Many of my couples ask me whether or not they should have a first look. If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering the same thing. In my professional opinion, I think they can be an excellent idea. I love first looks; however, I love the first look when the bride walks down the aisle as well!

I know that the First look is a tad bit ‘untraditional,’ but let me take a minute to explain the benefits of a first look.

  1. Your wedding day will be crazy busy. No getting around it. You have so much to do and so little time to do it in. If you have a first look, it helps to calm down the day a bit. Instead of trying to rush around to get everyone together and have pictures taken between the wedding ceremony and reception while your guests are waiting, you’ll have that time to relax and enjoy your guests and not have to worry about being late for your reception. We can do all of the main portraits before the ceremony even begins – at the very least, the bride and groom and bridal party photos. This way, your hair, and makeup are still perfect, as they were just finished. If your family is coming earlier, we can do their photos beforehand, or we will only have to worry about those portraits after the ceremony and not the bridal party shots.
  2. A first look also gives you a very special, intimate moment with your new spouse. If you are nervous or stressed out, this will significantly help relax you, and your spouse can comfort you and let you know it will all be OK. In addition, there are many people around during the ceremony, and you can’t fully take it at the moment because everyone is staring at you. With a first look, that moment is just between you and your spouse (and your photographers, of course).
  3. Even if you have a first look, your husband will be just as happy to see you walking down the aisle, and you’ll still take his breath away. So don’t worry that you’ll be spoiling the moment by seeing him prior to the ceremony.

How much time do you need after the ceremony for photos if I am not having a first look?

If you want to go the more traditional route and forego the first look, here are the minimum times you will need to schedule out for photos after the ceremony.

  1. For family formals, you will need 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your family size.
  2. You will need a half-hour for bride and groom portraits and 30 to 45 minutes for your bridal party pictures, depending on the number of people at your party.
  3. If you are taking photos off location, you will have to gather everything together and transport it. Again, it is a good idea to designate a friend or someone who is not going to be in photos to do this for you to save time.
  4. Keep in mind that it is super hard to keep family, friends, and bridal party members together all in one place after the ceremony, especially if it is a large party. For that reason, you need to allow some extra bubble time in case someone goes missing.

These are the minimum times. If you have more people in your family and bridal party photos, you may want to add some more time.

When it comes down to it, you choose what works for you & your partner.