Telluride First Look: Pros and Cons

Is a Telluride first look right for you? Planning a Telluride wedding can be overwhelming. Figuring out your timeline, logistics, is enough to make your head spin. I’m here to help you and your fiancé see if the first look is right for you. While the time honored practice of not seeing your beloved until you’re walking down the aisle is a good luck superstition that many stick with. Others are wanting to ease their wedding day nerves and make sure they actually get a cocktail hour. Here are the pros and cons of doing a Telluride wedding first look.

What is a first look at a wedding?

Let me start by defining a “first look”. A first look is a moment before the ceremony where the couple sees each other for the first time on their wedding day. It is usually pre-arranged, in a private place away from family and friends to capture that moment just for them. This special time allows you to take in the moment with just the two of you.

mountain village Telluride first look on elk pond

Wedding First Look : The Pros

While I’m going to give you Pros and Cons to a Telluride first look. This decision is completely up to you two. I’m game for anything. Nor am I trying to persuade you one way or the other. I want to give you the facts so you can make an educated decision that’s right for the two of you!

If you’re nervous or have an anxious personality, having a first look is a great way to ease that feeling. It’s a great decision for couples who want to spend some quiet time together before the ceremony. It gives you a moment before the day officially starts to connect with one another and take a deep breath. You’ll get some privacy.

San Sophia Overlook first look

It’s a whirlwind once your guests arrive and having a first look gives you and your partner a few moments together before all of your family and friends surround you.

San Sophia Overlook first look

A wedding is an intimate and emotional experience, and a first look means I can capture a couple together in that moment. Yes, walking down the aisle is emotional too, but you’re not together in those photos. Get the best of both worlds.

bride and groom see each other before their ceremony at San Sophia
bride and groom see each other before their ceremony at San Sophia

A first look definitely doesn’t spoil the ceremony. You will be overwhelmed with emotion no matter what, so if you want to see your partner then don’t skip it!

Telluride First Look at San Sophia overlook

Practicality can’t be ignored. A first look enables you to take a lot of your photos before the ceremony, so you can get to the cocktail hour and your reception sooner.

Telluride First Look at San Sophia Overlook before their Telluride wedding.  Photographed by Telluride wedding photographer Real Life Photographs
Telluride First Look at San Sophia Overlook before their Telluride wedding.  Photographed by Telluride wedding photographer Real Life Photographs

Especially here in Telluride, my couples usually want to hit up a couple of different locations before their ceremony and reception. After all that is one of the reason why you chose to get married here, right? The beautiful and magical scenery!!?! The first look allows us to build that time into your timeline so we can travel to the places you want to go to. Capturing those special places without having anyone wait on you!

Telluride First Look at San Sophia Overlook before their Telluride wedding.  Photographed by Telluride wedding photographer Real Life Photographs

Something to consider is if you’re wearing a veil. Leave it out for the first look and add it in for the ceremony. It makes for a fun surprise for your partner!

couple walks hand in hand at the top of Coonskin run on the Telluride ski area just moments after their first look

Plan another escape at sunset. It’s nice to sneak away for 5-10 minutes during your reception at sunset with a glass of bubbles! Enjoy some more alone time and celebrate the fact that you’re married! The photos will be killer and you won’t regret some more alone time.

Telluride wedding photographer real life photographs takes a shot of a bride and groom at sunset in Telluride

Are you Planning a Telluride Winter Wedding?

If you’re having a winter ceremony, a first look could be critical for you. Unless you’re getting married in the morning. The sun goes down in Telluride during the winter months around 4pm and you will want some photographs during the day light. Planning a first look will allow you to capture the natural beauty of your surroundings. Which is why you chose Telluride in the first place, eh? Plus, we’ll take care of your family and bridal party photos before hand, allowing the photographs after your wedding to be dedicated to the two of you at sunset! Giving you more time to spend with your friends and family. Plus, you and your guests will also be a little warmer during the daylight hours 🙂

San Sophia Overlook Telluride winter Wedding

Wedding First Look : The Cons

telluride wedding first look where the groom approached the bride.

One con to a first look is that you will need to get up and ready earlier in the day. Because of scheduling and perhaps a couple location changes for photos, you may need to be all done up well in advance of the ceremony.

Telluride wedding couple have their first look before their San Sophia Overlook wedding

Parents, wedding party and guests will not be able to share in the moment of you and your spouse seeing each other for the first time. This is probably the biggest deciding factor for most brides. They simply can’t picture their day any other way. And that’s totally fine :). If you’d like, you can always include them in the Telluride first look.

a couple have their first look in the town of Telluride.

