What is a first look?
A first look is when you and your fiancé see each other before the ceremony on your wedding day. It serves to help relieve stress and gives you a rare (and often only) private moment with your spouse to be on your big day.
What about the tradition of not seeing each other before the ceremony?
I'm honestly not sure how this tradition has survived through the decades. It was put in place when arranged marriages were custom. The two betrothed wouldn’t meet or see each other until the ceremony, preventing the groom from being able to back out of the arrangement. Thankfully, society has progressed since then, and, for the most part, we choose to marry for love. We can choose to see them before the ceremony as well!
Does a first look take any emotion away from the bride walking down the aisle?
I can say this from personal experience — not at all. Walking down the aisle and being given away to your fiancé is exhilarating, and nothing can change that. Walking down the aisle is simply a different kind of moment than a first look. My husband describes seeing me walking down the aisle as “the moment when it first felt like the wedding was real” and “the beginning of forever” even though we had already seen each other before that moment. *Gush*.
"I'm worried a first look won't be as special as seeing each other at the altar for the first time."
If anything, a first look ADDS joy and memories to your day. By including a first look in your day you'll get to spend so much more time with together on your wedding day (isn't that the point?). It gives you a chance to soak in all thats happened and slow down for a moment before everyone arrives.
I know this was true for me. The first look I shared with my husband was the only time we were alone together for the entire day. Without it, we wouldn't have gotten to share the little details like how we had slept the night before or the mornings happenings. It was a relief to see each other without a crowd of 100 onlooking, and getting to embrace and hug as much as we wanted, which wouldn't have been able to happen at the altar.
Side note — my husband, Zach is not a mushy guy, so not a tear was shed at our first look but it took all his might to hold in tears at our ceremony! If that isn't proof that BOTH moments are special, I don't know what is!
How does a first look help alleviate stress?
It gives you more time! More time to spend with your spouse on the day of your wedding, and more time for photos. All of the brides and grooms portraits, bridal party and family photographs can be done before the ceremony! Not only is it WAY easier to wrangle everyone before the ceremony begins, but it also means you won't keep your guests waiting on you between at the reception.
How does a first look work?
First looks can happen many ways so don't be afraid to have fun with it! If you don't have an idea of your own planned, I'll go with the trusty tap on the shoulder. It starts when I have guided one of you into position and the other walks up from behind. They tap the other on the shoulder and I capture everything unfolding from a distance. You get to hug, embrace and savor the moment for as long as you want.
Still not convinced a first look is for you?
That’s fine too! Your photographer will be able to accommodate couples who would rather not see each other before the ceremony.
There are special photo opportunities for this more traditional approach, too. We can capture emotional moments, such as the bride receiving a handwritten note from her groom, or the groom playing a song for her on his guitar while she is in the next room.
Overall, whether you choose to do a first look is not the most important aspect of your day. Marrying the love of your life is. Do what feels best to you and your fiancé and enjoy your day!
Check out Preston and Diana's first look and wedding. Aren't they ADORABLE!?