Ok let me start off by saying, I feel your pain! As a wedding photographer, I have ALWAYS encouraged couples to do a first look. I mean really the benefits are ENDLESS! I never understood the hesitation UNTIL I became a bride myself! When I do my wedding consultations it is usually just the couple and myself. No outside input, no pressure. So everything YOU want is not being judged and you are not being talked out of anything. Once you get with family and friends that changes! Tradition is one of the most common hangups I hear when it comes to deciding if doing a first look is a good idea or not. While I do understand it and respect it, I also understand the times are changing and with that so are the traditions. Think about it, wedding dresses 30 years ago were long sleeved, high neck and FULL of lace. Wedding cakes 30 years ago were several tiers separated by pillar things and occasionally had a waterfall happening in the middle. That was tradition, do you see that nowadays! NOPE. Because the times changed as did the traditions.
When it comes to seeing your groom before the ceremony you may get a lot of hesitation and negative comments about it from loved ones. You will hear things like superstition, or bad luck, maybe even you can’t do that! But guess what YOU CAN! When I told my family I was doing a first look I thought my mom was going to come unglued! Then it clicked as to why so many brides were hesitant during the consultations when the FIRST LOOK topic came up. NO one wants to let a family member down, or feel like they will have bad luck and doom brought to their marriage. Regardless of all of that we choose to do a first look at our wedding and here is why.
PRIVATE EMOTION – I spent MONTHS looking for the PERFECT dress, I am sure you did too! During the dress shopping process, all I could think about was making sure it was PERFECT in every way. Perfect for me to feel more beautiful than I ever had and perfect for him. I thought about his reaction when he saw me for the first time, would he cry, would he laugh, would he smile like I have never seen before, and would he stare at me with amazement like I stared at myself in the mirror when I found the PERFECT dress. I was so worried that if the first time he saw me was coming up the aisle he would hide his true emotions because he was in front of so many people. After all most men put on a brave face in front of large crowds. Not to mention, would I miss his expression when he saw me for the 1st time? What if someone in the crowd grabbed my attention at the exact moment, what if I looked down to make sure I was not about to trip, what if the sun was in my face and I couldn’t see him! I didn’t want to miss his reaction. By doing the first look I was able to share that moment with just him. I was able to see his face light up without distraction. He was able to show emotion without a 100 people looking at him. We were both able to get any jitters out of the way and most importantly we were able to capture the moment, the raw, real moment of seeing the love, excitement, and anticipation within each other. Quite frankly those are some of my favorite pictures from the wedding. It was real emotion, real reaction to each other.
TIME MANAGEMENT – Who wants to stand around for 45 mins after the ceremony to take pictures NO ONE! You want to get into your reception and enjoy what you just spent the bulk of your budget on don’t you? A first look allowed that to happen for us, why? because most of the pictures we would have been taking after the ceremony are already done! The bridal party pictures are done, the bride and groom pictures are done and the best part is chances are you did all of these pictures with the best light possible (if doing them outdoors). BOOM now all we had left our family pictures after the ceremony. If you have a kick-butt photographer like myself or my photographer (Suzy G) it will be done in NO time! and off to the reception you/we go! You also tend to get more pictures of you and your hubby because there is no rush to get you to the reception. Who wouldn’t want more pictures?
I got grief from people about tradition and not sticking to it, but you know what we made out our tradition. It felt good to get to my reception faster than I would have if I had not done a first look and frankly the lighting would not have been as pretty if we didn’t do a first look, it was getting dark and fast! I was grateful to spend that moment with just him. I don’t think I will ever forget the smile he had when he saw me for the first time. I don’t think I would have remembered it as well if it had been when I was coming down the aisle, honestly, I don’t remember what I saw when I was coming down the aisle. I was so focused on not tripping and seeing who all was staring at me. I would have missed his smile and would not have been able to see the tears. They say your wedding day is about you and your groom, so you owe it to yourself to take that moment together and share the emotion with just each other. A first look seemed so right for us and it was. I will never regret it and will continue to encourage brides to do the same.
Photos taken by Suzy G Photography.