To Peek or Not to Peek- The Question of the First Look

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When it comes to your wedding everything has to be well timed and planned. There are photos to be taken, guests to consider, things to arrange and on top of that there’s the nerves, excitement and joy of marrying the love of your life. For many of the couples I photograph there is a question that organically emerges at some point:

Should I have a first look at my wedding?

This can be an important decision for many lovely couples who are trying to plan a timeline for their wedding. So I’ll share my thoughts and experience below hoping that these photographic examples and perspectives will help you make a decision.

When to Peek:
  • When You Want Privacy: Many of the couples I have photographed have chosen to have a first look when they wanted to keep private the emotions and intensity of seeing each other for the first time on their wedding day. If you’re more reserved or more introverted than others, including a first look in your wedding day timeline may be a great choice. Seeing each other before the ceremony allows for some of the nerves to subside, some of the pressure to be relieved and for the bride and groom to feel more connected.

 

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  • When You Want to Take Your Time- The wonderful thing about doing a first look that is not available during a ceremony is that there’s no rush, no agenda…you will have time to spend with each other and take in the way you look that day. You can show each other the details you have chosen to wear, you’ll be able to take extra photos of just the two of you and you can exchange wedding days gifts in person if you wish.

ION Creek Club wedding photographed by Diana Deaver WeddingsION Creek Club wedding photographed by Diana Deaver WeddingsION Creek Club wedding photographed by Diana Deaver WeddingsION Creek Club wedding photographed by Diana Deaver WeddingsION Creek Club wedding photographed by Diana Deaver WeddingsION Creek Club wedding photographed by Diana Deaver Weddings  ION Creek Club wedding photographed by Diana Deaver Weddings

  • When You Want to Attend Your Cocktail Hour- For many couples this is the big selling point of the first look- being able to do many of the photos before the ceremony so that they can participate more in the celebrations right after the ceremony. With a little bit of coordination your closest family and bridal party can join in your first look and help you make happen all those photos on your list. That way, after the ceremony you can mosey on to your cocktail hour and enjoy yourself!

If we did a first look, how much time should we allow for it?

My first answer is: talk to your people- photographer, planner, close family. I usually recommend that we dedicate one hour to the first look.

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When Not to Peek:
  • When You Want to Share Your Emotion with Your Friends and Family– Certain people don’t show too much emotion. Other’s will get teary eyed or giggly. And when bride and groom get emotional in front of their friends and family, so will they. For many people sharing the most important moments with their family is very important- it creates of belonging and connection. And the cool part about that is that I’ll be there to capture these moments to be treasured for years to come. Some people say “Don’t Cry” when at weddings but I say it is perfectly okay to show emotion on such a meaningful day. As a wedding photographer I often become friends on Facebook with the couples I photograph and one of the greatest joy I have is seeing my photographs used throughout the years- at birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day- these photos are a beautiful reminder of the bond and caring between you and the people who join you in the public celebration of your love.

 

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  • When You Want to Give Dad the Opportunity to Reveal the Bride– For some brides the presence of their father in their lives is particularly meaningful and they want to give him the special honor of being the one to reveal the bride for the first time. This will have the element of surprise and anticipation for everyone, including the groom. It’s a beautiful moment!

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A Third Option?

A potential third option is not seeing each other but instead spending a few minutes in each other’s vicinity and perhaps touching and hearing each other’s voice. This can be done with the help of a door or wall that obstructs you from seeing each other. This option is great for calming the nerves as it allows you to make contact, hold hands, say sweet things to each other or pass on a small gift.

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