What is a First look & Five reasons why you'll want one | London, Kitchener and Toronto Ontario Wedding Photographer | Dylan & Sandra Photography

What is a First look & Five reasons why you’ll want one

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Why having a first look is so popular

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An Unforgettable Wedding Day Moment

He could feel her presence behind him. Hands together, sweat on his palms, and butterflies in his stomach. This is the moment! He takes a deep breath. He thinks about how he finally gets to call her his bride. All the moments that led up to this very one races through his mind. And then, she calls his name. He turns around, in awe of his beautiful bride. He wipes away his tears–and hers. With so much excitement, anticipation and love flowing through the air, they come together in the most raw, precious embrace they’ve ever shared. 

The most powerful photos are the ones where your guard is down and you can feel your emotions. That’s when you’ll feel most alive. And these photos will be some of the most precious ones you ever own!

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Start here: What is a First Look?

A first look is a modern tradition and is one of the most powerful moments on a wedding day. At some point after your getting ready, you get to see each other before the aisle moment. Away from all the busyness of a wedding day, a first look allows you to connect, reflect, and celebrate, just the two of you! We cannot tell you how sweet it is when he sees you in your dress for the first time, and you get to see just how handsome your sweetie is. Having a first look is really popular because it results in some of the most raw photos on your wedding day. It also have a lot more advantages!

Here are our top five reasons to have a first look!

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1. Just the two of you

Bride and Groom's first look at Victoria Park in Kitchener Ontario during their wedding day by Dylan and Sandra Photography

We are big fans of having a first look. One of the things that makes wedding days so special is that you get to be surrounded by your most favourite family and friends! This also means that on your wedding day, you won’t have a ton of time to be alone with just the two of you. As your photographers, we fade away into the background so you get that incredible window of time to share in the joy of what is about to unfold! 

From a photography standpoint, the first look provides you with some of the most candid, raw and sweetest photos because you are so focused on one another and you can completely let your guard down because it is just you and your spouse. Our couples always love these photos! 

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2. Calm Any Nerves with a first look

Hamilton Ontario Wedding Photos taken by Dylan & Sandra PhotographyFirst looks are an amazing wedding day moment for working out any jitters for the moments to come. Connected, you are a grounding force for each other. You get to share your affections and excitement for the incredible adventure you are about to step into! 

Guys tend to appreciate it because they get to experience bigger emotions as a private intimate moment, rather than in front of everyone at their wedding. When we are getting you both in place for the first look my (Dylan’s) favourite moment is standing with the guy and taking a deep breath together with him. This is your guys big moment, he is super excited, nervous, and all the things! All that to say, it can be really stressful for a guy to have his first look at his bride in front of everyone! 

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3. Your wedding party (and family) will love a first look

Wedding parties love a first look and here’s why. After your first look and some bride and groom portraits, we get your wedding party to come join us and start photographing your wedding party straight away. The bridesmaids love this because the are looking their best and the absolute freshest. They have just finished hair and makeup, they don’t have tired feet from standing during the ceremony in their heals, they aren’t hungry, thirsty or have mascara running from crying during the ceremony. The guys love it because right after the ceremony they can head straight to the bar!

When we are all finished up with the wedding party, we love to take the time to capture some traditional photographs of your immediate family. We keep it to immediate family to give us lots of time to do the larger group photos and then also some smaller “breakouts” before your ceremony. This way we can have group shots of each side and also just you and your mom, or you and your siblings, etc…

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4. Major timeline advantages with a first look

Bride and groom have a soft and special moment together during their portrait session - London Ontario Wedding Photographer - Photo taken in Woodstock Ontario by Dylan Martin Photography

A first look means you get to spend more time together on your wedding day. But the first look also gives you some incredible advantages that unlock your timeline and maximize your time with your photographer. When we do weddings that incorporate a first look, we love to use these timeline advantages because we think they serve you, your family, and closest friends the best!

With a first look, you get to do your wedding party portraits and main family portraits before the ceremony. By this time in your schedule, we are getting pretty close to the ceremony. At this point we send you guys away to rest and retouch before the ceremony, while we capture details of your ceremony setup and guests arriving.

Because the “heavy lifting” for the photographs is done before the ceremony when you incorporate a first look, you won’t need a huge gap between your ceremony and reception! Your cocktail hour can start right away and your family and wedding party – the people most important to you – can immediately start enjoying the party that you have planned! How good is that?

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5. More time with your wedding guests!

While your guests start at the cocktail hour, we will wisp you guys away quickly for about 20-30 minutes to capture some husband and wife photographs. We only need you for a short time for photographs, so you know all those awesome hors d’oeuvres and drinks you picked out? Yeah, you get to enjoy those! Have an aunt, relative or friend you haven’t seen in years you wanted to connect with? Well you get to enjoy most of your cocktail hour, so go be with them! We will capture your reception details while you relax and party!

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And Bonus: 6. More Photos!

We not only love taking photos, we are obsessed with capturing rea, authentic moments. A first look is an emotion-packed moment, and there are lots of little moments and moments in between moments to capture. When you have a first look, as a bonus you get a lot more photos!

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Some considerations for couples who are more traditional

When Sandra and I got married, we had never heard of a first look. Now that we are wedding photographers in London Ontario and have seen many first look moments, if we could go back in time, we would definitely do a first look!!

Let’s be honest though. If Sandra presented the idea of a first look to me for our wedding day, I would have probably been a little hesitant. I am very much a traditionalist and know how incredible the aisle moment is. But, a First Look truly is a completely separate moment, and even enhances the aisle moment. Real talk; I (Dylan) cried during the rehearsal, we weren’t even at the wedding day yet and I was crying. 

Most of the guys end up crying twice on the wedding day, once during the first look and once when the bride comes down the aisle. Some even cry when the bridesmaids start coming down because they know what is coming! Most importantly, a first look is literally one of the only times on your wedding day when you can be alone. You get to just to be present to the joy of your day together. 

So what are your instincts?

We love doing first looks for so many reasons, and the above reasons are our top ones! No matter what you pick – first look or no first look – we love capturing it all! And we’d love to be your photographers and capture all the raw, real moments of your best day ever! Contact us to photograph your wedding day

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More wedding planning resources

To see some weddings where we had first looks, have a look at a few of these blogs:

Pourie & Nick | Elsie Perrin Williams Estate Wedding in London, Ontario

Tonya & Adrian | Polish Italian Wedding at Michelangelos Banquet Hall in Hamilton, Ontario

Kristen & Tom | Kitchener Ontario Intimate Backyard Wedding

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We're Dylan & Sandra. Married photographers, donut lovers, and obsessed with family and our squishy toddler. We're so glad you're here! Grab a drink and stay awhile for classic + joy-filled love stories in and around the GTA, London, Niagara and the best-of wedding advice!  

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