Customs and Traditions

Unsure about doing a first look

Every time I have envisioned my wedding, I dreamed about that moment when I come down the aisle and my fiancé see's me for the first time in my wedding gown. 

Since I've started actually planning my wedding. I have found out that many people do a first look because 1 hour isn't enough time to get all the pictures you need (during cocktail hour) 

I am so torn. I really don't want to have a first look. But I want to have enough time for pictures in several locations (I am having a downtown Chicago wedding)

I'm thinking maybe if I take the pictures with my family and bridal party before the ceremony in two locations, and then do the whole wedding party photos and bride and groom photos after at another location next to my venue. Then I could fit it all in without doing a first look. I'm not positive if this will work though. 

Thoughts?

Re: Unsure about doing a first look

  • I think trying to go to several downtown Chicago locations is too much. Traffic can be a real issue. DD and SIL did a first look along the Riverwalk then did WP pictures somewhere else downtown before the wedding. After the ceremony they all went to somewhere along the lake and to the reception venue.  I'm not a fan of first looks. In my daughter's case, they have a ton of pictures of the WP and of course, the couple and very few family pictures. I don't know if this is the case in all first look scenarios but I was terribly disappointed. If you really don't want to do a first look don't do one.

    Are your ceremony and reception at the same venue? I think you could easily do pictures of you, family and BP before the ceremony. Then go to one or max two places for pictures after the ceremony. Don't forget to also have pictures taken of the groom with his family and GM. My SIL has no pictures of him and his family before the ceremony.
    InLoveInQueensernursej
  • We did not do a first look.

    We took as many separate WP and family photos as we could before the ceremony. Our cocktail hour was enough time to take family, WP and B&G photos. However, we took photos at our venue location. If you want to travel, then yes, that'll be a problem and I would suggest the first look.

    Also, create a list of photos you'd like taken and have someone in charge of calling out who is in what photo. Organize the photos so people flow in/out smoothly, such as: Bride + Brothers, Bride+Groom+Brothers, Bride+Groom+ Parents, Bride+Parents, etc. Wherever you end up doing your photos, know exactly where you want them done (that tree, this wall, these stairs), as that is the biggest waster of time.
    charlotte989875cowgirl8238Knottie1452098987
  • IMO trying to do multiple locations is what is going to be the big problem, not first look or no. With an hour, or even hour and a half cocktail hour during which you will take pictures will not be long enough to get all the shots you want in multiple locations. It just isn't. So you can limit the number of locations, which I strongly recommend, or take some before hand. How far apart are the locations you are trying to go to? 

    I did a first look. We loved it. These are some of my favorite pictures from the entire day. But I understand it is not for everyone. You're the only one who can decide if having a big "ceremony reveal" is important to you. It wasn't to me, but I that is really important to some people. 
    InLoveInQueensSP29Knottie1452098987
  • If you want to do multiple locations, that would be best suited for JUST you and your groom before the wedding, as a first look. I've done several photoshoots, and just walking between 3-4 areas within a city block and just having me or me and H in the pictures, we easily go over an hour with the photographer. The last such session we did ended up being over two hours, oops! And this is without having a fucking wedding gown to maneuver and position(in most cases, I did wear a ballgown once).

    If you nix the traveling portion, you could do what we did. All the shots with bridesmaids and bride and/or whatever we could do that didn't require the groom, followed by all the shots with the groomsmen and groom etc, then the ceremony, then the remaining family shots and the full wedding party afterward.
    image
    InLoveInQueensKnottie1452098987
  • The first look is very much a "to each their own" sort of thing. My husband and I did not do one, and I'm glad; I was worried that the moment he saw me walking down the aisle might be anti-climatic if we had a first look. May it would've been, or maybe not, but I wouldn't change that moment at our wedding for anything. That said, we had a small wedding party and both have small families, so it was very easy to get all the pictures we wanted done during cocktail hour. 

    Honestly, though, I think a lot of what is stressing you out right now is trying to do photos in multiple locations. Is this really necessary? If you go with either the first look or doing some WP/family photos beforehand, I'd suggest just going to the location next to your venue and taking the pictures there. Sure, it's fun if you're getting married in a city to make the most of it, but not if it's going to make the planning or the actual day itself more complicated and stressful. 
    image
    charlotte989875ILoveBeachMusic
  • SP29 said:
    We did not do a first look.

    We took as many separate WP and family photos as we could before the ceremony. Our cocktail hour was enough time to take family, WP and B&G photos. However, we took photos at our venue location. If you want to travel, then yes, that'll be a problem and I would suggest the first look.

