Today, I was chatting with a Bride and she excitedly told me “We decided that we are going to do a First Look!” I felt a sigh of relief escape my mouth. “That is SO great!” I replied, “You aren’t going to regret it!” She continued on, saying something that really struck me. “I am so glad you told me about it! It just makes so much sense! I really think you should write this up on your blog, because your experience and insight was so valuable!
When I met with this Bride, I asked her, as I do all Brides, how they feel about a “First Look”. A First Look is when the Bride and Groom see each other before their wedding ceremony. As you can imagine, it is a fairly polarizing topic. Regardless of their answer, I like to share with them our experience with First Looks as a married couple and as photographers.
During our second year as wedding photographers one of our first Brides stubbornly (imagine that!) insisted that they wouldn’t see each other before the wedding. “It’s bad luck!”, and “I want it to be special when he sees me!” were two of her reasons. Being wedding photographers, we knew what the ramifications were for her pictures and the flow of her day, so we began debating the pro’s and con’s of a First Look.
We are around brides all the time, so it wasn’t hard finding opinions from both sides of the argument. We were lucky enough to have a Bride that was in the exact situation a year ago. She wasn’t thrilled with the idea of seeing her hubby before the ceremony, but because of scheduling difficulties, it ended up being her only option. Afterward, I followed up with her and asked “So, did you like having a First Look? Do you regret it?” She looked me square in the eye and said firmly, “Adam, in a day that is supposed to be ‘all about us’, our First Look was the only time that we got to spend alone together.”
Whoa, that really hit me. What are Brides planning a wedding for, if it wasn’t to spend time with their husbands? Wasn’t all of this hard work and planning supposed to celebrate them starting their lives together? Why, then, would they spend that very day of celebration apart?!?
This Bride and I talked, and decided that they would plan on seeing each other before their vows. She knew in her heart that she didn’t want to be stressed on her wedding day and her fiance is so great at being a calming force in her life, which on a wedding day – is a necessity!
From the Bride:
“There are so many things I wanted to say about their First Look. It was perfect. It was wonderful because we got to see each other, without distraction. We could talk, giggle, and hug without interrupting a service… our service. We could take the moment in, pray, and just be together.”
“All of that sweetness aside, there was a real practicality to it. We knew the serious cash my parents were handing out for this wedding, that really would only last a couple hours. (They aren’t kidding when they say the day goes fast!) I wanted to spend every second of it enjoying my family, friends, and my new husband. I wanted to dance, socialize, and have a glass of wine. I wanted to be there, soaking in every minute.”
“Since we had seen each other before hand, I was able to do just that. I didn’t have to mess around with a cocktail hour, forcing our guests to nibble on appetizers, while they waited on us to cram our most important pictures into a minuscule time frame. We had the time to go to the place I wanted to go for pictures, instead of rushing into the church courtyard because it is close and quick. We were able to be there, be present, and be stress free – I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Photographers love First Looks. Just google “Should I do a First Look”, and you’ll see pages and pages of blog posts of photographers harping on the benefits. What I think Brides need to know are the emotional and practical benefits. One thing I always have loved about being a wedding photographer, is how close I get with my Brides. I usually leave a wedding feeling like we are long lost best friends! The photographer in me isn’t scared or intimidated of traditional weddings. In fact, I would say about 60% of my Brides see each other before hand, and 40% don’t. Either way, I am confident I am going to give you amazing pictures that you will treasure for a lifetime. But the friend in me wants you to enjoy your day. The friend in me wants your day to be smooth and stress free. The friend in me wants your wedding photographer to have enough time to be creative, and give you everything you want out of your pictures. The friend in me wants you to have time to be excited together, pray together, and just be together on your wedding day.
Will it be less special?
Somehow, Brides have gotten the idea that when you see each other affects the meaning of the moment. Seeing each other earlier can be a relief. Let’s be honest, when you are walking down the aisle, a little piece of your brain is going to be worried about not tripping and falling, and hoping that your dress doesn’t fall down. All of those little noises in your head aren’t there when it is just the two of you.
I can’t tell you how many times I have a Groom who is tough, and manly, who I would NEVER think would cry, who will bawl at the first sight of his Bride at a First Look. When it is just the two of you, generally, the Groom is going to feel more comfortable showing his emotions. Talk about some amazing pictures!
Another thing to keep in mind is that a First Look is a blank slate! You want a romantic field First Look? Done! Or maybe a vibrant city feel is more your style? Let’s do it! Heck, we even can do them in the place that you met! Your First Look location gives the photographer free reign to tell your story that much better.
Isn’t it bad luck?
If you believe in arranged marriages, maybe! This superstition comes from a time when the Bride and the Groom were not allowed to see each other before their wedding… at all. The father of the Bride’s goal was to marry her off to a rich, land-owning male. The father would be afraid that if the Groom didn’t find her attractive, that the wedding would be called off, so they met at the ceremony so the groom couldn’t change his mind. Romantic, huh?
What about his reaction? I want a picture of the first time he sees me!
Not a problem. In fact, it is much easier to catch his reaction on a First Look than it is in a ceremony location. Keli and I will be positioned strategically to capture both of your reactions… at the same time! The First Look really helps us to capture a priceless moment, with the additional bonus of being able to pick some place personal to you!
If you are really lucky, you might just end up with a reaction like this one! 🙂
Creative. Clean. Different. We are a team of creatives in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky with a passion for storytelling. Founded in 2006, our studio has been recognized as one of the best wedding photographers in Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky by various publications, websites, and groups. We’d love to show you our studio and walk you through our albums, canvases and other print photography products. We can also provide more information on our Wedding Collections and introduce you to our team! We’d love to help, connect with us now.