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First Look, Reach-Around™, or Neither: What’s Best for You?

Whether your wedding is all traditional, all contemporary, or somewhere in between, you’ll be faced with a decision. If you choose us as your photographers (wink, wink), that decision will be about your preference on a First Look, a Reach-Around™, or neither.

We’re fans of one of the first two, because through the photos we’ll take, it helps tell a story for your day. It also provides us the opportunity to present you with even more variety in images for the day. Below, we run through some of the pros and cons for the First Look, the Reach-Around™, or neither.

First Look

What is it?

If you’re even slightly interested in Pinterest, you’re probably familiar with this concept. After you’re both totally ready and before the ceremony, you’re set up to reveal your sizzling selves to one another. And with two photographers (hint, hint), we capture your simultaneous and respective reactions to one another.

Bride approaches groom for First Look for Colorado Springs destination weddingGroom prepares to see bride before destination wedding ceremony at Rock Ledge RanchGroom sees bride for First Look at Colorado Springs destination weddingGroom and bride hug during First Look at Rock Ledge Ranch

Pros
  • Allows for more photos — A First Look allows for additional photos to tell the story of your day. Specifically, this can provide the option to set up more grand photos of you and your future spouse.
  • Provides an intimate setting for such an emotional moment — With a First Look, you’re seeing each other’s reactions in a more personal setting, versus at either end of the aisle.
  • Gets you to the party faster — When you do a First Look, you have the ability to schedule all of your family formals (or even just a majority of your wedding party photos) before the ceremony, which means that less time needs to be devoted to those photos during cocktail hour. Woop!

Groom turns around for First Look at bride at Charleston destination weddingGroom turns around for First Look with bride at Magnolia Plantation weddingGroom hugs bride during First Look at Magnolia Plantation weddingBride and groom hug during First Look at Charleston destination wedding

Cons
  • Isn’t traditional — If you’re interested in maintaining complete tradition with your wedding day, this won’t get the job done.
  • Requires about 30-45 minutes prior to ceremony — Keep in mind that you’ll want to set aside time for this moment in your timeline. (Something that we’ll definitely help you build!)
  • Requires semi-private location — Certain venues simply don’t have a picturesque location away from the guests. Luckily, we’re kind of magical at finding locations for a First Look.

Groom prepares to see bride for First Look before wedding ceremony at The Mining ExchangeGroom turns around for first look with bride at The Mining ExchangeGroom hugs bride during First Look at The Mining Exchange weddingBride and groom kiss during First Look at The Mining Exchange

Reach-Around™

What is it?

Well, that depends on your interwebs search history and mental maturity (we totally giggle when we talk about it). However, when it comes to our photography, it’s an opportunity for you and your future spouse to exchange letters or gifts before the ceremony, yet still maintain the tradition of not seeing one another.

You’ll each be placed on either side of a corner, or door, back-to-back, or one or both of you can be blindfolded. During those few minutes, you can hold hands, exchange gifts, and have a few minutes with one another before the ceremony.

Bride giddily approaches groom for Reach-Around at Spruce Mountain Lodge weddingBride approaches blindfolded groom for Reach-Around at Spruce Mountain Ranch weddingBride hugs groom from behind for Reach-Around at Spruce Mountain Ranch weddingBride covers groom

Pros
  • Allows for more photos — Like the First Look, the Reach-Around™ is photographed, which means your album will be inclusive of this piece of your day, and you’ll have more emotion-invoking moments to look back on for years to come.
  • Honors tradition — If you want the first moment you actually see each other to be during the processional, this is kind of a best-of-both-worlds arrangement. Side note: who would’ve thought that a reach-around would honor tradition?!
  • Lots of versatility with setup — With almost any venue, the Reach-Around™ can work. A simple corner outdoors, a door inside, or even a small area where you can stand back-to-back will work.

Bride and groom standing on either side of rock wall corner for Reach-Around at The Lodge at Cathedral Pines weddingBride and groom hold hands around corner for Reach-Around at The Lodge at Cathedral Pines weddingBride and groom stand back-to-back for Reach-Around at The Lodge at Cathedral Pines

Cons
  • Doesn’t allow for family formals before ceremony — Combined wedding party and family formal photos will need to be scheduled after the ceremony, so if you’re interested in being involved in your cocktail hour, this may not be for you.
  • Requires about 30-45 minutes prior to ceremony — Whether you choose this or the First Look, it’ll take a few minutes to complete, but we definitely can assist in setting up your timeline!

Bride cries during Reach-Around at The Loft weddingBride reacts to groom playing gifted guitar during Reach-Around at The Loft weddingBride reads letter from groom during Reach-Around at The Loft wedding

Neither

What is it?

It’s lame. That’s what it is.

Pros
  • Literally none. Don’t choose this option.
Cons
  • Literally everything. Don’t choose this option.

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