One of the biggest questions I get asked is, "How important is a first look?"
Having a great timeline of your wedding day is the biggest piece to insuring your wedding day goes smoothly. I never want couples to feel rushed around or stressed out during their wedding portrait time. So the answer to the question is mostly dependent on your timeline. If your ceremony is at dusk and there will be limited sunlight afterwards, I highly recommend a first look. If portraits of you and your fiancé are a big priority for you, I also recommend a first look. Doing all the portraits after the ceremony will shorten the time you have for each set of photos. That doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't do it, it is just good to be aware beforehand!
If I have a first look, will I miss out on that emotional moment walking down the aisle?
No! Even if you have a first look, there's still nothing like that moment when you see each other down the aisle.
What can we do to make our first look more special?
Some people take time to give each other gifts or letters or to have a moment alone. For many people, having that quiet moment together helps calm their nerves before the whirlwind of the ceremony and reception begin.
What if we decide to forego the first look?
Totally cool! Simply make sure you plan your ceremony for 2 hours before the sun sets to make sure we have plenty of daylight for portraits afterwards. Having a cocktail hour for your guests will help keep everyone happy and comfortable while you're doing your portraits. Have a plan with your photographer for if it rains or if it gets dark early or if you plan on taking portraits after dark, make sure your photographer is skilled at off-camera lighting.
Either way, make the decision that feels right to the two of you! You know your personalities and which traditions you want to honor- and your photographer and planner will help you pull off your wedding the way you envision!