Should You Have A First Look?

First looks are becoming more and more popular for both traditional weddings and elopements. There are many factors that come to mind when answering the question, should you have a first look? My husband and I had one, and it made sense for our day and our relationship, but it is not always the case.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, a first look is a moment on the day you get married that is truly 100% the two of you. It is a time set aside before your vows for you to see each other for the first time. Some people call it a “dress reveal” but there isn’t always someone wearing a dress, so that doesn’t make sense.

There is no set way that it has to be done. It could be that both of you walk around a corner and seeing each other for the first time. One of you can walk up to the other from behind. It can be done with a wedding party or a parent(s). It can be with whoever and however you want. First looks are not only for couples eloping. Though it is very popular for them because of how elopement typically go. If you are planning a big wedding, you may even have more of a reason to consider one!

Here are some topics to think about when considering a first look.

couple having a first look at their elopement in Taos

Settling The Nerves

This one was a big one fore me! I was so nervous for some reason when walking up to my husband for the first time; I was shaking. After I saw him we both felt so much better. I was so happy we didn’t have to say our vows right then and there because I needed a few minutes at least.

Whether you think you will be nervous or not, you will. It is an incredible moment that you have been waiting for probably a long time. Being able to hug, kiss and talk to your partner when you first see them is so relaxing. Rather than just being able to look at them, smile and say your vows.

The day is about the two of you. So, getting to be with your partner earlier is just a reason on its own to have a first look.

first look at an elopement in Taos New Mexico

You Can Do More Together 

Now that you have seen each other you can move about the day together. This is something to seriously consider if you will be doing a long hike or drive to say your vows. Depending on your plans, sometimes it just makes more sense to meet up in the beginning.

After our first look we went to a brewery and had a beer before taking our short hike up to say our vows. Once you are together there is so much you can do! You can have a drink like us, grab a slice of pizza, hike, rent a jeep and go off-roading. Seriously, you can do anything. A first look makes it possible to really make your elopement unique to you.

It Is A Moment For Only You Two  

One thing that would make me so nervous is walking down an aisle with a bunch of people looking at me. It is fine for some people, but for me, I just wanted to be with my soon-to-be husband. We did not have guests, so there was not aisle, but our first look was still so needed for us. If you are having a large wedding, a first look would be a great option if you don’t want the first time you see each other be with a crowd.

Even if you are only having 10 or less people at your elopement, having a time for just the two of you first can be so nice. A first look should truly be just you two. Your guests will stay back. If you have a photographer they will keep their distance to give you your space together. You can say and do whatever you want during your first look and you won’t have an audience or time limit to worry about.

groom seeing bride for the first time

More Photos Of You Together

The best part! This sort of piggy backs on my first point, but thought it should be separate. The sooner you are together the more photos you have together. And again, if you are driving or hiking for any amount of time, you will have more moments together for your photographer to capture.

If you hire a photographer for say four hours, but you won’t see your partner until halfway or more through, that just seems silly. You hired a great photographer to capture your day together and most of it should actually be with you two together.

You can also pick a unique spot for your first look to get more variety. First look locations are typically not a journey to get to. But if your vow location is, you can get creative with having your first look photos at a different type of location.

camping elopement in Taos New Mexico

It Makes The Day Run Smoother

Depending on what you want your day to look like, it might make the most sense to take portraits together before your ceremony. A first look would solve this problem.

For instance, say you wanted to be saying your vows as the sun sets. You wouldn’t have any daylight left for portraits after that. So consider doing a first look and taking your portraits before your vows.

Another example, for a traditional wedding, would be if you wanted to just get right to the reception after your ceremony. Many couples prefer this. You could get all of the portraits with you, the wedding party and your families done before the ceremony. Your guests then don’t have to wait. You won’t feel rushed to get to the reception. And you can eat!

As an elopement photographer, I always get so excited when my couples decide to go with a first look. They are seriously some of my favorite moments. Every couple does it differently and has different emotions. Often times they are short and sweet and I know it is done when the couple looks over at me like “what now?”. The end of a first look is always a little silly because so many emotions just happened very quickly and there is really no way to end it. I love it.

There are so many reasons why a first look makes sense for certain weddings and elopements. Should you have a first look? I can’t give you the answer, but I think you know by now! If a first look is just something you want to have or if it would make your day run smoother, go for it! I can tell you from experience that you won’t regret it.

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