As a wedding photographer, I have been behind the scenes at a LOT of weddings. So I can speak somewhat well to what tends to work well at a wedding. And one question that comes up a lot is: “I don’t know whether to do a first look or wait until the ceremony.” Well, that kind of came out as a statement, but you get the point.
It’s romantic to think that your first look will be at your ceremony and it will be emotional and beautiful. But honestly, most people are so nervous by that point, the significance of the moment is lost. So unless you are both super carefree people who are used to being in front of hundreds of people, I’d suggest you do a first look before everyone gets there.
I know what you’re thinking. I didn’t do a “first look” before my wedding. I wanted him to see me for the first time when I was walking down the isle. But that’s a decision I regret. It would have been much more special if we had done a first look beforehand with no people there. We would have been free to express our emotions and remember the significance of the moment.
I’ve photographed a lot of weddings at this point, and the most emotion I ever get out of the couple is in private. So I always get a little thrill when the couple decides to do a first look beforehand. It also means there are a lot of pictures we can get out of the way before the craziness of the ceremony/reception. It makes things easier and smoother, most of the time.
Last word, though: this is your decision, as a couple. People do it both ways, and it’s fine. These are just the pros of doing one beforehand, which I always recommend. It’s just my two cents.