Published September 19th, 2016

Traditionally, many efforts have been made to keep the couple from seeing each other on the wedding day prior to the ceremony. Even though so many wedding traditions have fallen by the wayside, this tradition remained. However, in recent years, we have seen a major trend shift in the approach to wedding photos that has increasingly caused this age-old tradition to loose footing as well. We have seen the emergence of the “First Look” photo session before the wedding ceremony takes place. The “First Look” is a term photographers use to describe when the couple sees each other for the first time before the ceremony in a private setting and it is captured on film for posterity. With a “First Look,” the photographer will stage a moment, usually in a beautiful, scenic, private spot, where they’ll capture you and your sweetie seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day, freshly dressed in your wedding attire. At French’s Point, this usually happens an hour or two before the ceremony and is followed by a series of photos of just you and your intended. Sometimes even the wedding party will be photographed before the ceremony, just after the first look.

There are so many amazing spots here on our property to stage a “First Look,” or a private session like this between just the two of you and the photographer, and then eventually, your immediate family and wedding party. A recent couple chose to have their first look on the Relaxation Room balcony on the second level overlooking Penobscot Bay, while another chose to have it on the beach down by the ocean, and another staged their first look on our overlook terrace at Beach Rose Farm, and another under our wedding tree. When you come for a visit, you’ll see how many stunning options you have to choose from to customize your “First Look” experience.

It is important for each of our couples to decide what is best for them. Everyone has different expectations, personalities, visions of their wedding day, and other wedding day logistics to consider when making the decision about whether or not to have a First Look. In order to help you make the decision that’s right for you, we’re laying out what we see are the pros and cons of a First Look.

4 Pros of a “First Look”

  1. It’s a beautiful, intimate moment for you two to connect before the ceremony without anyone watching. For people who don’t like being the center of attention, this can ease that stress.
  2. It can make you more relaxed during your ceremony because the anxiety of seeing each other for the first time has already elapsed. And a more relaxed ceremony is always a good thing.
  3. In order to prepare for the First Look, you’re in your wedding outfit early, which means the wedding will likely start on time. Most weddings start late due to it taking longer to get dressed than was allotted for, so having a “First Look” means you’ll be all dressed up and ready to go well in advance of the ceremony.
  4. If you get a lot of photos taken before the ceremony, you’ll have fewer to take afterwards, which means you’ll be able to relax with your guests and enjoy the cocktail hour. Cheers!

A “First Look,” is the right choice for some of our clients, but not for all. There are certainly reasons to forgo the “First Look.” Since I was married here in 2008, I can share with you why I felt that not having a “First Look” was the right choice for me.

5 Cons of a “First Look”

  1. There are only so many surprises in life… why not forgo the “First Look” and enjoy the surprise and delight of that first moment when you walk the path toward your beloved… speaking from first-hand experience, that memory will burn brightly for years to come, charged with much excitement, love and anticipation.
  2. Sometimes traditions are wonderfully sweet, as is the case with not seeing your future spouse on the wedding day before the ceremony. I feel that not having a “First Look” is one tradition that is often times, very well suited to clients that choose French’s Point for their wedding. This is because we offer such dramatic ceremony locations and entrances… there is nothing that surpasses the beauty a stroll down our 250 foot promenades.
  3. You have more time to prepare before the ceremony and can actually start this process a bit later in the morning if you forgo the “First Look.” The end result is a more relaxed preparation period and more time to enjoy the company of your wedding party. This is of particular importance for anyone who chooses to have a large number of attendants, as you will need to allow more time for hair and make-up services.
  4. You run a greater risk of your ceremony starting late if your “First Look” starts late which can also make the time before the ceremony more stressful.
  5. There is an increased likelihood that your early-arriving guests will catch a glimpse of you before the ceremony if you have a “First Look.”

Another Option

If you forgo a “First Look” because for you the cons outweigh the pros, consider a “First Touch.” This is when the photographer stages a moment for the two of you to be photographed touching backs, holding hands on either side of a door, or partition between you, or blindfolded and hugging but not actually seeing each other. Fun, right? I have seen some very sweet moments this year where clients have chosen to exchange and read love notes to each other on the opposite side of the door while holding hands. So sweet!

However you choose to embrace these ideas is up to you. We, here at French’s Point, strongly encourage you to personalize your wedding in whatever ways make sense for you and your sweetie.

Featured photo by Rebecca Arthurs Photography

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Deciding to do a First Look at French's Point | Cuppa Photography

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