I'm a traveling wedding and elopement photographer based in Delaware who specializes in unique, outdoor weddings. I capture real moments with bright, bold, natural images. My goal is to make your wedding day the best it can be and ensure that you have a meaningful, memorable, FUN wedding day that is the start of a lifelong adventure.
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A “first look” is when the bride and groom choose to see other before the ceremony at a planned time during the wedding day. Usually, this is a private time for the couple to share a special moment together before the ceremony.
At every wedding day, my goal is to get as many photos done before the ceremony as possible. After a first look, we will do portraits of just the bride and groom for about 15 minutes. Then, we don’t have to take bride and groom photos after the ceremony unless you want to! By doing a first look, we can potentially get bride + groom portraits, full bridal party photos, and some family photos done before the ceremony. Then, we will need less time between the ceremony and reception for photos. If you want to go to your cocktail hour, I recommend doing a first look.
A first look is a photo-worthy moment in itself. It’s an intimate, exciting, romantic moment when raw emotion usually comes out from both the bride and groom. Plus, you have more opportunity to have photos of both the bride and groom together. We do portraits immediately after the first look, but we can also do more bride and groom portraits and after the ceremony or at sunset.
Your wedding day is one of the biggest days of your life. It’s ok to be nervous! Seeing your fiance before the ceremony can calm some of those nerves and give you peace of mind that your fiance is there, ready, and excited for the wedding. Doing a first look is an especially great option if you get nervous around crowds or don’t like being the center of attention. A first look is a way to capture genuine emotion without the nervousness that crowds can inflict.
Everyone says that your wedding day will go by too fast. A first look allows you to spend some one-on-one quality time with your fiance during the wedding day. You can both slow down, be present, and enjoy each other’s company. You usually don’t get much time for just the two of you on your wedding day.
Doing a first look doesn’t necessarily take away from the moment when you see each other for the first time at the ceremony. Seeing each other privately before the ceremony is totally different than seeing each other at the ceremony with all of your friends and family watching. Both moments are special, and if the feelings are there, the emotion is going to come out regardless of what you do. I’ve had couples do a first look and still have an incredible moment at the ceremony.
Since the first look happens earlier in the day, both the bride and groom will look their absolute best, both for each other and for photos. The bride’s hair and makeup will be fresh, and neither of you will have had the chance to sweat, cry, or get dirt on your clothing. Of course, you’ll look stunning all day long, BUT I’m just planning ahead here in case something were to happen later in the day.
As much as you plan and prepare for your wedding day, you ultimately can’t know everything that could happen. Whatever happens, happens. What if the ceremony starts late and we run out of natural light for photos after the ceremony? Or if your dress rips later? Or if it starts raining after the ceremony? When you do a first look, you can get a lot of photos done before the ceremony, so there is less to worry about later.
If it is important to you that you don’t see each other at all before the ceremony, then don’t do a first look. Your moment at the ceremony will be magical, and we will still get all the photos done.
You’ll need to shift your timeline so that there is enough time in the beginning of the day before the ceremony to accommodate for a first look. If you don’t do a first look, everything can start a little later.
If you believe that seeing each other before the ceremony is bad luck, then save that moment for the ceremony. Doing a first look is also less traditional.
I'm Abby Shepard, a traveling wedding and elopement photographer based in Delaware, USA. I document real moments with bright, bold, natural images. I specialize in unique, outdoor weddings for those who love adventure.
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