valley & co. tips :: to first look or not?

Planning a first look moment can be so personal and also logistical. A first look moment on a wedding day is sacred time that’s carved out before the excitement of guest arrival and the ceremony begins where the couple can see each other without the crowd and have a time for photos together and a special moment. There are pros and cons for having a first look moment – we did on our wedding day and felt like we were able to take a deep breath and laugh and relax. Here’s what we recommend considering if you’re trying to decide on a first look moment:

1. Trust your gut: seems clear, but really think about what’s most important to you. Have you always dreamed of seeing each other for the first time in a church full of your guests? They don’t stray from that. If you are unsure, consider logistics of timing.

2. Time to plan: speaking of timing, look at how much time you’ll have during the day for a leisurely hour or so to have a first look and your portraits just as a couple, before you see your wedding parties and families. If there’s a crunch before heading to the ceremony or if you’re jetting in between locations, perhaps it’s not a good idea. But from a timing perspective, having a first look moment can save 45+ minutes so that you can enjoy your cocktail hour or time post-ceremony.

3. Include your pro team: chat with your planning team and your photographer and videographer to get their expert advice on how the timeline will play out. If your wedding is in the winter or fall, having a first look moment earlier in the day could mean you can get outdoors while it’s still light out for beautiful portraits.

Photos by Kristen Marie Parker – Planning/Design/Floral: Valley & Company Events

4. Scout your venue(s): in the same breath as talking with your pro team, scout your venue(s) with them as well to find beautiful spots that will photograph well for that particular time of day you choose for either a first look moment or post-ceremony photos.

All in all, the pros: you’re able to see each other in a special moment with just the two of you (or with a few named people if you’d like), and it allows for all of those photos before the ceremony, leaving 45+ minutes to enjoy happy hour. Con: not having that special unveiling at the altar.

Do you think you’ll have a first look moment or not? Whatever the logistics say, we encourage our couples to go with their instincts – we can always adjust timelines accordingly – it’s your day!