Beautiful, timeless, romantic, fun, exciting, precious, emotional, anticipation, tradition, memorable. These are all words to describe weddings.  However, some people attach other words:  Stressful, nerve wracking, busy, pressure, appearances, expectations, superstitions.

One of the more stressful parts of the happy couple’s day centers around not seeing each other before the ceremony.  Tradition dictates that the groom waits to see his bride until the moment when the beautiful bride in all her glory walks down the aisle.  This is a splendid moment full of emotion.  There is no doubt, as a photographer, that this is a very exciting moment to capture.

But this article is about the “First Look.”  This is a trend in weddings that we am seeing more and more.  The benefits of doing the first look see overwhelming.

Let me explain what the First Look is all about.  This is a special moment when the groom is able to see the bride for the first time before the ceremony.  We usually like to position the groom looking away out over a field, or at the end of pier, or even by a beautiful old oak tree.   Below are a few examples of the first look.  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.

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

Benefits to a well planned first look:

  • Adds another memorable moment to your day.
  • Takes pressure off a busy day
  • Enjoy a few minutes to yourselves in a day where everyone is vying for your attention
  • Your photographer is able capture dozens or even hundreds more beautiful photos with the extra time available
  • You will be able to enjoy more of your cocktail hour/reception
  • Spend more time with your family and guests by getting all the most important photos done before the ceremony
  • People describe their wedding day as one of the happiest days of their lives. It makes sense to spend more time with your life partner on the happiest day of your life doesn't it?

Negatives of doing a first look

  • Superstition
  • Change from tradition
  • May disappoint parents with expectations

 

But don’t take my word for it.  Watch this video of a couple who were initially against the idea and now are strong proponents of the First Look.

Here is what one Bride wrote about her experience:  "Matt, Elmer and I were so hesitant to do the first look. After many discussions we decided to do it and we are so happy that we did! 3 1/2 years later, it is our favorite and most memorable moment of the day. It was the only time we were able to share a special moment alone, and we are so grateful you suggested the first look!"  - Courtney.

Here are the some sample photos of the first look:

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