It’s a fairly new concept, the ‘First Look.’ It is definitely on the less traditional side of the spectrum. A First Look is when the Bride and Groom decide to see each other before the ceremony on their wedding day. Often it is a little curated so that of course we can get some magical photos out of it, but it is so much more than that and I want to list the reasons below why I encourage it. That said, after shooting over 100 weddings I can safely say that my couples still approximate about a 50/50 divide when it comes to the decision to make ‘the first look’ a part of their day. And no matter what you decide, YOUR DAY is going to be beautiful and magical and special because it is a complete reflection of who you are and why you are loved by each other and so many people all around you.
I especially loved this ‘First Look’ where the bride and one of my dearest friends went for a little shock value by dressing in a gigantic Dino suit. hehehehehe!!
1. You won’t have to hide from each other most of the day.
I’ve seen bridesmaids holding up bedsheets, I’ve seen grooms shoved into broom closets, I’ve seen people spending their time standing guard, I’ve seen panicked faces, I’ve seen the stress and the pressure and the added responsibility (on top of so much else) to ensure that the bride and groom don’t see each other leading up to the ceremony, which is usually most of the day. Trust me, your wedding day is fleeting, and spending most of it NOT with the love of your life seems a little counter-intuitive.
2. It eliminates pressure and nerves.
When couples have their “First Look” I immediately feel a load of weight taken off of both of their shoulders. You seek comfort in each other, right? It is a perfect private moment for the two of you to laugh, cray, twirl, kiss, take in the details, share a moment that isn’t being spectated by a hundred sets of eyes. And here’s the thing, I promise you nothing will take away from the magic of you walking down the aisle. Your eyes will be locked on one another and the moment will be every bit as magical and emotional.
3. It frees up precious time.
Your wedding was never intended to be a photoshoot. It is intended to be a beautiful celebration of the union between you and your best friend that just happens to be captured beautifully. When you have a first look session, it knocks a lot of beautiful photos off the list that can, in turn, free up some precious time later, like being present with your guests during cocktail hour, for example.
4. It’s probably the only alone time you’ll get all day.
Guess what, you won’t have very much opportunity all day long to have a private moment, with just the two of you to bask in the bliss of what your special day is all about. You’re about to become husband and wife. You’re about to say I do. It is the very beginning of the rest of your lives together. It is about the two of you! Not the schedule, not the flowers, not the rings or the food or the drinks or the drunk uncle. It is about the two of you and taking a minute to be together, away from everyone and everything else, in silence, and having that moment captured just before you make it official might be the most special thing you’ll take from the day.
5. The tradition has a questionable origin.
It does feel romantic, and I completely understand that everyone has their own reasons for following tradition. I learned recently that the origin of not seeing each other before the ceremony dates back to the days of arranged marriages where preventing the couple from seeing each another before the ceremony was thought to eliminate the risk that one of them would back out. Oh, my.
So there you have it. While I know that a first look isn’t for everyone, these are the reasons why I would gently encourage you to consider it. Some of my favorite wedding moments happen during the first look, and the sense of relief is palpable when that initial moment has passed and the couple has a chance to reconnect and be reminded of what the day is all about.