    Also, create a list of photos you'd like taken and have someone in charge of calling out who is in what photo. Organize the photos so people flow in/out smoothly, such as: Bride + Brothers, Bride+Groom+Brothers, Bride+Groom+ Parents, Bride+Parents, etc. Wherever you end up doing your photos, know exactly where you want them done (that tree, this wall, these stairs), as that is the biggest waster of time.

    THIS!

    This is exactly how we did our wedding and it was perfect that way.  Does your photographer have an apprentice/assistant?  When we got married, the main photographer stayed with the Groom and the assistant was working with the Groomsmen at the same time taking photos at two different areas of the site.  It worked out really well and even though we never left the property we had a good variety of shots! 

    Overall the Photographer started at 9:30 with Groom/GMs/His family (getting ready and all that), then around 10:15 did the Bride/BMs/Brides Family (again getting ready and all that)...by 11AM we were down the aisle and all the group shots were done in about 45mins during cocktail hour.  We did not have a first look, but were organized and efficient thanks to the photographer and her assistant.  She even commented on how well the flow worked with us because we knew what we wanted ahead of time.

    I would stick to one location before and something really close by for the cocktail hour.

    SP29
  • Another vote for doing the pictures in several locations BEFORE the wedding. You can still get some really fun ones of the WP in a few locations if you want. Although TBH, I've been in weddings like that and traipsing all over in a BM dress is a little bit of a pain. First look or no first look, the cocktail hour isn't quite enough time to get a bunch of pictures in several locations.
    Knottie1452098987
  • Just had our wedding this past weekend and did a first look prior to the ceremony and don't regret it for a moment. It was actually nice to see him before hand and get out a few jitters. 
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    OurWildKingdomKnottie1452098987cowgirl8238kwiksilver
  • I had about 5 min alone with DH the entire day of our wedding. We used those 5 min for a first look. Just a special moment between the two of us. I wouldn't have changed it for anything. Plus, it was nice to get most of the photos knocked out before the ceremony.

    "There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." -Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Reading and Writing"
    OurWildKingdomemmaaa
  • I was back and forth about doing a first look, and we decided to do one after I talked to some friends who had gotten married recently. Someone told me you are so busy that day that you really don't get any alone time, so that's what our first look was. Yes, it made for great photos, but it was also nice to just see each other before all the commotion of the wedding and reception started. It also helped with what you're concerned about - we took all our WP and immediate family photos before the ceremony, so between ceremony and reception all we had to do was some additional family photos with people who hadn't been there earlier. I've been to weddings where the bride and groom don't show up for 1.5-2 hours and it wears on everyone.

    Having said that, if you don't want to do a first look, don't do one. Like a PP mentioned, it's very important to some people (and it sounds like to you) for the walk down the aisle to be the first time he sees you in your dress. It wasn't that big of a deal to us, and we still had a special moment seeing each other for the first time.

    I second the suggestion for a good engagement photo shoot if you want to do several locations. I live in a city much smaller than Chicago, but we did engagement photos around our downtown area and also in our college town about an hour away on a different day. I can't even imagine going to multiple locations to do photos in one hour in my city, much less a big city like Chicago. Our pictures beforehand (WP and family) took about an hour or two and we stayed at the venue the whole time. (We weren't in a rush because people weren't waiting on us, but still.)
  • Like others have said, ultimately, whether to do a first look or not is completely up to you. But to ease your mind, it doesn't take away from seeing each other as you walk down the aisle. My husband and I did a first look because we wanted to have a few moments with just the two of us before the wedding started. I was so excited to see him and hug him and he cried the second he saw me. And then when he saw me walking down the aisle later, he cried again. Harder. No magic lost there at all :)
    InLoveInQueens
  • You could also do whats call a bridal shoot - its ether before or after the day. You get all done up in your dress and have a photo shoot with just you too. You might want to do it after to save him seeing you in the dress as you head down the aisle.

    Its different from an engagement shoot that you might do really early to use the photos on your website - these are more for you guys and a couple connected to but not on the day. Its sort of like if you had a photo shoot of you on any other day but you wear your wedding dress.

    We are planing to do one as were getting married in Paris and then I want some pictures or us in the forest where I grew up. Which will be after.

    I'm also planing to have a first look as in France you have to get married at the town hall before having any religious ceremony. So I'd like us to have a moment before we walk to the civil ceremony

    I really like them but if you don't then don't have them and have another shoot at another time ether before or after. 
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