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First Look At Your Wedding

Weddings

February 3, 2021

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What is a first look at a wedding?

If you decide to share a first look at your wedding, you will be choosing to see each other before their wedding ceremony. You may be shocked and wondering, “Isn’t that bad luck?!”. When I first heard about doing a first look at a wedding, I was curious how this trend was gaining in popularity when it is bucking tradition.

The tradition of not seeing your fiance before the wedding ceremony has a less-than-romantic history. When it was common for marriages to be arranged, the bride and groom typically didn’t meet until the day of their wedding. Marriages were more about elevating one’s standing in society, rather than compatibility and love.

Fearful that the groom-to-be may see his bride and find her unattractive, thus calling off the wedding, the fathers of the bride wouldn’t allow the couple to see each other before the wedding day. This is also where the veil comes into play. As an added layer of insurance, brides would cover their faces with a veil up until the very last moment when the couple would kiss. At that point, it was too late to back out. A far cry from the romantic tradition that we cherish today.

My 5 Favorite Things About A Wedding First Look

  1. A first look calms the nerves

    One of my favorite things about the first look is that it calms any nerves that either of you may be feeling. For the groom in particular there are some unsaid expectations that may be put on him. All eyes will be on him when his bride comes down the aisle. What will his reaction be? Will he be so overcome with emotion that he cries, will he grin, will he stand there quietly because he is so nervous? It is a lot of pressure with everyone watching! When couples opt for a first look on their wedding day, they can privately share that moment together. It is intimate and personal and I promise you, you will not lose out on “the reaction of coming down the aisle”. I have yet to experience couples that have anything less than the sweetest reactions as they meet each other at the end of the aisle.

  2. With a first look you get more photos

    This is your wedding day! One of the best days of your lives! You have invested so much time, heart, and money into this day and you deserve to have beautiful portraits of the two of you! There is a reason why people say the wedding day goes by in a blur. You will get caught up in the anticipation, excitement, and celebrating that time will slip away from you. Unfortunately, when the timeline gets shortened when running late, the time we have for couples portraits is shortened. Having a first look on your wedding day gives us TWO opportunities to capture gorgeous images of the two of you. Let’s be honest, the photos that you will hang in your home and share with your children and grandchildren are going to be the photos of the two of you. Having a first look will give you around 40% more images to print and treasure for the rest of your lives!

  3. It makes sense logistically

    Timelines are not the most romantic aspect of a wedding day, but they are critical. Being organized allows my couples to capture all the moments that they are hoping for and still get to relax and enjoy their wedding day. On average, it takes 1.5-2 hours for me to capture all the portraits (wedding party, family portraits, and bride and groom photos).

    When couples choose not to have a first look, these portraits will be taken immediately following the wedding ceremony during cocktail hour. Once the couple walks down the aisle, they want to celebrate as soon as possible. Without a first look, it makes it difficult to get couples to their cocktail hour with their guests quickly. However, the first look allows this to happen! When my couples choose to see each other before the ceremony, we are able to capture the wedding party and even some family portraits ahead of time. What this means for my couples is that they get to greet their guests sooner and start celebrating! The First Look also allows me time to photograph your reception details. My couples have spent months, sometimes years, planning all the details and decor at their reception. I want to make sure that they have photos of all their hard work.

  4. With a first look you are able to start celebrating with your guests sooner

    I touched on this in number 3, but it is worth mentioning again. After photographing so many weddings, following the ceremony couples can’t wait to start mingling and greeting guests. When you opt for a first look you don’t have to leave your guests for an hour or more to take photos. You can significantly shorten the time needed to capture portraits and get back to the party!

    Another important factor to consider is sunset. In the winter the sun sets much earlier. So couples who have a 4 or 5 PM ceremony will really be pushing their luck with capturing golden-hour portraits. Having a first look ensures that you will not miss bride and groom portraits because the sun has set. What a shame to miss capturing photos of the two of you on your wedding day because it may be too dark.

  5. It gives you quiet time alone together

    Many couples are surprised when they discover that there is very little time alone together on their wedding day. A benefit of having a first look is that it gives you time to be together, away from all the hustle and bustle of the day to let the moment soak in. You are able to have a quiet, intimate moment where you can just be present. Your focus shifts to each other and the commitment you are making, rather than on the event.

I love first looks! They offer an opportunity to capture beautiful, unscripted, and emotional moments. While I address the positives of a first look here in this post, I recognize that a first look isn’t for everyone. Stay tuned for first-look alternatives if you find that a first look isn’t for you. Like I always say, there is no wrong way to celebrate your day!

 

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