You wedding dress could get dirty on the bottom. Depending on the location and weather, a remote first look location opens up the possibility of your gown getting dirty before the ceremony. Remember though, you are in the Rocky Mountains and you chose this location for a reason. After 15 years of photographing weddings here, there hasn’t been an overly dirty dress. If you’re looking at having your photographs taken on Main Street(Colorado Ave) in Telluride, this is probably the biggest culprit for the bottom of your dress getting dirty– But even still, it’s not that bad. Nobody is looking at the bottom of your dress they’re looking at how beautiful you are!

You will most likely need a retouch of makeup and possibly hair afterwards. Most people can’t predict their emotions and it can bring on a whirlwind of emotion and happy tears.

a couple embrace in the middle of winter at the Telluride Tempter House during their first look.

Alternative First Look Options

If you choose not to have a first look, there are still ways to recreate the moment without taking away from your walk down the aisle.

Some couples will opt for a “first touch”. This is where a couple meets up on the other side of a wall or a door frame. They are still able to speak to one another or even hold hands but they can’t see each other. This is also a great time to read hand written notes to each other.

Have a father-daughter first look, a son-mother or a daughter-mother or any other combo that is special to you. These can bee just as emotional. As it’s the last time before he/she gets married.

A bridal party first look is a fun twist to the idea. Or a bridesmaid first look. This tends to be more exciting than emotional, but make for great photos, nonetheless.

A different option or fun alternative is to have the groom or one of you remain blindfolded the whole time. You still will enjoy all the benefits of the first look but you will still be able to preserve the tradition of having your partner see you for the first time as you walk down the aisle.

Ultimately, the first look is up to you and your significant other. After reading the pros and cons above, I hope that you have more information to help you make a better informed decision.

First Look Questions

Where is the best place to have a first look?

The best place to have a first look is a place that has privacy and good lighting for photos. A remote location, with a beautiful back drop or a place with shade, if it’s the middle of summer and day (we want you to stay comfortable). A place that’s not visible to outsiders and where there’s minimal distraction is ideal. You want the moment to be as intimate as possible. And for some they want their immediate family around. It’s up to you!

Who should walk out and who should be waiting?

This depends on preferences and location. If the bride needs help getting to the location with her dress, then I’ll help and set her in place and have her partner walk to her. If the Telluride first look is indoors, I may have the bride make her grand entrance while her partner waits.

The Observatory first look at Alta Lakes.  An intimate Telluride elopement
The Observatory first look at Alta Lakes.  An intimate Telluride elopement
The Observatory first look at Alta Lakes.  An intimate Telluride elopement
The Observatory first look at Alta Lakes.  An intimate Telluride elopement
The Observatory first look at Alta Lakes.  An intimate Telluride elopement
The Observatory first look at Alta Lakes.  An intimate Telluride elopement
The Observatory first look at Alta Lakes.  An intimate Telluride elopement

What am I suppose to do during the first look?

Enjoy every bit of the moment! Don’t feel like you have to do anything except enjoy and be present in the moment with your love. If you feel like you need to add an extra element some couples decide to exchange gifts or notes. But simply ENJOY one another!

How long does a first look usually last?

A Telluride first look can last anywhere from 10-30 minutes. There are no rules or timeframes except the one you decide on. Depending on the other locations you’d like to visit before the ceremony will depend on how much extra time we add. But not to worry, I will help you build the perfect timeline!

Whether you decide to do a Telluride first look or not, your wedding day is going to be amazing. Be sure to work with your photographer and/or wedding planner to make the most of your time on your wedding day.

Telluride Fall First Look

Wanting to see more first looks? Check out this stellar Telluride Fall first look at Elk Pond in Mountain Village.

Telluride Wedding Photographer

I photographed my first Telluride wedding in 2005 on film. Can you believe that?!! And I’ve been hooked ever since. Averaging 15-20 weddings per year. (Ok, I’m not going to lie, I had to use a calculator.) That’s close to 300 weddings since 2005. I also went to a commercial photography school because I wanted to learn lighting. Knowing how to light everything from food, people, fashion and architecture come into play at a wedding. Plus, Colorado can have some harsh lighting conditions with all of the sun! And on the flip side, snow is just as tricky! I know how to put you at ease in front of the camera and will capture your day the way you want it to play out! Providing you and yours beautiful images that will last forever.

winter Telluride wedding photographer Real life Photographs documents a couple in the snow.

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Thank you very much for taking the time to stop by the blog. Because you’re still reading means you’re into my work. I’m truly blessed to do what I love for a living. I appreciate your time checking out this article on “Is the Telluride first look right for you”. Whether you’re getting married in Telluride or somewhere else in the world. I look forward to hearing from you.  To find out more information on how to create natural looking photographs.  Please call me 970.275.5637 or connect here. Connect Today

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Real Life Photographs has simplified the process to wedding photography. Once we’ve connected and I have your date free. Real Life Photographs will walk you through every step. How to be comfortable in front of the camera and the photography planning process. We’ve got your back through the whole process!

bride and groom sign in Telluride Colorado

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