Ohio Wedding Photographer | Ashleigh Grzybowski
What to consider when deciding if a bride and groom first look is right for you.
Nothing compares to seeing your soon-to-be spouse on your wedding day for the first time. Whether during a during a first look or at the alter this is special moment! As an Ohio Wedding Photographer, I recommend couples consider the following when deciding if a first look is the best decision.
It is important to consider the ceremony time and sunset on the day of your wedding. I recommend between 1.5 hours – 2 hours for all portraits on a wedding day. This includes wedding party, family and bride and groom portraits. General rule is if the ceremony begins at 3pm or later, a first look is highly recommended. This gives time for all portraits to be taken prior to dinner and sunset.
Down Time for Your Guests
After the ceremony, guests either enter cocktail hour or will need to find a restaurant nearby until the reception begins. If restaurant aren’t nearby or the venue doesn’t allow a full 90 minute cocktail hour, a first look is recommended.
If restaurants are close or a full 90 minute cocktail hour is an option waiting until the alter works great! Guests always love recommendations on restaurants that are within walking distant from an insider…including on your wedding website is a great idea!
The length of cocktail hour directly corresponds to if the bride and groom share a first look or not.
Let’s talk about length first! If a first look is planned, a 45-60 minute cocktail house is plenty. This gives guests a nice transition break between the ceremony and reception while family portraits are photographed. If seeing each other at the alter is very important, cocktail hour needs to be a full 90 minutes so all family, full wedding party and bride and groom portraits can be photographed.
Planning a first look allows the bride and groom to spend more time together on their wedding day. This might be shocking to hear but most couples don’t realize how little time they spend together on their wedding day. Seems backwards, I know! Planning a first look allows you to spend more time together since you see each other before the ceremony. This is intentional time we plan for the two of you to connect, lower nerves and see each other for the first time without everyone watching.
An additional benefit of a first look is the ability to attend cocktail hour to visit with family and friends that are there to celebrate you!
Saving the most important consideration for last (in my opinion!). Deciding on a bride and groom first look is a personally decision. This choice needs to feel right to both of you and there is no “wrong” decision. To be 100% transparent, there is way more flexibility in a wedding timeline if a first look is planned. This is flexibility in timeline planning as well as day of if inclement weather hits (rain) as it gives us more opportunity to work around the rain forecast.
With that said, if seeing each other at the alter is the best decision for you, that is totally okay! When I work with couple who don’t choose a first look, we make sure the ceremony time is set appropriately so you still receive the most important portraits in your gallery!
Ashleigh Grzybowski is a Wedding Photographer based in Columbus, Ohio and serving couples across Ohio. Ashleigh specializes in producing timeless, high quality imagery for kind-hearted couples who desire a warm, boutique experience honoring their life-long commitment and legacy.