THE “FIRST LOOK” – TABOO OR TO-DIE-FOR?
What is this whole ”first look” concept and why is my photographer recommending it?! Well, here it is……
What IS a First Look??
A First Look is when a bride and groom see each other before the wedding ceremony. This is done alone, away from your wedding party, and it is a moment shared by just the two of you.
After being in wedding photography business for years, we have a lot of Pros about the First Look and not too many Cons.
1) It is WAY more romantic when you see each other for the first time ALONE and not along with every single guest that you invited.
2) Our brides & grooms who see each other before hand are MUCH more relaxed when they are ready to walk down the aisle. The focus is on enjoying the ceremony instead of focused on “Tell him to turn around, I’m coming… oh no! Did he see me?!”
3) Your hair & make-up looks BEST at the beginning of the day
4) You get all of your CREATIVE photos done before the ceremony and can enjoy your cocktail hour right after the formal shots of immediate family is done… who doesn’t love cocktail hour?!
Read on for more detailed questions, answers and reasoning…
Isn’t it bad luck for the Bride & Groom to see each other before the ceremony??
This one came about back when brides were considered property of their fathers and marriages were arranged. Often the groom had NEVER seen the bride beforehand and if he caught a glimpse of her and did not like what he saw, the marriage was off. (Ouch) Thus it became “bad luck”. This is also where other traditions like the veil come from. So, if you are nervous about him running at the sight of you, a First Look is probably not for you.
“But I really want him to have “that look” when he sees me walking down the aisle.”
This sounds good in theory, but we can tell you from attending weddings for a living that often times all the groom is thinking as the bride walks down the aisle is… “Try not to pass out, try not to pass out, try not to pa…..” This is countered by the bride thinking, “Try not to trip on my dress, try not to trip on my dress, try not to trip on my dress.” Did we mention there are also anywhere form 100-400 people staring at both of you? Seeing each other alone beforehand is a MUCH more natural and genuine interaction. This gives him a chance to say what he is thinking about how beautiful you look. It gives you a chance to tear up a bit and not feel like you are ruining your make up in front of the world. It gives both of you a chance to really reflect and just sit in the moment of your day. Believe us, he will say things to you that you will never forget. Those minutes together may end up being your favorite part of the day. Then, when you do walk down the aisle you both still experience the realness of what’s happening, but the stress and anxiety has been removed.
Benefits of a First Look
It gives the two of you time to hang out ALONE at your wedding. There are plenty of people who want to see you, timelines to stay on, and sometimes things get behind schedule. By seeing each other before hand, you ensure that you have time with the most important person in your life, on the most important day of your life. I have NEVER seen a couple who waited to see each other have time alone on their wedding day. Go back and read that last sentence. Seriously, it’s crazy to think about, but someone is always with them, either their parent, a bridesmaid or a planner. Our favorite part of First Looks is when we leave you guys alone for a bit. You talk, relax, and remember that all the crazy wedding shenanigans are trivial compared to the person standing in front of you. There is something so intimate and powerful about seeing a bride and groom talking and laughing alone moments away from their wedding vows. We love it!
BETTER / MORE PHOTOS
So, FINALLY, we get to talk about our part in this whole thing. The photos. A few quick thoughts:
First of all, most couples get married in the afternoon/evening. This means that by the time the ceremony is done and everyone has hugged a bit, there is only about 10-30 minutes of “good light” left in a day. If we just wanted a few shots of the two of you this would not be a problem, but we still have to get you guys with your side of the family, his side of the family, grandparents, that crazy aunt who insists on having a picture of the 3 girls together. Needless to say people start getting shuffled around like cattle and, rather than everyone enjoying the process, it feels like we are all in trouble and the clock is ticking away.
Second, and this is HUGE:
You actually get MORE photos of the two of you when you choose to see each other beforehand. This is not intentional, it’s just the reality of the day. Less time together means less photos together. The time before the ceremony is the only time when we go out to some beautiful locations and create those Epic shots that end up hanging on your walls.
More time to party like a rock star on YOUR wedding day!
One of the bonus benefits of having a First Look is it allows us to get all of those family formals we all love done before or right after the ceremony. Again, everyone is relaxed and enjoying the process rather than feeling rushed.
From the Groom’s point of view
An opinion from a man about a wedding? Really? Ladies, you should jump all over this.
OK, in all seriousness, when considering doing a First Look, the first person you should talk to about this is your fiance’. We know that often times guys will just give the standard “whatever” answer to some of your wedding questions. However, this does not mean that they necessarily want to be absent from the planning process. Just because it’s confusing, does not mean they want to be left out. Certain guys will be more into specific decisions. Your groom may really care about what car you leave in, someone else might care about the color of the tuxes, but one thing EVERY groom wants is to not be stressed out and to spend time with his bride on the wedding day.
So, how can we make that happen? We are so glad you asked.
The one thing we hear grooms say over and over is how glad they are they choose to see their bride before the ceremony. It calms everyone’s nerves, makes the photography process something they enjoy, rather than something they are exhausted for. And, it gives you two quality time alone on a day when hundreds of people are pulling you in every direction.
Did you catch the theme there girls? He WANTS to see you on your wedding day! He wants to spend time with you, hold you, and he wants to do it in a “safe” environment; one without strangers, your mom, or even his groomsmen staring at him. If you have ever seen wedding photos where the groom looks scared to death, it’s because he is. He’s not scared of getting married. He’s scared of saying the wrong thing, stepping on your dress, etc.
Having a First Look is like a time to stop, slow down, and catch your breath. Then you guys go out TOGETHER and take on the rest of the day. Suddenly everything is a bit easier. You have each other to help stay relaxed, you both know what’s happening and where to go. It’s almost like the wedding becomes “real” at that point.