THE FIRST LOOK
I absolutely LOVE first looks and I’m ready to tell you why in this blog post! A lot of brides I talk to tend to write them off because they get caught up in how “un-traditional” it is. I can talk about it, because my entire life I always thought I’d be one of those brides! I wanted a REACTION…I wanted my future groom to be so surprised and overcome with joy when I walked down the aisle that he bawled at the first sight of me!
Let’s be honest…isn’t that everyone’s dream? Who DOESN’T want that reaction? After photographing a handful of weddings…I’ve come to this conclusion: sure, some brides love tradition, but what they really want is a reaction. Those who are not interested in a first look usually think that by seeing each other beforehand, they will lose part of that reaction. They also assume it’s not going to be as emotional or as intimate as it would be if they were coming down the aisle.
This is going to start sounding like a research paper (haha!) but what I’ve found is that wedding days can be a bit stressful for the couple. The whole day is about them, the attention is on them, they need to look their best, and little by little the tension grows as the morning goes on. It’s before the ceremony and the gravity of what is about to happen starts to sink in and the calm that maybe they felt early in the morning is slowly making them anxious. So what happens next? Your partner waits in a little room waiting for their signal from the coordinator. Finally they get their signal and they enter the ceremony with clammy hands and what do they find? 80-100+ people staring directly at them. You wanna know why? Because EVERYONE expects a reaction from your partner! Every. single. person is watching their face! Don’t get me wrong, walking down the aisle is extremely powerful, beautiful and romantic but I found that my couples that did a first look before had calmed nerves, felt more relaxed during the ceremony AND could actually comprehend what was happening instead of “blacking out” because of nerves (you know that awful feeling where you are so nervous you can’t really remember exactly what happened and it goes by super fast?)
So what if I were to condense what I just wrote but instead include a first look? You and your partner are going to be nervous and tense no matter what, but instead of keeping your partner in a small space before the ceremony, what if you took them to a private place, no people, no distractions, no on-lookers and you let the love of their life slowly walk up to them, and gently tap them on the shoulder. They would turn around and finally get their first look with their stunning partner and not only would you get to see them…they could embrace them, cry with them, kiss them, and ENJOY the moment with them for as LONG as they wanted. You could spin around and show your dress a few times, and help diminish their nerves because after all, you’re the one that can make them most comfortable, right?
If that wasn’t enough for you, let me wrap up this blog post with my top 3 reasons for a first look!
If you didn’t pick up on anything from the paragraphs above, the first reason I love First Looks is my couples are able to spend a special moment together without distractions! Including me! I love shooting with a longer lens so I don’t have to be in my couples space during their first look but can still capture the moments and tears. Usually during traditional timelines, after the ceremony we are rushed to get in family photos, wedding party photos and then the day continues. When will you have a time to stop and spend a couple of special moments with your partner with no one around? I mean the day is about you guys after all!
The second reason for loving first looks is a tad selfish but also a gift to my couples. I love giving my clients the most of out of my services and first looks free up so much time during the day because after your first look we’ll take most (and hopefully all) of your wedding party photos before the ceremony. After your ceremony, we’ll usually take family portraits and then grab a few more of you and your love! You know what that means? EXTRA photos out of me! I love nothing more than couple photos. Usually after your ceremony the sunset is starting the set and everyone loves a good sunset session!
Reason 2 and 3 go hand in hand for sure, but another reason why I love first looks is my couples get to enjoy their cocktail hour. This is the biggest reason I decided to do a first look for my own wedding. I wanna spend as much time as possible with my guests and missing my entire cocktail hour wasn’t an option for me. I have a ton of out of town family and we wanted to spend as much time as possible with them.
But what if I really don’t want to do a first look?
This your 100% your day! I work with many traditional timelines and I absolutely still love doing it. I’m happy when my couples are happy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a traditional timeline, we’ve been doing it for years! BUT as your photographer, I want to give my couples every single option there is and maybe just explain what exactly a first look is for the couples that don’t fully understand it.
To my couples that have already discussed a traditional timeline with me, don’t worry! We are going to absolutely rock your day! If maybe you we’e on the fence for a first look and this helped validate your decision, then perfect! I want you guys to be confident in your decision!
I’d love to hear your thoughts below!