DeLong Photography Blog

Photographers providing authentic photographs, modern heirloom albums, and more for those who value a comfortable and fun experience 
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Available for travel.

5 Tips on Why You Should Have a First Look

First Looks

For those of you who don’t know, a first look is when the betrothed sees each other before the ceremony. There are a variety of reasons why a couple may choose this. There are certainly some benefits to doing so too! Read on to find out if a first look is for you!

1) Time

The biggest benefit of a first look is perhaps not what you would expect – it’s time. Timelines almost always run late, and when they do, it means less time with your photographer. Whether you choose to cut time for family or couples portraits (it’s couple’s portraits 99% of the time), time has to be cut somewhere to try and get the day back on track. You may intend to have an hour with your photographer for those Pinterest worthy bride and groom images, but it has to be trimmed down to 15, or even 5, minutes.

With a first look on the other hand, you meet before the ceremony. This allows for family, bridal party, and couples portraits to take place before the ceremony. You potentially have up to a few hours to spend, making sure everything is captured calmly and thoroughly. Some couples even choose to venture out and have images taken in the city, or somewhere else close to their hearts. Without having to cram all of the formals into a cocktail hour, there’s a lot more room for creativity.

2) Calming Your Nerves

Most couples who do a first look do so for this very reason. You get time to hug, cuddle, or even cry together, privately (some grooms truly prefer this so they hopefully won’t cry in front of a crowd of people). It helps shake off any anxieties, and calm you both down. Couples share how their morning has been, read notes/present gifts to each other, and just soak in some time together. Let’s be honest, after the ceremony, you both will be crowded by people for the rest of the night!

3) Enjoying Your Reception

After spending a large sum of money on your reception, spending time enjoying it is fairly important. Since formals have already taken place before the ceremony, you can head straight off to cocktail hour/the reception with the rest of your guests.

4) No Time Wrangling Guests

This is the biggest culprit in why the timeline gets behind. Even if hair and make-up run late, generally things are put back on track for the ceremony to start on time. However, after the ceremony, guests tend to toddle off to the bathroom or the bar. They think they have plenty of time before they will be called for photos. In reality, it causes other family members to go hunt them down. More and more time is eaten up wrangling everyone together. This issue is completely eliminated by having a first look.

5) Thoughtfulness

Older guests (or those who can’t stand for long periods) will really appreciate having taken photos earlier in the day. Without having to wait for guests to be wrangled, these individuals can get through the photos they are needed in quickly. This also means they would be able to enjoy sitting through your ceremony, and then sit comfortably through the reception once arriving.

I hope you found this post helpful, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out! Happy planning!

Black and white image of Tim and Shannon DeLong of DeLong Photography in Riverfront Park park smiling at the camera

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