Many of my couples ask me whether or not they should have a first look. If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering the same thing. In my professional opinion, I think they are an excellent idea. I love first looks. I know that they are a tad bit ‘untraditional,’ but let me take a minute to explain the benefits of a first look.
(Before we continue, a "First Look" is a quiet moment when the bride and groom see each other for the first time, before the ceremony.)
1. Your wedding day will be crazy busy. No getting around it. You have so much to do and so little time to do it in. If you have a first look, it helps to calm down the day a bit. Instead of trying to rush around to get everyone together and have pictures taken between the wedding ceremony and reception while your guests are waiting, you’ll have that time to relax and enjoy your guests and not have to worry about being late to your reception. We can do all of the main portraits before the ceremony even begins – at the very least, the bride and groom and bridal party photos. This way, your hair and makeup are still perfect, since they were just finished
(Above: The bride is walking up to her groom , to tap him on the shoulder. Then he'll turn around and see her in her wedding dress for the first time!)
2. A first look also gives you a very special, intimate moment with your soon-to-be-new spouse. If you are nervous or stressed out, this will especially help to relax you, and your spouse can comfort you and let you know it will all be OK. During the ceremony, there are many of people around and you can’t fully take in the moment because everyone is staring at you. With a first look, that moment is just between you and your spouse (and your photographers, of course).
3. Even if you have a first look, your husband will be just as happy to see you walking down the aisle and you’ll still take his breath away. Don’t worry that you’ll be spoiling the moment by seeing him prior to the ceremony. This seems to be the main reason most brides initially want to skip the first look. They want that picture of the groom's face when he sees her coming down the aisle. However, when ever I shoot a wedding where they've opted to wait until the ceremony, the groom is under so much stress (and dealing with so many emotions) that he has nothing more than a blank look on his face!
(Above: the groom reacts to seeing his bride-to-be)
I really don't want a bride to be disappointed when she sees that picture, and it's not as magical as she hoped. If what you want is a picture of your groom reacting with joy to seeing you, then having a first look would be a great choice!
When my husband and I got married 14 years ago, we had a first look so that we could save time and do photographs before the ceremony. My husband has told me many times how incredible it was when he saw me walking toward him down the aisle. The fact that he'd already seen me in my wedding dress didn't take anything away from that amazing moment for him!
Of course, your wedding is Your Day! My job is give you the information I've learned through my experience, and then leave the decision up to you. If you still want to skip the first look, I'll do my best to make everything as perfect as I can! My hope is that you now have all the information you need to make the choice that's best for you!