Should I Do a First Look at My Wedding? Three Reasons to See Each other Before The Walk down the Aisle.

December 23, 2019

Deciding whether or not to do a first look on the wedding day is a very personal choice and really depends on a few key factors that go into the planning of your day. Nearly every client who reaches out to us for wedding photography or wedding cinematography in Toronto realizes that they need to firmly decide on whether they would like to see each other before the big walk down the aisle – and the sooner in the planning process the decision is made, the better.

With my experience as a Toronto wedding photographer, here are my three reasons for choosing to see each other before the walk down the aisle and why doing a first look might be the best fit for you.

Bride in a white wedding dress prepares to meet her groom for the first time and do their first look in front of floor to ceiling windows, marble floors and a water feature at Casa Loma in Toronto
Toronto Wedding Photography in Casa Loma

Calming nerves and spending the day together

If your wedding ceremony is later in the afternoon or early evening, you may end up spending most of your own wedding day apart from one another. Through the day, nerves can really mount as the anticipation increases for the big moment! Sometimes, the best way to really calm the nervous feelings is to spend time with your best friend – the person you’re marrying. In this case, a first look is a really great opportunity to go for a big hug, take a deep breath, and spend some time together. I often recommend couples do their professional wedding photos by treating the time like a small date; they pick something meaningful to do together and this creates beautiful photographs.

Bride and Groom in white wedding dress and white tuxedo embrace and kiss on their wedding day after seeing each other for the first time

Our wedding couple M+J felt so relieved after they did their first look that the rest of the wedding day was fun, flowing and easy. The photos all reflected the relaxed vibes these two found when they were together.

Making the Most of the Natural Light

If you are planning a wedding outside of the summer season in Ontario, you might find yourself planning an itinerary based on the natural rhythms of sunrise and sunset. Find out what time the sun is supposed to set on your wedding day, and plan accordingly. Sometimes, choosing to do a first look earlier in the day means using the natural light to get great couples, wedding party and family photos outside or near windows – while still holding onto the dream of an evening candlelit ceremony.

Bride with long sleeve and low neckline wedding dress and Groom in black tuxedo kiss among foliage in Alan Gardens Conservatory in Toronto

Our couple N+J chose to get a permit for professional photography at Alan Gardens in Toronto as a location for their couples photos after doing their first look. It was a gorgeous setting for their November wedding and gave them a little shelter from the cold on their chilly wedding day.

If You’d Like to Join in Your Cocktail Hour

Often, couples who are seeing each other down the aisle for the first time use the period of time for their cocktail hour to do couples photos, wedding party photos and family photos. If you choose to do a first look before the ceremony, you have the unique opportunity to cut down on time for doing formal shots after the ceremony and spending more time with your family, friends and guests from afar who have come to see you on your wedding day. This means you get to enjoy not only the great company but those yummy little appetizers and signature drinks you’ve set out for everyone to enjoy.

Bride with curly hair in pink wedding dress laughs with friends at a cocktail hour at South Pond Farms in Pontypool Ontario
How often do you get to see all of your favourite people in one place, enjoying food and drink? Once! Your wedding! Spend the cocktail hour together by doing your formal photos earlier in the day.

Not into the First Look? No problem.

If the First Look itself doesn’t spark the same magic for you as the idea of waiting to walk down the aisle… then don’t do a first look. I believe that you have to really love the idea in order to feel good about it. After ten years of photographing weddings in the Toronto and Hamilton area, I think that the best advice I can give is to do what you want, because you want to. Don’t worry about what you’re “supposed” to do, and enjoy your day in your way.

If you’re looking for a Toronto Wedding Photographer or Hamilton Wedding Photographer to capture your wedding day in a way that is honest, stunning, candid and natural, we would love to chat. Contact us at hello@johnandsamantha.ca to learn more.

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PHOTOS AND VIDEOS & WORD CONTENT BY JOHN AND SAMANTHA BUTLER | 647.339.6755 | HELLO@JOHNANDSAMANTHA.CA

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