Should We Do a First Look? Pros and Cons of For Eloping Couples -

Should We Do a First Look? Pros and Cons of For Eloping Couples

Couples Guide, Weddings

January 27, 2022

Nikita Pretty

Eloping is all about letting go of traditions that don’t suit you – and for a lot of couples, the old tradition of not seeing each other until you walk down the aisle just doesn’t make sense! But, there’s still something so special about seeing your soon-to-be spouse for the first time on your wedding day – and as an alternative to hiding until the ceremony (as that’s often not realistic for an elopement), you can do a first look. 

This guide will tell you why I think a first look is a must on your elopement day, and some first look pros and cons to help you decide!

What is a First Look?

But before I get into first look pros and cons, let’s define what a first look actually is.

If you do a first look during your elopement, the two of you will get ready separately. Then, when you’re ready to see each other for the first time, the photographer will set one of you up facing away. The other partner will walk up behind them and tap them on the shoulder, then they turn around and you see each other for the first time! It’s a really sweet moment, and often one of my favorite parts of the elopement day.

First Look Pros

Spoiler alert, I think every couple should do a first look! So for my list of first look pros and cons, let’s start with the pros.

You Get a Private Moment Before the Ceremony

A lot of couples who elope choose to invite a few guests – and while having your loved ones around can make your elopement day so much more meaningful, it can also feel a little overwhelming. I usually recommend doing first looks away from your guests, so that you get a moment alone together. This allows you to really soak in the moment and take time to be present with each other! Then, when you have your ceremony in front of everyone else, it’ll feel a lot more relaxed.

Get the Emotions Out

There are a lot of feelings that come with your elopement day. Excitement, joy, and maybe a little bit of nervousness – and for a lot of couples who are eloping with guests, it can be hard to express those emotions during the ceremony! 

Because the first look gives you some privacy, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable expressing how you feel, and your reaction to seeing your partner for the first time will be much more authentic. A lot of couples say that any anxiety or nervousness they had on their elopement day completely melted away when they saw each other!

Gives You Time for Photos

The authentic emotions that a first look creates make for some amazing photos! And after your first look, you’ll have some time to take couple’s photos before the ceremony. This is a great way to spend some time together, and to capture the moments right after you saw each other for the first time. If you have a lot planned with your guests after the ceremony, getting some photos together before ensures that you won’t have to worry about running out of time later!

Gives You Time for Each Other

Along with having time to take photos, the first look also allows you to have time for anything else you want to plan! Some couples like to exchange letters or gifts, or to surprise their partner with something special before the ceremony. You can use the time before your ceremony however feels right to you!

First Look Cons

While I’m a big fan of first looks, I want you to know that the decision is entirely yours! It may not be the right choice for every couple, so here are some first look cons to consider.

Your Loved Ones Won’t Be Around

For some people, seeing their partner for the first time at the “altar” is more meaningful because your guests are there for that moment. However, you can totally invite them to the first look too! While privacy is one first look pro that a lot of couples love, there are no rules – you can have your first look however feels right to you.

Your Day Starts Earlier

Planning time for a first look requires that you get ready a little earlier – which may be a con for some couples! If you already have an early wake up call, for a sunrise ceremony, a hike, or whatever you have planned for your elopement, waking up even earlier might not sound appealing.

You Can’t Get Ready Together

Some couples who elope feel that getting ready together makes more sense for them, and if that’s the case, a first look may not be for you! Your elopement day is all about deciding what suits you best, so if you want to get ready together, you absolutely can.

Should You Do a First Look?

After reading through these first look pros and cons, have you decided if a first look is right for you? If seeing each other for the first time during your ceremony is a tradition you’d like to keep, that’s totally okay – eloping means you decide what’s important to you on your day, and what isn’t. And if you love the idea of a first look, I’m all for it!

As an elopement photographer, I’ll help you figure out how a first look fits into your day – so contact me to start planning!

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