One of my favorite new traditions is the "First Look" so today I thought I'd cover some questions I often get about the "First Look".
What is a "First Look"?
It can be done many different ways, but it boils down to this: It is a time prior to the wedding ceremony where the bride and groom see each other and is usually captured by your photographer. With my couples, it is of course their call either way, when/if they decide to do a First Look we discuss what they want from it. I have had a couple who wanted a moment alone. They didn't want photos of the moment. They held up alone in a room for about 10 minutes to just be together. I have had other couples where not only do they see each other but they do it in front of their whole wedding party. Still others find a middle ground. They see each other in a private area and ask that I capture the reactions from a distance. It allows them to have the moment to talk and be together, which often isn't able to happen till after a long busy day otherwise, but still have that moment captured on film.
Why have a First Look?
The benefits can be wide spread depending on the couple and their desires. For me personally, I opted for a first look for many reasons Being a not a super traditional person the break from the "norm" didn't bother me, it boiled down to it was the best way to use the time, and I wanted a personal moment with Chris. We got all of our pictures done before hand except the large family picture (that way we didn't have to require all the family to arrive early to the wedding but instead just snapped like 4 pictures after the ceremony). On top of the practical reasons I didn't want to spend most of my wedding day away from the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with... I wanted to experience it with him. I loved the moment that only I got to see his expression of seeing me in my dress... I loved that I got a time to be with Chris before the day took off. I got time to sit and talk to him and be with him. I wouldn't trade it for the world!
Many of my couples that opted for a First look first had reservations about missing out on the moment, the reaction of first seeing each other. The question of breaking from Tradition. For each of these couples, and for my own experience I would say that the reaction wasn't lessened. Often in a wedding day the first time your husband sees you is when 50-300 people are staring at him waiting for his reaction. There is a lot of build up and pressure for him to have this moment with you in a public place. Most couples want to hug, hold hands and embrace when they see each other, there is so much to talk about, but all of that has to wait on a traditional wedding day till hours later. When you have a first look, not only do you see his reaction, not only is it captured for you but often his reaction isn't lessened for the big moment.
Basically the brass tacks:
A first look allows you...
To get a majority or all of your photos (depending on your desires and timeline) taken care of before the wedding.
To get about 30% more out of your wedding photography
To actually enjoy some or all of your cocktail hour
To see more of the guests you have invited to celebrate your day with you
To have a less stressful wedding day
To get the most from your Wedding photos
To get a moment and memory you will treasure forever
Yes, you are giving up the tradition, that moment of big reveal in front of everyone but you are starting a different tradition. You are the only one (or whoever else you want to be there) who gets to have that moment, and you can have photos capturing that moment.
Can a first look improve your wedding day schedule? Yes. Can it be an amazing memory? Yes. Is it for you? Only you can decide that. Much like everything else on your wedding day it is always the couple's call but whenever I'm asked my professional or personal opinion, I always recommend a First Look.
I used to shy away from mentioning my opinion of First looks because let's be honest who needs another opinion but with each and every couple that chooses to have a First look returning so overjoyed at their experience and stating how relaxed it made them I can't help but mention it now.
For clarity, I do not by any means require my couples to have a First look. Do I love them? YES! Do I think that it generally makes your wedding day a better experience for you? Yes. But it is always your choice! It is always your decision and it will be an amazing day no matter what you decide!
Live. Love. Loud.