a fake moment but have stolen some of the impact from the actual first look during the ceremony as I explained previously.

 

So Which is It?

 

So, What’s the Verdict?


So now that I’ve gone through a few of the reasons for having a first look as well as some of the potential pitfalls of having one, should you have one or not? What’s the correct answer?

That’s just it, there isn’t one.

In the end, it’s your day there is no right answer that is going to apply to every couple and their particular nuptials. I am always happy to capture a wedding day however the couple’s heart desires so it will come down to their personal preference. As I’ve already shown by example, there simply isn’t a right or wrong answer when it comes to the first look.

While they have started to fall off slightly in popularity in recent years, I still get requests to capture them all the time, so it comes down to what works best for you as a couple. In the end, that’s really all that matters anyway right?

If you are looking for a wedding photographer and you’d like to have me capture your wedding day, please contact me for more information. I would love the opportunity to be there for those amazing memories being made!

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If you are looking for a wedding photographer and you'd like to have me capture your wedding day, please contact me for more information. I would love the opportunity to be there for those amazing memories being made!
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Wedding Tips

First Look – Pros and Cons

One of the decisions I see my couples going back and forth with the most often is whether or not to have a first look on their wedding day. There are a number of reasons for and against this wedding day trend, so let’s jump right into helping you decide what works best for you.

Wedding Tips

Top 10 Songs for Father and Daughter Dance

As a father of three daughters myself, I’m fairly certain I will ugly cry when this moment arrives. I won’t be able to help it and I don’t know that I would if I could. It’s really a special moment because it’s at this moment when dad knows that he is no longer the most important man in his daughter’s world.

bouquet toss
Wedding Tips

Tips for Finding Your Wedding Photographer

I love bridal shows. Heck, I still go once in awhile just to get the free cupcakes (sorry bakers). It did make me think about how could I help couples navigate all their options and these tips even apply to searching online and gives you a good foothold on what to ask during in-person or over the phone meetings!

Headshot Tips

Business Headshot Tips for Everyone

When you have professional head shots taken, you must keep in mind that these are photos that you may have to look at for a very long time.

Your corporate headshot might be on your business card, posted on your company’s website and might be used on marketing literature and brochures that might be in use for several years. So how do you make sure you look your best?

Top 10 Songs for Father and Daughter Dance

Top 10 Songs for Father and Daughter Dance

One of my favorite moments as a wedding photographer is getting to witness the first dances. None are usually as emotional as the father and daughter dance and because of that, so much thought goes into picking the perfect song for that once in a lifetime moment.

As a father of three daughters myself, I’m fairly certain I will ugly cry when this moment arrives. I won’t be able to help it and I don’t know that I would if I could. It’s really a special moment because it’s at this moment when dad knows that he is no longer the most important man in his daughter’s world and it’s a hard title to give up.

Besides the outpouring of emotion, it’s also very common for the daughter and the father to be a bit sillier during their dance. Maybe it’s a way to deal with the tension and to keep everyone from crying or maybe that’s just how they were when she was growing up. It can be anything from funny musical choices to over the top dance moves, but it’s never a boring time!

Top 10 List of Songs

I’ve researched a number of publications and their poll data to find out what songs are most often requested as songs for the bride and her father. While we see a number of repeats, there are also a number of more unique song ideas to keep in mind when choosing your song. I’ve also chosen lists from a couple of different recent years so we don’t forget about some previously awesome songs. I’ve also tried to link each song back to iTunes if it were availble so you can listen to the song and even purchase it if you decide to use it.

Brides

  1. Sweet Pea,” by Amos Lee
  2. How Sweet It Is,” by James Taylor
  3. Come Fly With Me,” by Frank Sinatra
  4. Times of Your Life,” by Paul Anka
  5. Unforgettable,” by Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole
  6. The Way You Look Tonight,” by Frank Sinatra
  7. Butterfly Kisses,” by Bob Carlisle
  8. Father and Daughter,” by Paul Simon
  9. Forever Young,” by Rod Stewart
  10. What a Wonderful World,” by Louis Armstrong

The Spruce

  1. Butterfly Kisses,” by Bob Carlisle
  2. “When Angles Fly,” by Tony Ransom & Heavenly Light Orchestra
  3. I Loved Her First,” by Heartland
  4. Through the Years,” by Kenny Rodgers
  5. Always Be Your Baby,” by Natalie Grant
  6. How Sweet It Is,” by James Taylor
  7. The Way You Look Tonight,” by Frank Sinatra
  8. Unforgettable,” by Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole
  9. Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel),” by Billy Joel
  10. My Father’s Eyes,” by Eric Clapton

The Knot

  1. A Song for My Daughter” by Ray Allaire
  2. Always Be Your Baby” by Natalie Grant
  3. Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle
  4. Daddy” by Beyoncé
  5. Daddy Dance With Me” by Krystal Keith
  6. Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn
  7. “Daddy’s Little Girl” Michael Bublé
  8. Daughters” by John Mayer
  9. Dream” by Priscilla Ahn
  10. Father and Daughter” by Paul Simon

Bridal Musings

  1. When You Need Me,” by Bruce Springsteen
  2. “Wallflowers,” by Tom Petty
  3. Gracie,” by Ben Folds
  4. My Darling,” by Wilco
  5. Kind and Generous,” by Natalie Merchant
  6. Daughter,” by Loudon Wainwright
  7. Father and Daughter,” by Paul Simon
  8. My Girl,” by The Temptations
  9. Isn’t She Lovely,” by Stevie Wonder
  10. Ain’t the Love,” by Ray Charles

Wedding Forward

  1. I Loved Her First,” by Heartland
  2. Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” by Elton John
  3. You Are So Beautiful,” by Joe Cocker
  4. Wind Beneath My Wings,” by Bette Midler
  5. You Look So Good In Love,” by George Strait
  6. Cinderella,” by Steven Curtis Chapman
  7. You Raise Me Up,” by Josh Groban
  8. A Whole New World,” by Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle
  9. When You Say Noting At All,” by Alison Krauss
  10. Make You Feel My Love,” by Adele

I hope these couple of lists help you to decide which song to use for the father and daughter dance. Keep in mind though, it is your wedding day and you certainly can use any song you like.

Don’t forget your tissue.