The “First Look” Explained

I think it’s interesting how spring time is usually associated as the “season of love” when really, that season is now! Over the holidays, proposals were being made all over the world. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s… They all celebrate love in some form, whether in thankfulness, in faith, or in new beginnings. Thus, wedding plans have begun and newly engaged couples everywhere are deciding on what kind of wedding they want. The classic, traditional route or our personal favorite, the offbeat, unconventional approach.

In the last few weeks, I’ve met with several couples and something that always comes up is the Wedding Day timeline.

“How does a typical wedding day go?”
“I’ve never done this before, so I don’t even know when to plan anything.”
“I’m afraid I’m going to forget something.”
“I don’t want to miss out on spending time with our guests.”
“What do you suggest?”

I’ve pretty much heard it all. And I have one, end-all, be-all, solve your problems answer!

The First Look.

If you’ve never heard of it before, don’t worry. It’s still a relatively new concept. But before I go into that, let’s first talk about the traditional idea of not seeing each other until that moment when the bride sets foot on the rose-petaled path down the aisle.

As romantic as that tradition sounds right now, it actually stems from a very non-romantic point of view. As in, it originates from arranged marriages where neither the groom or the bride could see each other until the moment of the bride’s unveiling. The goal? To prevent the groom from getting cold feet or choosing the no-way-no-how route. Now doesn’t that just sweep you off your feet?

But I want my groom to be surprised when he sees me. Isn’t that the romantic part?

Absolutely. It’s actually very sweet and totally romantic in it’s own right. However, let me draw your attention to the following. When the door opens and you make your bridal debut, your guests beam at you, marvel at your beauty, and then…

They immediately look at the groom!

Because they want to see his reaction. Does he smile, does he cry, does he hoot and holler? While everyone marvels at your gorgeousness for about three seconds, they’ll spend the remaining 20 watching the groom’s face as you take each step closer. And all the while, the groom will feel all those eyes bearing down on him and what will he feel?

Pressure. And a lot of it!

While there are a handful of guys out there who won’t hold back their emotions, most guys will feel the need to keep his emotions under control and the authenticity of his reaction is immediately foiled!

Once again, I ask you. Is that the romantic moment you imagine? Because as far as I’m concerned, the reality is not as swoon-worthy as something that takes place away from the crowds, in private, and with all that pressure gone.

This is where The First Look comes in. This is something that 98% of our couples choose for their wedding day and it is the sole difference between a stressful wedding and a non-stressful wedding. Like that idea? Allow me to continue…

The First Look is becoming more and more the norm and it does not result in the bad luck that old-fashioned superstitions would have you believe. In fact, I’m starting to think it brings more good luck and makes those first moments of marriage so special and memorable. In a private area, away from wedding guests and high-strung relatives, the bride and groom’s eyes fixed on each other and no one else’s. The relieved pressure allowing for natural reactions like joyous laughter, blessed tears, and gasps of love. And while we, the photographers, are there to capture that moment, we’re simply ornaments of our surroundings. We’re there to document a couple’s reaction and then we immediately leave, giving the bride and groom a moment to themselves. A moment of zen and a chance to enjoy five minutes of peace in the middle of one very crazy day.

So when you’re wondering about the benefits of a First Look, consider the realities of both methods. Whether you see each other before or wait until the ceremony begins, I think every couple should enjoy their wedding day to the fullest. More and more, I am encouraged by couples who are making decisions that make their wedding unique and personal, throwing old traditions out the window. Sure, your parents may not understand or even approve, but when they got married, there were trends and styles of doing things that their parents, your grandparents, probably disagreed with too. Your wedding day should be about you. So ask yourself…

When I picture my wedding day, what makes me happy?

And plan accordingly.


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