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Should I Do a First Look? | Wedding Day Tips


groom sees bride for first time during first look

As a Boston Wedding photographer, I have the amazing opportunity to work with so many amazing couples! One question I hear often from couples planning their wedding is “should I do a first look?” There are so many reasons why couples may or may not choose to do a first look. I will always fully support whatever my couples decide to do. However, from a photography standpoint, I will say that the first look gives you more time for photos, but we will always make anything work! For those couples on the fence, I like to present the pros and cons so that my clients can make accurate decisions about their wedding day. 

Reasons to do a first look:

  • The couple shares a private, intimate moment before the craziness of the day ensues. Everyone knows your wedding day goes by quickly. A first look allows you to slow down and take time for the two of you. 
  • The Couple gets to see each other before anyone else.
  • More time for photos! You can get your couple portraits, wedding party portraits, and family portraits done before the ceremony! Then everyone can enjoy cocktail hour! Otherwise, if you don’t do a first look, then those photos are all done during cocktail hour.
  • A built-in backup rain plan. If it looks like rain later on in the day, you still will have gotten photos outdoors.

Reasons not to do a first look:

  • You want to keep it more traditional and have a first look going down the aisle
  • Your cocktail hour is one and half hours and you planned enough time to do all your portraits and get to cocktail hour
  • If you are doing a mass and have a break in between the ceremony and cocktail hour to take photos

The genuine emotion and reactions during a first look are truly priceless. A first look is a much more intimate moment between the couple and one of my favorites on wedding days. While many people think that doing a first look will ruin the “walking down the aisle moment,” in reality this isn’t true. I’ve seen people who do a first look get even more emotional than when they did their first look, because they’re two totally different feelings. I always tell my couples that if they are worried about it, they can save part of their look as a surprise, so there is still some outfit surprise walking down the aisle! 

First Looks Aren’t Just for the Couple

I also remind my couples that first looks don’t have to be just about the couple! While I love capturing those sweet moments between a couple during their first look, a first look between a bride/groom and their father/mother, or a bride and her bridesmaids can be just as special and fun! 

I personally love when brides do a first look with their dad! I love watching a father’s reaction to seeing their baby girl for the first time on her wedding day! It is truly such a special moment. Bridesmaids are also a really fun one to capture! The reactions are a full range of emotions! I love hearing the squeals of excitement, the “oohs,” and the “ahhs”.  I always make sure there are tissues nearby, because tears are almost always shed. 

Whatever you decide for your wedding day is perfect! The right choice is the one that fits you and your specific needs and desires for your special day. Your wedding day is one of the most important, special, and most memorable moments of your life and it should be all about you! Whether or not you decide to do a first look, I will always make sure my clients get the best coverage and images from their magical day!

If you are recently engaged or are currently planning your wedding day, CONGRATULATIONS! Contact me to learn more about my wedding photography experience. I’d love to hear from you and discuss capturing your precious memories!

You can find more resources and gorgeous Boston Weddings on the blog:

Lakeview Pavilion Wedding in Foxborough, MA 

Romantic Wedding at DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum 

 Elegant Club at New Seabury Wedding

6 Elegant Massachusetts Wedding Venues

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Boston wedding photographer

Stephanie Berenson Photography is Boston wedding photographer located in Boston, MA. Stephanie photographs weddings in Boston, Gloucester, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Newport, Rhode Island, and all over New England. Stephanie loves to photograph classic, timeless, and elegant weddings for couples who are looking for a unique wedding experience and beautiful wedding photos.