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        Let me get this out of the way from the get-go: doing a first look is 150% your choice. If you love the idea and think it’s something you’d really want, THEN DO IT and don’t let anyone talk you out of it! On the other hand, if you’ve always dreamt of the traditional aisle walk where you see your husband for the first time with your family and friends to witness, then do that! There is no right or wrong answer. This is your wedding day, and you should go about it as you’d love. So if you’re wondering, “Should I do a First Look?” I’d say let’s look at the reasons for doing one, and see if it will work for you!

        But first, in case you have no idea what a first look is:

        A first look is when you dedicate around 15-30 minutes to see your soon-to-be husband/wife before the ceremony. It’s a private time to see your person and to enjoy a few moments together before your “I Do’s.”

        Bride and groom first look, image by Fatima Elreda Photo

        1. Doing a First Look could allow your timeline to breathe

        Emotions aside, a logistical reason to do a first look is that it allows a lot more to be done before the ceremony even begins. For example, after your first look you can go directly into the family and bridal party photos! With circumstances like this, you can focus on your bridal portraits during cocktail hour. This gives you time to mingle with your guests if you wanted to afterwards. AND allows for more photos; first look portraits and sunset bridals after the ceremony.

        WITH THIS SAID, if you have a small family list of photos we can still absolutely get them done with plenty of time left for your bridal portraits.

        2. Settle Your Nerves

        All of my brides and grooms who’ve done a first-look say it does not take away from the walk down the aisle! So let’s take that myth and throw it away. Either way, there will be an overwhelming amount of emotions! How and where you want these emotions to come out is absolutely up to you. And just because they come out in the first-look doesn’t mean they won’t also come out on the aisle.

        A first-look can be a time for you to calm your nerves with your partner before the day officially begins. It gives you more time together too. And, if you’re the nervous type who might just be way too overwhelmed with a group of people looking at you to feel like you can show your emotions, a first-look might just be the perfect option for you!

        I photographed a 3-year anniversary recently and the couple wore their wedding clothes. We went to the beach to read their love-letters to each other. As we walked to the spot the bride told me the groom didn’t cry on their wedding day when she walked down the aisle. He explained he was way too nervous with all the people. BUT GUESS WHAT! In this more intimate setting, he cried while reading his love letter. It was was so intimate that he felt comfortable doing so.

        Bride and groom portrait at Wattles Mansion and Gardens Wedding, image by Fatima Elreda Photo

        3. Be Present during the Ceremony

        With the nerves out of the way, you can truly enjoy and take-in what’s being said in the ceremony. This is the very beginning of your day and here you are, all in! A lot of the times, I hear that my bride and groom were trying so hard to be present but everything just felt like a blur. The words came in and out, they weren’t really fully there. Too mesmerized and emotionally filled with every ounce of the moment. This can be both a beautiful thing and something you might not entirely want!

        4. Getting Married in Winter vs. Summer

        If you’re having a winter wedding, I would personally suggest doing a first look. After your winter day ceremony there will be minimal amount of light left (assuming you do it near sunset time)! This causes a very tight timeline to take the next set of photos! The sun may set before we get through all of your family photos, bridal party photos, and your bridal portraits!

        On the other hand, if you are having a summer wedding day then a first look mid-day might not be ideal if you don’t have a shady spot available! If there are trees around, an indoor area, or shade, let’s do it!! This is something to think about only if your focus is on the photos. If your reasons are instead based on everything else that a first look may offer you, then ignore this suggestion!

        Okay moral of the story: it is your wedding day and you should do whatever your heart pulls you to do. There is not a right or wrong answer. Should you do a first look? That is 100% up to you! But, I hope I gave you the right tools to help you decide!

        On another note, if you’d like to reach out to talk about me photographing your wedding day, whether you decide to do a first look or not, reach out by clicking the button below, or scrolling to the end. I can’t wait to talk to you!

        Fatima Elreda Photo, Self Portrait

        Thank You for Stopping By!

        I am a professional wedding photographer based in Southern California. And I’ll go everywhere your love story takes you, whether your wedding is in Scotland, your backyard, or a venue down the street, it’s all worthwhile to me. 

        Connection is Important

        Knowing who you are, and truly whole-heartedly liking YOU is so important to me! I love all my couples and can’t imagine approaching photography in any other way. This tremendously helps me photograph your love and personality more honestly.

        I Am Your Storyteller

        I will provide you with an unforgettable experience and top notch quality images that will last a life time, long after every moment has passed. My intention is to take you back to the feelings in your images even years after you’ve forgotten the details. Trust me to photograph the moments you’re going to tell for generations to come. 

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