We all love to see the groom boohooing as he sees his bride walking down the aisle for the first time; and being from Arkansas, I am all about traditions and the wedding day superstitions. However, as I have spent the last 5 years photographing and videoing weddings I have seen that there is another option that may just be better.

Choosing to do a first look over waiting until the aisle can have several benefits on your wedding day; a lot of which us photographers love. Having the first look before the ceremony will give photographers a chance to take all of the pictures of the bridal party all at once instead of hustling to get them done after the ceremony. Usually if there is not a first look we will have to do all of the groomsmen pictures, and then all of the bridesmaids pictures, and then wait until after the ceremony and do the full bridal party photos. If we have a first look in the middle of the day we basically get all of the bridal party pictures out of the way and then have more time to do the couples photos or even more bridal party photos after the ceremony. The only downfall to taking all of the photos mid day prior to the ceremony is that there is usually harsh sunlight for photographers to have to work around.

The second benefit to doing a first look is this time gives us photographers and videographers and awesome little moment with just the bride and groom and this time always makes for good photo and video. Couples will often times have their most tangible emotions showing during this time of seeing each other for the first time in such an intimate way. This is also a really good time to share handwritten letters or vows that make and this makes for some great audio for the video.

Finally, taking the time to do a first look; in my experience has a tendency to make the timeline for the day go much more smoothly. When there is a first look worked into a wedding day timeline we don't have to play guessing games about the lighting after the ceremony or have to worry about family photos running too long and leaving it too dark for perfect bridal party and couple photos. Months ahead of the wedding you can simply add to the timeline something like "first look at 2:00pm... bridal party photos 2:30pm" as opposed to planning to shoot them after the ceremony the usually has a variety of problems.

Of course I encourage all couples to sit down with their photographers and planners what is best and to ultimately do what will make you happy on your wedding day, but I figured I would share an opinion on why you should do a first look.