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"First Look" for your City Hall Wedding?

Of course this is always the question an engaged couple has when they are planning for their wedding. Are we going to see each other before the ceremony? There are so many factors to consider when attempting to make this fairly important decision. Let's take one of the factors off the table right away... Luck. Bad luck or good luck should not be one of the considerations a bride and groom use to make this decision. It is because I don't personally believe in luck? No, this has nothing to do with it. The thought is that it's bad luck for the bride to be seen before the wedding.

In fact, this belief stems from 18th century pre-arranged marriages. How does this have anything to do with 21st century weddings? The answer is, it doesn't! This practice begun because people were afraid that the groom might back out of the wedding if he saw the bride just beforehand. I am not sure what this has to do with luck, but I do know that it is an outdated practice with no relevancy to today's world. Our brides and grooms at San Francisco city hall all know each other before the wedding so there is no chance that seeing each other on their wedding day is going to suddenly make one of them change their mind. However, there are some valid points to think about when making this decision. Let's discuss them below.

First Look for City Hall Wedding Photography in San Francisco

City Hall Wedding First Look - Why?

Please keep in mind that this is an opinion article and there may be some pro wedding photography bias involved. For a typical San Francisco city hall wedding photographer, it's nice to be able to help the couple create the First Look and then go right into wedding photography before the ceremony. Taking the couple around the building for wedding pictures beforehand eliminates many distractions that could adversely affect the quality of the pictures as opposed to doing photos after. One of these major distractions are the guests. Chances are, if we do the photo session before the wedding, it will just be the bride, the groom and the photographers. This allows everyone to be more focused on completing the wedding photography in a creative way with no distractions. Here is a list of all of the reasons that staging a First Look at your San Francisco city hall wedding is a good idea:

Advantages of First Look

  • Its a very nice and dramatic way for the Groom to see the Bride in her dress for the first time
  • Hair, make-up, and flowers are all nice and fresh at the start of the day for the photography
  • It allows the couple to complete most of their formal wedding photography before the ceremony
  • Pre-ceremony wedding photography helps keep the couple focused on the pictures and not the guests
  • Your guests do not have to wait an hour or more for the wedding pictures to be completed
  • More time to spend with your guests at the wedding and reception - Photos mostly done
  • Makes timing for the after-party or wedding reception easier to predict

Disadvantages of First Look

  • Some Couples might be nervous during the photo shoot because of future ceremony
  • Everyone has to get to San Francisco city hall about 1.5 hours before they normally would
  • Couple might be a little tired for their ceremony after spending time taking pictures
  • Some feel that it makes the ceremony a little anti-climatic

First Look hug at San Francisco city hall wedding

Ceremony After The First Look

I really do not agree that the ceremony is adversely affected in any way by having previously done a First Look or "Reveal". I have never witnessed any less emotion during the ceremony. In fact, if anything it seems to enhance things. Things seem to build on the wedding day from start to finish with or without a First Look. But doing the reveal prior to the ceremony will pay off in terms of making the photo shoot much less stressful and not rushed. It also makes the caterers and guests happy because the bride and groom are ready sooner. Not that this matters to most, but having a First Look takes some of the pressure and criticism off of the wedding photographer. Everyone tends to blame the photographer when the formal wedding pictures take too long. Another reason to get the photo shoot out of the way earlier!

What the Bride and Groom Want Matters Most

As your San Francisco city hall wedding photographer, I do have a slight preference towards First Looks. However, I always defer to the wishes of my clients. If I had one slight reservation about First Looks when it comes to Wedding photography is that sometimes the bride and groom do not show as much joy in the photos. As a San Francisco city hall wedding photographer in these situations it is our job to pull that happiness out of them. This may just because they are anticipating the actual wedding and the joy that will certainly follow.

I will happily handle all of your wedding photography needs on your special day, no matter how you choose to organize things. For more information on staging a reveal prior to your San Francisco city hall civil ceremony check out these great ideas on how to do a First Look.

Wedding Photography First Look in San Francisco SF City Hall wedding