Why a First Look is One of Your Most Important Decisions

“Would you do a first look if you were me?” is probably the most common question I hear these days.

Let’s start right at the beginning. What is a first look? It’s the decision of whether or not you will be seeing your partner before the ceremony while having that moment captured by your photographer.  It has become quite popular, so when I’m asked the question, my answer is always to look at the reasons of why it may be an important decision for you to consider.

Keep in mind, you’re talking to me. The “uber romantic, teary eyes at every wedding, big silly grin on her face” kind of girl.  Naturally, you would think my stance would be NO, have the surprise of walking down the aisle and seeing each other for the first time. Well you may want to think again…

First Look - Gadbois Photography


Behind the first look

How did the “not seeing each other before” get started anyways?

Well, I will spare you the boring history lesson but to sum it up; the tradition of not seeing each other before the ceremony was due to the fact that the couple didn’t necessarily know each other at all.  It was either a barter or an agreement between two families.  The bride would walk down the aisle face covered that would only be revealed when the groom unveiled her face, essentially leaving them both hoping for the best that they would get along not to mention be attracted to each other!

Skip forward to present day and we (thank god) have a few more options.  Over the years, the two main advantages I have witnessed are reducing stress and easing up on the schedule.  Sounds sexy right?  Well, it is kind of… trust me on this one and keep on reading.


Stress reduction

Here’s what is on your plate. The anticipation of walking down the aisle with everyone looking at you. Trying to be present and taking everything in. Walking gracefully.  Oh yes, and drinking in the sight of your man waiting at the alter. This magic little formula can quickly shift from hype to stress.  On the other hand, planning an intimate first look beforehand in a quiet location can create a unique intensity of a first look without the pressure of having to be aware of everyone else.  It has been my experience that even with a first look prior, it is still fairly common to catch my grooms shedding a tear as their girl walk down the aisle regardless. So ladies, rest assured, I will still be able to capture that priceless moment.



Now let’s turn our focus on the logic of scheduling and trying to make everything fit while making sure you have time to enjoy everyone’s company.  It is not only cliché but largely true that your wedding day will fly by.  With everything that needs to fit in between the ceremony and the reception, a lot of couples find themselves falling short on having time to relax and enjoy their guests, not to mention eating.  By planning a first look before the ceremony, a lot of images can be captured during that time alleviating the time compressed pressure that otherwise follows the ceremony.  I find that the state of mind of my couples are usually calm and serene once they’ve experienced their first look. It allows them to be present and stress free during and for the rest of the day.


Right or wrong?

If you embrace a first look, you now have the benefit of extra time between the ceremony and reception. And you’ll love being able to decide how you’d like to spend it. Either more time for relaxed couple photos where you can just ‘be’ or having a glass of champagne with a guest. This newly found time takes on a natural flow and helps you seize your day with a calm mind.  We live in one of the most open-minded society that has ever been when it comes to wedding taste and vision. Nothing is expected out of you and there is no right or wrong answer. It is your blank canvas to paint and make your own.

If you’re having a first look, tell me in the comments below what made you decide to go for it?

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