Hawaii Wedding Advice

A First Look in Hawaii: Pros & Cons of Seeing Each Other Before the Wedding



Get our Wedding Coordinator Insight into one of the important decisions you’ll make for your Hawaii Wedding Day!

I would say about 75% of our couples now opt for a First Look. This is a pretty significant since not too long ago, the tradition of not seeing the each other before the wedding was fiercely defended. So what is a “first look” and do you want one?

A first look in the wedding world usually means a photoshoot of the bride and groom prior to the wedding ceremony. It is typically orchestrated by the Wedding Coordinator and the Photographer. One person is staged somewhere with a beautiful backdrop and the other is revealed in their wedding attire in a special way.

The purpose of this multi-faceted. First, it allows the couple a crucial opportunity to take additional photos of the two of them before the event giving them an opportunity to socialize a bit more when things get started rather than leaving the cocktail hour for more portraits.

Secondly, it creates a special moment where the couple can actually connect largely by themselves before everyone descends upon them to give their congratulations, etc. It might also mean you have a chance to take photos at a location that would otherwise be too far removed from the wedding location itself.

For example, some of the Big Island resorts are quite large. Your ceremony might be at one end of the property while there is a sweet little secluded beach spot down at the other. You could have your first look at that beach before the ceremony but it might be too much to shuffle all the way there when everything starts to happen.

Once you have both seen each other, you can also go ahead and take additional photos with the wedding party making it unnecessary to gather everyone up during the cocktail hour to line them up for photos. More time to enjoy the fun! Yay! The below gorgeous image was taken by one of our favorite photographers, Keani Bakua!

You might be starting to realize, I’m a big fan of the first look. However, there are some critical drawbacks worth mentioning. The obvious is it takes away the walking down the aisle moment when you see each other for the first time and the emotions starting pouring in. But there is another key drawback – lighting. A first look will usually happen earlier in the day when the lighting in Hawaii can be quite bright.

While its sunny gorgeous weather is one of the hallmarks of Hawaii, for photography, mid-day sun can be harsh. A professional and experienced Hawaii Wedding Photographer will know what spots will work and they usually find a slightly shady or sheltered space that works beautifully. And, a good wedding planner (us!) will also know to make sure you have water and a touch-up kit for your hair and makeup close by. Which brings us to the next potential drawback, things could get emotional! Nothing the touch up kit can’t mitigate but make sure you build in some time to freshen up before the ceremony in case there has been any sweat or tears.

Ultimately, deciding whether to have a first look or not is a personal decision you will have to make as a couple. Either scenario can work just fine and you will still have tons of beautiful photos. It is absolutely essential to decide this early in the process of creating a timeline though as we will make suggestions and plan around either option to make sure you have plenty of time for beautiful photos and whatever your other priorities are for the evening.

If you are a couple that doesn’t want to miss the cocktail hour, the first look is the way to go. If you have always been dreaming of that special moment when you lock eyes on the aisle, then let’s develop a timeline for your day that allows you to have it all. Maybe that is a slightly extended cocktail hour or maybe you sneak away just after dinner starts for a special session. We know how to make it work for you.

A First Look is just one of the important decisions you will need to make about your wedding timeline. There are so many critical factors and nuances that influence a successful wedding timeline. Let us help you with this crucial step by hiring us for your Wedding Planning and Coordination!

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