Why You Should do a First Look
I loooove first looks. I mean, why wouldn't I? Look at their cute faces! Traditionally the bride and groom don't see each other before the ceremony, but this is becoming less and less popular and more people are choosing to do photos before the ceremony. More specifically, they are doing "first look" photos. And it's not the first look you might imagine as the bride walks down the aisle - although we still need those too!
A "first look" photoshoot is exactly what it sounds like - arranging a first look between the bride and groom apart from the ceremony! This means arranging an intimate setting where you can take time together before the main event to see each other. You can take it all in - your partner, the importance of the day, and have some precious alone time before the ceremony. The idea of seeing the love of your life for the first time when you walk down the aisle sounds so romantic, and you probably imagine it as a dreamy moment where you lock eyes with your partner, maybe shed a tear. The reality can be much more stressful. In front of your entire guest list the emotions just might not flow like you want them to. You may want to react one way, but end up holding back because of all the eyes on you. Think - nervous smile and a ton of pressure as everyone turns to see if the groom is crying. Eek!
While it can absolutely turn out perfectly if that is your dream, I am a strong advocate for doing a first look before your ceremony. Your first look can be anything you want it to be, and the internet is a treasure trove of ideas and options! If you are doubtful of this new trend, let me convince you why you should jump on this particular bandwagon.
Take a Deep Breath
I don't know about you, but I like to reduce my stress as much as I possibly can. For a bride and groom, their wedding will be the happiest day of their life but it can also be the most stressful. Excitement gives you those butterflies in your stomach, but also leads to sweaty palms and nervous jitters. When you take the morning to get ready, everything is leading up to the ceremony. You probably wake up with nerves and excitement, but the build-up to the walk down the aisle can feel overwhelming and even scary. But I don't say this to make you nervous! It is a magical moment; one that I believe can be made a little less frightening. That's why I think you should choose to do a first look.
If you are able to take some time before the ceremony, doing a first look is an amazing option. After all, you're waiting to see your future spouse and as much as you plan a wedding so your guests have fun, this day is about the two of you! When you arrive to the ceremony and have a little time to collect yourself, the fifteen steps down the aisle will feel a lot less intimidating. You've already seen the most important person, and you can breathe. The wedding day has already begun!
Generally when doing a first look, you do most of the other photos before the ceremony as well! A first look with just the two of you, bridal party shots and family photos can all be done before your ceremony. This will leave more time afterwards, and no need for rushing around. If you would like to see an idea of ideal timing for your wedding day, I have an awesome guide for all of my clients to help you out. Contact me for more info and let's see if we're a fit!
This is an excellent use of time on such a busy day. When you have photos before your ceremony, you're able to have a ceremony later in the day and closer to the time of your cocktails or reception. You can avoid that awkward time where your guests have nowhere to go, and they can head straight to the reception! If you have an outdoor ceremony, this could also mean beautiful, soft lighting rather than harsh noon sunshine beating down on you.
A Moment Alone
Anyone that has ever been married will likely confirm this little known fact - on your wedding day, you don't naturally get a lot of time with just your spouse. There is always someone around, whether it be your bridal party, family, or friends. It can feel a little isolating because although you may be standing side by side, you have a million people to talk to and thank. This can be so nice to get the time to visit with people you might not see regularly, but it takes up a lot of time.
A first look can be just the two of you. A moment to connect.
Okay, I will be there to get the pictures but I promise I will be a fly on the wall with one purpose - to capture the moment. I love to simply let the two of you take some time enjoying the fact you're getting married and noticing how dang good you both look! This privacy is a truly special moment that cannot be duplicated with 200 guests watching. If you're looking for something more intimate for your entire day, (aka just you two) an elopement might be for you! But that's a subject for another day....
Honestly, it's Just Super Cute
Seriously. If you take a second to look at these first look photos, you can immediately read the love written all over their face. Even when they are goofy and silly, they are just so cute. And I promise you don't miss out on that beautiful moment in your ceremony when the bride walks down the aisle. I think having the first look before actually makes that moment even more special. You can smile and cry and feel those natural emotions without feeling the nerves or pressure of it being the "first look".
I think first look photos are a lot of fun too. The couple's personalities are so obvious, and since it's just the two of them they can react how they truly feel. With fun backdrops, there are so many cool ideas of how to do a first look. Whether it's in a home, a special location, or at the ceremony site, there are so many ways to personalize it and make it "you". Some couples write letters to each other that they read right before seeing each other, or private vows that they may feel are too raw for the ceremony. If you're going to cry anyway, get that first cry out of the way! There can be a lot of silliness, laughing, and tenderness, and the honesty in that moment cannot be replicated. When you see each other again at the ceremony, there is a whole other feeling that takes over that is unique all on its own. This is finally happening! With all your friends and family looking on, the emotions shift.
Once the "I do's" are done, it's time to relax! The hardest part is over, and you can get on with the party! Doing a first look means that when the ceremony is over, you can spend the time with your guests and enjoy everything you've been planning for all this time. Rather than rushing off for formal photos, go visit and have a drink! I hate dragging you away from your cocktail hour for photos, and wrangling family together is a lot harder when there is food and booze! I would love you to just enjoy yourself and mingle with your guests. This is my opportunity to get candid photos of everyone, and photos of the décor and setting as well. Basically, it's a win-win.
If it sounds like having a "first look" is something that will make your day special - go for it! Enjoy all the perks it will give you, and use it as a moment to really appreciate and soak in the day. Your wedding day goes by so fast, and a first look can be a time to just pause.