The First Look. Most brides either love the idea or hate the idea. The decision to “look or not to look” is a very personal one, but I thought I would shed some light on the subject from both the photographer’s and the bride’s prospective. In case you’re not sure, the first look is when the bride & groom see one another before the wedding ceremony. Usually the photographer has chosen a picture perfect spot for the first look and captures the joy & excitement that the couple experiences in those first moments.
Let me be clear, I am very PRO-first looks. I truly believe that it is SO beneficial to the both the bride and groom and the photographer. Not to mention for the flow of the day. Here are some of the reasons why you might consider a first look.
Your wedding day will be a whirlwind, no doubt. With a first look, you get to orchestrate an intimate time for the two of you to really admire one another. You get to do things on a first look that you wouldn’t get to do when you just walk down the aisle: like talk to each other, hug for 5 minutes straight, or even jump up n’ down with your “oh my gooosssh we’re getting married” giddiness. In fact these may be the only quite moments the two of you get alone together the whole day. The biggest reason why a bride doesn’t do a first look is because she thinks that it won’t be as special when she walks down the aisle. Honestly, nothing will ever take away from that moment. Even if your groom has already seen you in your gown, he’s never seen his bride walk toward him to become his wife. There’s nothing else like it. And you’ll see it in his eyes. Guaranteed.
As a photographer I think first look photos are some of the best from the entire day. The emotion is so raw and real. It’s unbelievable. From there we go right into the couples “romance shots”. Taking that time before the ceremony to do photos allows for so much freedom and flow for the rest of the day. Think of it as “insurance”. More often than not, things don’t run exactly on schedule on a wedding day. Say your ceremony starts a little late, then family portraits run behind because no one can find Uncle Jim, leaving you with only 20 minutes before the sunsets which means not much time for photos. Nothing makes me sadder on a wedding day, than when we have to rush through a couples’ romance shots. These are the most important images of the day. These are the ones that you will display on your wall, the ones you will look through a million times and the ones you will use as your profile pic! You don’t want to risk not having enough! And if the day is running smoothly and you’ve done a first look, well then you just have time to relax and hang out with your guest at the cocktail hour – which is always a good thing!
Lastly, (and I hope this doesn’t sound vain) but you’ll be the most “photo-ready” if you do photos beforehand. Think about, you’ve just gotten your hair & make-up done, your lipgloss is fresh, and every hair is in the right place. Let’s be honest, every bride wants to look extra GLAM on her wedding day. And while you certainly will be the entire day, you’ll be the most stellar right after everything is fresh. The more beautiful you feel, the more confident you will feel in front of the camera.
Again, a First Look is not the traditional thing and ultimately the choice is yours. If a First Look isn’t your cup of tea, that’s totally fine. However, if you’re open to it or have been considering it, I say DO it! I have never had a bride who has done it later wish that she hadn’t.
Confession: When my husband and I got married (almost 12 years ago, that’s right I’m old) we did a First Look and it was awesome! He was less than thrilled with the idea of standing alone on a stage with 200 people staring at him while he waited on me to walk down the aisle. So we did a mini walk through an hour and a half before the ceremony and I’m so glad we did. When I saw Kyle for the first time that day I didn’t want to walk slowly down the aisle, rest my hand on his arm and turn toward the officiant. I wanted to run up to him give him a big hug and a kiss and cry (a little-that’s what waterproof mascara is for)!
I’m so glad I got to be silly and emotional in private – and not in front of everyone we invited to the wedding. And when I walked down the aisle for real it was still special. The difference was the look of abject terror in his eyes was replaced by a knowing smile. A big “yeah, that’s my wife and we’re getting married smile”, and I was able to maintain a mild speed walk down the aisle.
Here are some first look shots from Adrienne and Eric’s wedding. See what I mean?? Priceless images!