Let me preface this by saying… my couples are split down the middle. About half of them choose to keep it traditional and wait for the first time to see each other to be at the moment she walks down the aisle, and the other half choose to share a few intimate moments before the ceremony to see each other for the first time. Either way, there is magic in what you choose for your day. Because it is YOUR day!
Let’s back up for a second, what is a first look? This not-so-new trend to the wedding industry of staging a “first look” between the bride and groom on the wedding day, before the ceremony starts. These are sweet, intimate moments that you can spend with your significant other before the festivities begin.
There are a lot of reasons that I recommend doing a first look for your wedding day! However, keep in mind, no wedding day is made the same. Every couple should discuss their preferences with each other and make the best decision for them.
Timing : This is the most practical reason, as it allows for couples to plan exact times throughout the day and spend more time after the ceremony with their guests. With doing a first look, your cocktail hour will actually be for you and not just for your guests while you take pictures! We will be able to build the timeline for taking most of the pictures prior to the ceremony and get the party started early on in the evening! It is critical to get your bridals done before sunset, so getting the majority of the pictures done with bridal party and family before the ceremony can allow for us to save the best lighting time of the day for the pictures of just you and your partner, and not feel rushed at any time during the celebration. Of course, couples should make this decision based on more than just the practicality of it, so were are a few more reasons.
Ease those wedding day jitters! Many of my couples have butterflies on their wedding day and have a hard time settling these nerves! Seeing your significant other can ease these jitters and allow you to relax for the remaining time before your wedding ceremony begins. Another thing, is if you are emotional – like me – you may get those nerves settled before you walk down the aisle! Don’t worry though, many of my couples have said that they ended up feeling all the jitters come back up when they walked down the aisle as well. I’ve never had a couple regret their first look experience, it gave them time before the day had officially started to connect and take a breath. Seeing your soon-to-be spouse will definitely not spoil any surprise, so if you want to see your partner, don’t skip it!
Intimate experience : Can I get a “heck yeah” for privacy! If you are anything like me, center of attention makes me a little nervous, and my love language is definitely celebrating in private. This moment is so intimate, which is why I recommend to every couple of mine to share this first look alone together – I don’t count! It is one of the only moments that you will get alone on your wedding day, so take advantage of it! It’s a sweet touch to share your vows during this time as well, as it will just be a time to share with each other. Then during the ceremony, you can share them again or repeat your vows that you’ve chosen with your officiant.
Personalized : Your photographer can make this moment personalized so your magic can shine through! Doing a first look beforehand, can take all the weight off when your guests are anticipating the groom’s reaction. Many grooms are private with their emotions and can feel more able to share them if they are in a place where they feel safe. First looks don’t have to be when he turns around and sees her, they can be shared from opposite sides of the wall or door, walking into a room, etc. Working closely with your photographer will allow you to make whatever you want it to be.
If you’re a traditional, its OKAY to skip the first look. There is nothing like standing at the front of the ceremony waiting for your bride-to-be to emerge from the doorway or aisle. If you want to wait, you absolutely should. In case anyone asks, it’s YOUR wedding day!
Timing works both ways though, you may have to change up the timeline to allow for time and transportation for the first look beforehand. This means being up and going earlier in the day and planning to be ready earlier in the day. This time can be built into your timeline with your wedding coordinator and photographer to make it happen!
It may not feel as private as you want. Although I say that I don’t count, I am there, along with sometimes your coordinator or planner, videographer and any other guests you allow to watch. I always recommend not bringing a whole entourage with you, but people can try to congregate and build pressure to be an elaborate first look reaction. It doesn’t have to be, allow yourselves to spend time together. My resolution for this? I’ll often times leave you two, after getting a few initial pictures, to spend a few minutes together and enjoy it. Your day will go by so fast, so you should spend a few moments alone.
Keep in mind, the magic in the day is your love and every moment you see your partner, no matter when it is.
And a secondary idea of a first look, doing a first look with the bride’s dad. This is always an emotional moment during the days and one worth photographing!