Should You Have A First Look?

Should You Have A First Look?

By now in your wedding planning you have probably thought about whether or not you are going to have a first look, or at least you’ve heard of one.

Let me explain what a First Look is all about.  This is a special and intimate moment when the you and your soon-to-be-wed are able to see one another for the first time before the ceremony.  Usually we position the groom facing toward some beautiful scenery and have the bride walk up to him, tap him on the shoulder and he’ll turn around to share a sweet moment of awe by seeing each other for the first time on their wedding day.  

We like to “tell the story” by capturing photos of the bride approaching the groom and then to see both of their expressions as they see each other for the first time simultaneously.  It is a wonderful and precious moment. I love it! It makes me so happy!

Traditionally you wait to see each other until the ceremony. Why is that our tradition? This began in the days of arranged marriages. Often the father of the bride wouldn’t want the groom to see her before the wedding in fear that he would reject her. Of course that is NOT the reason we do it today. Today we wait for the ceremony to see each other because it’s more exciting and memorable. But is it?

Many of the grooms whom I have photographed during their first looks told me that the moment when they saw their bride during the ceremony was still a very emotional and exciting moment.

This isn’t a replacement to the experience of walking down the aisle but it is actually an addition to that moment.  So in essence you are adding to the day by getting a second special look instead of replacing it.

It is one of the only times on your wedding day that you and your soon-to-be can be alone, sharing the excitement of the day. I know for me, seeing my wife before the ceremony put both of us at complete peace and joy and made the rest of the day an ease.

Another benefit of having a first look is that you can take plenty of photos as a couple and with the wedding party before the ceremony. (This makes your wedding photographer very happy.) That way if it’s a hot Texas evening, you are taking the photos right after hair/make-up are finished. No worrying about shiny make-up or if your hair has fallen too much. This also allows you to have a shorter cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception.

If you are having an evening wedding, your hungry guests will thank you. If you think that you will be super emotional when you see your groom all suited up, it can help to have that first look in private. Because there’s no fixing mascara during the ceremony.

Some couples want to stick to the more traditional format and only see each other at the ceremony. If you are leaning that direction, there is something called a First Touch.  A “First Touch”, like a First Look is a private moment before the ceremony when couples can come together around a corner or doorway and literally touch, hold hands, pray, talk, laugh, exchange gifts/letters but NOT see one another.

Another great first look is between the bride and her father. It’s such a sweet moment between and father and a daughter. Gets me every time. This wedding, the groom was ready for the bride to walk up, but instead she sent out their daughter to surprise him.

The moment a bride and groom lock eyes is incredibly romantic – whether or not it’s done in private before saying “I do” or if it’s during your grand entrance into the ceremony.

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