One of the MANY decisions you will have to make while planning a wedding will be if you want to see your groom before you walk down the aisle. It’s a hard one for many brides because it’s so personal and you don’t want to make the wrong choice. Each year I see more and more brides opt to do a “First Look” with their spouse to be.
If you’re never heard of the phrase before, a First Look is when a bride and groom share an intimate first moment with each other for the first time on their wedding day. This is your moment to share smiles, laughs, tears and love. It’s a chance to hug one another, have a conversation about how you are feeling, breathe and just relax into one another. It’s also all captured by your photographers so you can always have those moments to look back on forever.
So why choose a First Look? I’m sharing all about my experience as a bride AND as a photographer and answering all of your questions below!
Your Groom Will Still Have a Reaction
Most brides who opt to forgo the first look do so because they want their groom see them when they walk down the aisle for the “reaction” factor. It’s no surprise that us brides dream of the moment we are walking down the aisle on our wedding day and we want our grooms to REACT. If you think you will lose that moment by doing a first look, read on. You will still have that emotional and intimate reaction as if you were coming down the aisle and it will be MAGICAL.
You see, the build-up of your groom seeing you for the first time down the aisle adds A LOT of pressure to the groom and tensions can be high. A groom is front and center in front of 50-300+ people starring directly at HIM. Everyone is watching with expectations and anticipations on his reaction. Suddenly that “special moment” is interrupted by many, many onlookers and is not intimate or private. Don’t get me wrong, that moment is absolutely amazing and SO powerful, but it puts a lot of pressure onto the groom to have the “right reaction.” When it is you two alone, your groom can react in a natural way and he can be himself. There is no pressure of multiple sets of eyes looking at him and he can solely focus on you, his bride. If your groom spent the morning/afternoon with you after a first look, that pressure is totally off come ceremony time and grooms are calm and ready to enjoy the beautiful day! In my experience, grooms STILL have that “aisle reaction” as you are walking towards them and they know that you are the one for them. Most of my grooms have cried even though they have seen their brides for 2 hours beforehand.
First Looks Are Intimate + Private
My favorite part of first looks is the privacy and intimacy. There are no on-lookers, no distractions, it’s quiet and peaceful and you can truly be yourself around one another.
One of the hardest parts about not having a first look is the fact that you cannot talk to your groom or really engage with them until AFTER your ceremony 30-45 minutes later! At a first look, you can hug, chat, dance, twirl and hold hands without anyone telling you where to stand, what to say or how to do it. If you walk down the aisle, your groom won’t be able to tell you beautiful you look or say anything personal until your ceremony is OVER. Even then, you will be most likely overwhelmed by hugs and cheers and a lot of faces coming up to congratulate you that you won’t get to have a real conversation with the person who the whole day is about!!
You’ll Receive 40% More Portraits
Weddings are expensive and you’ve invested a lot of time and money into choosing your vendors. With a first look, you get 40% MORE portraits of just you two! Why? You will take pictures BEFORE and after the ceremony! The time you spent picking out a dress, getting your hair and makeup done will be on display and you can use these images to decorate your house. Not to mention – these portraits will be passed down for generations. You will get more out of your investment if you choose to do a first look!
The Day Is Less Stressful
Having a first look allows the timeline to be more relaxed. We won’t be on a time crunch for an hour after the ceremony to get ALL of the family portraits, bridal party portraits, and way more! There will be no coordinators telling you “10 more minutes!” or anyone excessively checking their watch for the time. Having a first look also helps if things don’t go according to plan. Let’s say there is rain or someone isn’t ready – that extra time built in will allow us more time to capture images and not feel stressed if we are behind because we don’t just have the cocktail hour to grab everything.
More Time Spent Together
A wedding day is about two people coming together to be one. Everyone from family and friends are traveling there to celebrate you BOTH so you should be able to spend more of your day with your SPOUSE than anyone else! Without a first look, your day doesn’t begin until your ceremony starts: around 3:00-5:00pm! That means that you already spent most of the day without your spouse-to-be! This day is incredibly special and named as one of the “best of your life” so why not spend as much time as you can with your spouse soaking up all the joy and excitement?! You will get almost 3 more hours with them when you choose a first look! After all, a wedding day is about YOU TWO!
Emotions run high on wedding days. There is so much anticipation, excitement, joy and love all combined together in a few short hours. This leads to a lot of nerves and anxiousness all around! The number one thing that my grooms say to me after the first look is “I’m so glad we did that!” Their nerves melt away after they see their future bride and it works the same for brides as well! I can speak from personal experience and tell you that I felt 1000x better and more relaxed after I saw my husband, Seth on our wedding day. After I saw him I immediately felt relief in the pit of my stomach and I was able to enjoy everything going on around me.
You Can Enjoy Cocktail Hour!
Another first look benefit is the option to attend your cocktail hour! Most likely you have out of town friends and family attending your wedding and what better way to celebrate your love than to have the opportunity to chat and mingle with some of the people you rarely ever see? You can also enjoy cocktails and yummy appetizers that you spent a lot of money on.
Disclaimer – I am putting this here to let you know that my clients are not required or forced to do a first look at all! This is a very personal decision and I leave it up to each and every bride and groom. However, after seeing the benefits for myself and my couples, I wanted to share my experiences and advice on how to enhance your wedding day! It’s totally ok if you choose not to share a first look! It is your wedding day and I’m all about each and every person choosing to do what’s best for them and I will fully support either decision that you choose to make as a couple. I’m definitely a fan of the “you do what’s right for you and I’ll do what’s right for me” mindset!
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