More often than not the decision to have a first look is based upon photography. There are lots of blogs out there pushing couples to just have the first look to get photos over with. This way they can shoot all portraits and bridal party early in the day.
That’s not really the way I look at it. For me, the first look is about wanting to spend the day together. If you decide you want to see each other it should be because you want to spend your wedding day with all of your friends and family as one, not because you need to rush through photos.
When you choose a photographer with a documentary style, the pressure to rush to get shots is not as important. Since I’m telling a real story as I’m shooting, I focus on what’s actually happening instead of forcing specific poses or events.
I also prefer to wait until later in the day for couples portraits. I like to go spend some time together as the sun sets to capture the gorgeous magic hour lighting. Sometimes this means sneaking out of dinner for a bit or missing half of cocktail hour, but in my opinion it’s worth it. Why battle the heat, harsh lighting and shadows, and create a sense of rushing when you can wait until the light softly falls in the evening. Also, at this point you’re actually married!
I hope this helps provide a bit of my thought process behind deciding if you should plan a first look. When we sit down to plan your timeline I will discuss how a first look would impact your day personally, so you can confidently decide the best option for you. Here’s a lovely example of a first look I photographed in Hilton Head, South Carolina at Honey Horn Plantation. This couple decided on a first look to spend time hanging with their bridal party and families before the wedding ceremony.