As a professional photographer and a recent groom I feel that I have the insight to one of the best things you can do to enhance, not only the photography, but the overall experience of your wedding day.
I was recently married this past February, to my beautiful wife, Louise. While in the beginning stages of planning the wedding, the subject came up of doing a “First Look”. For those of you who don’t know, a first look is a pre-ceremony, intimate moment where the couple gets to see each other for the first time. I fought this for many months and for many reasons. But, me being the analytical and rational man that I am, I took a moment to weigh out the pros and cons of doing a first look. Ultimately, we decided the first-look was the way to go, and here are my reasons that overwhelmingly pushed me toward our final decision. Below are photos from a couple who took the following advice and went with a First Look.
It opens up the world for photographic opportunities.
- Obviously this was HUGE as Louise and I are wedding photographers. From the minute we started planning our wedding we took every decision we made and ultimately said, how will it look in the pictures. If it didn’t look good, we weren’t doing it. Everyone understands that photographs are essentially the only way to look back and reflect upon your wedding day, so why would we include anything that would inhibit your photos? Doing a first-look allowed for an extra HOUR of photography without delaying our guests, pushing back cocktail hour, or rushing around after the ceremony to get all of our traditional photographs done.
Dressed to the Nines.
- The way 8twenty8 Studios does first looks, is to allow the couple to see each other immediately after the bride’s portraits. This is the moment they are perfect. Hair done, makeup styled, dress clean, shoes shiny, and smiles, well the smiles are genuine and flowing. This is when we want to do the first look. This is the moment the couple is in their most prestigious attire and frame of mind. And THIS is the moment the rush of excitement truly begins.
- Doing a first look was a HUGE stress reliever for us. Not because we were stressing about our wedding, but because we wanted to spend our day “together”. When 8twenty8 Studios does a first look we create a very intimate, serene, private, and beautiful setting so that you and your partner will see each other for the first time, alone. This allows for a more genuine reaction (I cried), less interruptions and less distractions. It’s a huge moment and it’s all about you. A second part to this is to reiterate that you get to spend your day “together”. Yes, through the traditional route you are together, but the first time you see each other is from all the way down the aisle. Then, when you finally get to each other you don’t even get a moment to say “hi” before you dive into the ceremony. Even following the ceremony, you might get a brief moment to say “I love you” but then it’s off to family photos, then bridal party photos, then your brief creative session (if there is any remaining cocktail hour left) and then onto the reception. Before you know it, the day’s gone and you two are so exhausted that you have to wait until the next day to be together. With a first look, you two are together almost the entire day and you get to “experience” your wedding day, instead of going through the motions.
HUGE rush of emotion.
- I cannot express the emotions I had before seeing my bride for the first time. Everything from my heart pounding, palms sweating, and then the tears. Those emotional tears of joy streaming down my face as I saw the most amazing woman in my life before me. It was pure awesomeness. THEN, after we did our creative session with the photographers for an hour, and then our bridal party photos, we headed up to the ceremony. This was it. This was the moment she was about to commit her life to mine and mine to hers. This rush of seeing her come down the aisle toward me was so powerful. And, thanks to the first look, I got to experience these two separate rushes of emotion and have them both captured in their entirety.
Getting to the Party!
- A few other bonuses to doing a first-look. Participate in your cocktail hour! You spent all this money for appetizers and entertainment, why wouldn’t you want to participate?
- In our experience, family photos is the least favorite part of the wedding day, for everybody. We understand, it HAS to be done and the reasons for it are awesome. It’s a rare occasion that all of the closest people to you in your life will be gathered in one place again. So you HAVE to get some photos. The advantage of doing a first look…this is the ONLY part remaining after the ceremony. In about 15 minutes following your ceremony, family photos are complete and you have the option to participate in your cocktail hour, or take the extra 30 minutes and spend it with your newly committed partner for life.
- One of the biggest factors in choosing to be traditional and omit the first look is for tradition and that’s the way it’s been done…forever. Agreed. It is tradition, but have you any idea what tradition you are upholding? The tradition to wait until you are both at the alter to see each other for the first time on your wedding day stems from the tradition of arranged marriages. Now, if your marriage has been arranged, by all means you haven’t even seen your bride-to-be ever and we wouldn’t want you to be able to back out of “the deal”. Other than that, we assume you’ve seen each other before so you’ll be upholding only part of that tradition anyway. Why would you let this tradition have that large of an impact on your wedding day?