We had a winter wedding which means the sun is gone around 4pm. Our church ceremony ended right around 4, and left very little time for any outdoor photos afterwards. Because of travel time, we also missed out on our entire cocktail hour. I was a first grade teacher at the time, and didn’t know much about photography then or how to plan a wedding. I also wanted to be more “traditional”.
At the end of the day, I love my pictures, and my husband, and my wedding! But given the chance to change it, I would have gone with a first look!
A first look is a time set aside for that special moment when the bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day. It happens BEFORE the wedding ceremony and is done privately. While it has always been tradition for the groom to see the bride for the first time as she walked down the aisle, recently couples are opting to share a “first look” more and more.
In fact, According to The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study— “after surveying 13,000 US couples married in 2017—44 percent of couples revealed they did a first look prior to the ceremony.”
Ok Jen, but does that mean we should share a first look too?
My best answer is maybe…but not necessarily.
There are so many factors that come into play when planning your wedding day and as a Jennifer Lam Bride, we’ll work together to plan a unique timeline for YOUR wedding day. One that allows time to capture all the emotions and the moments, and all the special pictures that you deserve.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to share a first look with your spouse!
If you think about it, theres actually WAY less eyes on you during a “first look” compared to seeing each other during the actual ceremony. It is typically you, your spouse, and us. We’ll help choose the perfect spot to capture the moment, but wont be in your face. In fact, we want you to forget were there! Hug each other, kiss, and talk- without your entire family watching. The moment when you FIRST see your husband or wife is magical- wherever it happens, but with a scheduled “first look”, it is also a designated private moment just for the two of you.
Believe it or not, it takes at least 1.5-2 hours for family portraits, bridal party portraits, and pictures of the new Mr. & Mrs! These are the people that mean the most to you- and you don’t want to rush through those moments.
Choosing to do a first look earlier in the day means that we can shoot ALL of these pictures before your ceremony without stress, leaving you free to live in the moments as they happen. You will be free to enjoy your ceremony and go party! If we wait until after the ceremony to take these pictures, you and your crew will have to skip cocktail hour.
If you want to attend your full cocktail hour- and choose NOT to share a “first look” time must be padded in to the day for photos after your ceremony. For example, if your ceremony ends at 4:00, I recommend starting your cocktail hour no earlier than 6pm. This can work in most cases, given there is still ample daylight.
I am primarily a natural light photographer. If you chose my work because you loved the light and airy portraits, please know that I will need LIGHT from the sun to produce the same type of images for you! If you are getting married in the winter months, it can be dark out at 4:00pm! Depending on the time of your ceremony, and the time the sun will set, a first look may be a great option to ensure that we can take beautiful, timeless, outdoor photos! My favorite!
By incorporating a first look, we can shoot at 2 different times of the day- and in some cases, multiple locations. Think photos of you & your fiancé at a beautiful park right after your first look & then romantic photos on the beach at sunset!
At the end of the day, this isn’t a photo shoot, it’s your wedding! We can work together to find creative solutions for any timeline!
I encourage you to have an open conversation with your fiancé, your planner, and your photographer to create the perfect timeline for your day.