A lot of you have probably heard of the "First Look" on the wedding day. It has become more popular over the years for a lot of reasons! The First Look is when you choose to see each other on the wedding day before you walk down the aisle. There are a lot of different ways to share a First Look including the bride tapping the groom on the shoulder to turn around, both couples turning around at the same time and walking towards each other, or even releasing balloons before seeing each other! Let me share a few benefits of sharing a First Look on your wedding day.
enjoy seeing each other privately
On your wedding day there is SO much going on! With making sure all the decor is in place to getting hair and makeup done, to spending time with all the guests, it can be a whirlwind of a day. After you get your dress on and you are all dolled up, you have the chance to go see your (almost!) husband by yourself. Sharing that private moment together gives you a chance to see each other alone and soak up that memory. It is probably the only time that you will be alone on your wedding day away from all the guests. You are also able to hug and kiss when you see each other for the first time rather than standing at the alter waiting for the ceremony to be over to interact! It is a beautiful and intimate moment shared between just you and your spouse.
more time together
In case you haven't heard from everyone, your wedding day FLIES by. It is one of the best days of your life, but it goes by so quickly. If it goes by so fast, why not be with your new spouse for as much of the day as possible? When you share a First Look, you get to be together for most of the day instead of just the ceremony and reception. The day is also much more relaxed when you aren't rushed for pictures. There is buffer built in so in case something happens you will still have the time after the ceremony for any pictures that are missed before the ceremony. Kevin and I loved being able to enjoy that extra 3 hours together on our wedding day.
less pressured reactions
This is a big one, especially for the groom. A lot of times the groom feels pressured to react in a certain way when he sees his bride for the first time on the wedding day. When the bride walks down the aisle on the wedding day, all eyes are on the groom to see his reaction. The good thing about sharing a First Look is that the only person the groom is reacting to is his bride and this takes A LOT of the pressure off of the reaction. He can be himself because it is just him and her in that moment. People think that this can take away from the big moment of walking down the aisle. From personal experience of doing a First Look, I can say that nothing took away that special moment of walking down the aisle with my dad towards Kevin. Having the opportunity to see Kevin earlier in the day was extremely special, and so was walking down the aisle at the church.
more portrait time
This is the number one reason I was excited to do a first look and why as photographers we encourage the First Look! When you do the First Look, there is much more time overall for pictures. After you see each other, we are able to take portraits of the two of you before the ceremony, as well as any other pictures you want to check off the list. If you do a First Look you have the ability to take ALL of the bridal party + family formals BEFORE the ceremony. This means that you and your family and bridal party can all enjoy cocktail hour, or you can use cocktail hour for sunset bride and groom portraits! In the end, you will have a lot more pictures from the wedding day because you can utilize the hours before the ceremony for pictures. If you don't do a First Look, you only have cocktail hour to take family formals, full bridal party pictures, and bride & groom portraits. That hour goes by fast and it can be very stressful! You are also investing a lot in your wedding photography, so having lots of options to choose from for portraits helps you get the most out of your investment. And let's be honest, the bride and groom portraits are the favorite images to hang around the house!
Let's hear from some of our past couples about why they were so glad they chose to share a First Look on their wedding day!
"I did not want to do the First Look because I am traditional and did not want it to take away from the moment; however, it was the best change of mind that I have ever made. I did not feel rushed, I got to enjoy the reception more, it made for better pictures, but most of all - it did not take that feeling away from when Shauna walked down the aisle." -Keith
"I wanted different and wanted more time after the ceremony. We did a balloon First Look and so many people have complimented on the pictures because it was in a different setting than the ceremony and it was a different idea. I think my all time favorite was seeing Keith's face and the expressions that were captured when he first saw me!" -Shauna
"We selected to do the First Look for two reasons. First, I absolutely love photos so I wanted plenty of time to be able to take lots of them! Second, we didn't want to make our friends and family wait for the reception and we wanted to be there for cocktail hour to mingle. To this day, we are so pleased with our decision. It was so memorable to have that moment to ourselves and we both felt the ceremony was just as special even though we saw each other beforehand."
"Because my husband is an introvert and knew he would contain his emotions in front of everyone if he saw me the first time coming down the aisle; doing a First Look was a gift for him. He truly felt like he could show me and tell me how he felt right in that moment with just me instead of holding back during the ceremony. As an extroverted bride, the First Look was a special one-on-one time for me because after that the whole day was a whirlwind where we barely had intimate time without people by our side.”
"Matt and I are so glad we did a First Look, it really helped calm our nerves and gave us just a moment to ourselves before having to be "on pointe" for the next couple of hours (a lot of work for an introvert). The entire wedding is still a blur to this day but that First Look is part of what I remember. I always recommend it when friends are indecisive about doing a First Look."
"I was hesitant about doing the First Look because I had always thought that my husband-to-be would be seeing me for the first time as I was walked down the aisle. However, your wedding day is a BIG DAY. For me, I was a bit overwhelmed and stressed since all the attention was on me. I was so happy we did a First Look because it helped ease my stress and it was "our moment" together in private for us to see each other for the first time. The pictures were also wonderful because we were full of energy, ready and excited to say "I do", and the focus was solely on us and no one else. I would highly recommend the First Look as part of your wedding day, you will not be disappointed."
"On my wedding morning my heart was pounding with excitement and anticipation, and there was an amazing nervousness that came over me. The First Look swept all the nervousness away, and was 25 minutes of calm, private time with the one person who knows me best, and can put me at ease. It also gave us some beautiful photos in a different setting, completely private, and we got to include our dogs as well!"
"I really enjoyed getting to spend some along time with Courtney prior to the ceremony. Getting to see her helped me not be as much of a nervous wreck." -Erik
"The First Look is a fantastic idea for people who are willing to step away from wedding traditions and create their own." -Courtney
"Nick and I decided to do a First Look for a few reasons. First, it allowed us to have a special and private moment together before walking down the aisle. You don't get many of those the day of the wedding and it was important for us to have have a few minutes to ourselves before saying "I do." Second, we felt like a First Look would allow for both of us to feel the most comfortable in our reactions to seeing each other for the first time since it was just us (and AG and Kevin!) and not in front of all of our wedding guests. Third, by doing a First Look we got to spend more time during our cocktail hour visiting with family and friends!”
Ahh such sweet moments!! All that being said, we never force our couples to do a First Look if they don't want to! Some of our couples still enjoy the tradition of waiting to see each other until the ceremony. However, we are seeing many of our couples deciding to choose to share a First Look for all of the reasons above! Either way at the end of the day, you will be married and have beautiful pictures to look back on to remember your big day. Happy Monday!!