Traditionally, a bride and groom see one other for the first time as the doors of the church opened… but as the years have passed, weddings have become less and less traditional. For example, less than half of my clients are even married in churches! (I wasn’t!) And more brides and grooms are choosing to stray from tradition and choose a First Look.
What’s a First Look?
A First Look is a private moment, a couple hours before the ceremony, where the groom sees his bride for the first time. It’s the “front of the church” moment but without a hundred pairs of eyes on you! Just the soon-to-be-married couple and their photographer. After the First Look, the bride and groom portraits are taken followed by wedding party photos.
1. Lose the Nerves
Wedding day nerves are real! It’s a big day with lots of big moments… all of your planning has led up to this one celebration. The anticipation of friends and family all being together in one room, plus the emotion of pledging your life to someone… well, it’s a lot to handle. Seeing your almost-spouse before the ceremony is a weight off of your shoulders. You can relax! You get to hold their hand! You can see them! It’s a great feeling.
2. Quality Time
Many times, I’ve heard from married couples how little time they had to talk one-one-one with their spouse on the wedding day. There’s a hundred (or two hundred!) guests to talk to! Guests who’ve traveled a far distance! There’s a timeline to stick to! Things happening in every corner of the room!
I didn’t want this to be us. I was marrying Randy and I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him, really talking to him, looking at him, on our wedding day. A First Look was the only way we wanted to go. Randy was so nervous before we saw one another… and free to be nervous without a hundred eyes on him. ;) I was so happy and free to grin like a crazy woman without feeling self-conscious when we saw one another for the first time. We could kiss, talk, laugh and know the only person watching was a photographer we trusted.
First Look pictures are some of my favourite. You can “feel” and remember the emotion of the day looking back on these private moments.
3. Enjoy Cocktail Hour
Another detail important to us was our guests. We carefully chose 150 guests to attend our wedding and we wanted to spend time with them! Having a ceremony and then rushing off into 1-2 hours of photos didn’t sound like fun to us. We’d return for dinner and then have to shove food down (or not eat at all?) and spend the night wandering around at tables. No, no, no.
We had a “First Look,” captured all of our portraits together and then invited our bridal party to join. We had fun laughing and talking with them and effortlessly moved into the ceremony. After the ceremony and a few minutes of family photos, we had almost two hours to hang out at “cocktail hour” with our guests. (We had punch and snacks. Not cocktails. But “punch and snacks” hour doesn’t sound as catchy.) We managed to say hi to literally every person at our wedding. The best part about it? Dinner wasn’t rushed. We sat at our head table (just the two of us) and for almost a half hour enjoyed our dinner. When we mingled at the reception, it was because we wanted to, not to say hello to guests for the first time.