As I close one wedding season, brides are already planning for next summer! With each bridal consultation, we often discuss the layout of the wedding day and the wonderful things that these brides already have planned. One of the major things that we are talking about – even this far in advance – is the timeline of the wedding day. I always ask brides if they have given consideration to the idea of having a First Look – this is an opportunity for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony and share those first moments as husband and wife together. A time, before the ceremony, when the bride and groom can look at each other, talk to each other, pray together, embrace one another! So often, I watch brides spend hours and hours preparing herself for her wedding day – all in anticipation of that first moment when her groom sees her for the first time – that moment when he sees her, and she KNOWS that he doesn’t see anyone else – that she is the only one in his sight. Every bride dreams of that moment. This idea of the First Look takes that moment and allows it to be fully enjoyed! It allows grooms the opportunity to embrace his bride, to whisper in her ear just how amazing she is! It gives brides an opportunity to breathe in the arms of her soon-to-be husband and fully enjoy the moment. It is probably the ONLY chance a bride and groom will have to spend time alone on their wedding day. The First Look is a moment carved out for JUST THE BRIDE AND GROOM, away from the guests, the details and anything else that might distract their attention from one another.
Many brides worry about the “tradition,” about forsaking the moment when the groom first sees his bride walk down the aisle, but I think it’s just as special to have the bride and groom see one another before the ceremony, if not more. I have had the opportunity to encourage and witness the times when brides see their grooms before the ceremony, and I must say, they are always SO much more calm and relaxed! Then, when brides walk down that aisle, looking at their groom, they also can “see” their friends and family surrounding them. They have the opportunity to truly appreciate the moment in which their parents give her away – the moment when she steps into the arms of her husband. It allows these couples to truly be in the moment – each moment!
And now, the reasons behind a First Look from a photographers view point. The best part of a couple seeing each other before the ceremony is that it lends to a much smoother layout for family pictures, cocktail hour, and beautiful sunset pictures of the bride and groom after the ceremony. If a couple requests a First Look, I also encourage them to plan for family pictures and bridal party pictures beforehand. This way, when the words, “I do,” are said, it is PARTY TIME! By capturing all the formal photos before the ceremony, it frees the family and bridal party to mingle, catch up with out-of-towners, and simply enjoy the mood of the day. So many guests travel from far away to be a part of this wedding day, and when pictures are done before hand, it frees up family and bride and groom to really spend time with them.
Obviously, I prefer a bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony, but–truthfully–it doesn’t matter to me either way. More than anything, I want my brides to be happy. I simply explain their options because I want them to know they have options! So many times brides think there are “rules” to weddings, and they hung up them, rather than really allowing their day to be THEIRS. There is really only one rule – do what makes you happy!
Watch this short video to see a First Look in action . . .
When a groom sees his bride – – – when a bride sees her groom