One of the major topics in planning your wedding day & photography timeline these days is the question of a First Look.
For those of you who don’t know a First Look is a time set up for the Bride & Groom to see one another, prior to the ceremony. This is still a somewhat new idea in wedding photography & has struck a chord here in the South where tradition reigns supreme.
When I was a bride my photographer suggested this & initially I was completely against it. I thought seeing Michael before the ceremony would ruin ‘the moment’ and take away from that first look down the aisle to my hubby to be. No way was I going to chance messing that up, afterall that is ‘my’ moment right?
Well she continued to talk about it & eventually I was won over. Michael & I had a first look on our wedding day & I believe it was one of the best decisions we made. I often share my experience with potential brides but wanted to share it here as well. These are just 3 of the many reasons I encourage my brides to think about. There is certainly no pressure or obligation, its just an option to consider.
1) Privacy – a First Look is private. There is no one around except you, your soon-to-be-spouse & me off in the distance. The location is chosen carefully, prying eyes are kept out & the atmosphere is serene. While I initially thought this would take away from the experience it actually added so much to it. Seeing Michael for the first time alone allowed me to focus completely on him rather than family, friends, decor and any other number of distractions. Its also comforting to know that any emotion displayed isn’t done in front of your 200 closest 😉 I know MANY grooms who are so thankful their first reaction to their beautiful bride is for her alone.
2) Timeline – a First Look creates an uber-smooth wedding day timeline. What it allows for is all portraits to be completed before the ceremony. This includes wedding party & both families. This allows the transition from ceremony to reception to be so much smoother. At the ceremony’s close all the guests can leave. People aren’t scrambling to figure out if they are included in the ‘family photos’ and no one is having to stay behind to give Grandma or Uncle Bob a ride to the reception. Everyone leaves the reception together, there is the option for a grand exit from the ceremony location (great idea if you aren’t having sparklers & your reception ends after dark) & no one is waiting on your photos to be finished before eating. From a photographer’s stand point this is a huge stress reliever, if I get to take all the family portraits beforehand then I have a chance to review them in my downtime & realize if we were missing a cousin, aunt or uncle & get those in a less posed way at the reception.
3) Opportunity – a First Look gives you the opportunity to spend most of your wedding day with your love. Anyone who is married can probably tell you its a super stressful day. Thousands of details come into play & with that many people something is bound to go amiss. This is completely normal for any wedding day but being away from the one you love the most can make it all the more stressful. There came a point on my wedding day where I wasn’t sure I knew why we were doing all this madness. Seeing Michael grounded me. Reminded me why we were here & reiterated the real reason for the madness. It made all the craziness worth it.
Of course there are certainly reasons not to do a first look as well, and they are definitely valid. I present my brides with the pros and cons as well as my personal experience & allow them to choose free from any pressure. My couples are about 50/50 split on a First Look and every couple has their reasons.
If you’re married did you do a first look? How did you feel about it afterward? If you aren’t married yet (but want to be) do you think you’ll want to do a first look when that day comes?