One of my favorite moments during a wedding day, is the First Look... no question about it. A First Look is when a bride and groom see one another before the wedding ceremony in a very special and moment. No words can describe the tender emotions and reactions of that instant when the couple sees each other for the first time on the most important day in their love story...
People always ask if Chris and I did a First Look, and I regrettably have to answer no. It wasn't because I didn't want to but simply didn't know what it was and that it was an option! I so WISH we had done a First Look and if we could do it all again, we definitely would without a doubt. When I walked down the over 90 foot aisle of the church we were married in (yes, it was a suuuper long aisle and I almost needed to take a break half way through... just kidding!) I couldn't really see Chris' reaction and when I got to the end of the aisle to him he just whispered to me and the ceremony began. In that moment what I really wanted to do was hug him, tell him how much I loved him... I wanted to hear how excited he was and how the morning was with the guys. I wanted to know if he liked my dress and I wanted to tell him how handsome he looked and wipe the tears from our eyes in a private moment. But all eyes were on us as the ceremony began, and we didn't have a chance to until after the ceremony... Because I so wish we had known what a First Look was and all the benefits, I make it a point to discuss with my couple's a First Look if they have not thought about it. Now it's just as important to note that a First Look is not for everyone, but this way each couple can decide for themselves!
There are a few benefits of doing a First Look and I wanted to break down some of the big ones... Soooo, without further ado:
Enjoying that special moment.
Being able to enjoy and savor that first moment of seeing one another on your wedding day... Without all your guests watching. Being able to hug/kiss/cry/laugh/smile and not feel like you have to hold back. Having that instant reaction and tender moment documented.
Doing a First Look provides much more time for photos without being rushed. Immediately after the First Look, I typically photograph the bride and groom together for a little while. Then I photograph the bridal party (the bridal party can meet the bride and groom at First Look location or wait in transportation until First Look and bride/groom photos are complete.) Family photos can even be done before the ceremony as well. Then after the ceremony, I usually do family photos if they have not been done already and additional photos of the bride/groom and sometimes more of the bridal party if time allows it.
Attending Cocktail Hour.
This ties into timing, but when we do the majority of photos before the cocktail hour, couples can attend some if not all of their cocktail hour. Doing a First Look and photos before the ceremony often allows for much flexibility and options with the wedding day timeline and photo opportunities.
Depending on what time of year a wedding is or how late the ceremony starts, a First Look enables the couple to have beautiful natural light photos while it is still light outside. If a couple is getting married in November on the east coast with an evening ceremony at 7:00pm, it will obviously be pitch dark outside when the ceremony is done. Doing a First Look, bride/groom photos, bridal party photos, and even family photos prior to the ceremony and sunset would allow for photos outside in the beautiful light...
Calming those nerves.
My brides are definitely less nervous for the ceremony and the rest of the wedding day when they do a First Look. They are just as excited and anxious, as are the grooms, but less nervous since they have already had time with their soul mate before the ceremony. One of my brides described it best when she told me that the First Look and walking down the aisle were two completely different experiences, but just as emotional and exciting. Walking down the aisle was something she had always dreamed about and the First Look was something she had been looking forward to in the year leading up to the wedding when they decided to do a First Look. And I will tell you that their First Look and walk down the aisle were so incredibly beautiful and emotional in their own way.
Here are some of our couples' amazing First Look photos... :)