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Your First Look can be an amazing part of your wedding day! If you aren’t so sure about this “new tradition”, I am going to explain why it would be a romantic addition to your wedding day celebration that not only adds to the experience, but also reduces stress. Please know that I would never want any of my couples to feel pressured to go with this option – I also fully support my couples who choose to have a traditional Aisle First Look. However, I do want to make sure that I share all of the benefits of a First Look, because there is a reason most of my couples do this and LOVE it!
I have confessed my deep love for “First Looks” numerous times on my Instagram feed and I tend to point them out in every featured wedding blog post. There is a reason for this. They’re AWESOME! However, not everyone is aware of how amazing they are because they get caught up in how “non-traditional” it is and they immediately write it off. I can talk about those brides because I was one of them! I wanted a REACTION….I wanted Adam to be so surprised and overcome with joy when I walked down the aisle that he bawled at the first sight of me! Isn’t that EVERY girl’s dream? Who doesn’t want that reaction?
After experiencing my own wedding and photographing many others, I’ve come to this conclusion…some brides love “traditions,” but what a bride REALLY wants when it comes to her groom seeing her for the first time, 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 that it will not be as emotional or as intimate as it would be if they were coming down the aisle. However, what I have found to be true is the exact opposite! Let me paint the picture for you…
Everyone knows that wedding days are a bit stressful for the bride and groom. The whole day is focused on them, they need to look their best, they need to be on time, the groom has no idea what side the boutonniere is supposed to go on and little by little… the tension grows. It’s before the ceremony and the gravity of what is about to hap-pen starts to sink in and the calm, collected groom who was play-ing golf just a few short hours ago is now starting to feel a little anxious. So what happens next? The groom waits in a little room somewhere for his que from the coordinator. It seems like it’s taking FOREVER. Finally, the coordinator leans her head in and hurries the groom to get ready. With clammy hands, the groom enters the ceremony and what does he find? He finds anywhere from 80-300 people and they’re all looking where? Right at his face… because everyone has expectations and anticipation about his first reaction. This is the farthest thing from a private, intimate moment.
For most grooms, the nerves kick in before they see their bride because when they see her, everything becomes VERY real! So when the nerves start creeping up, instead of keeping the groom in a secluded space until his time to enter the ceremony, what if you took him to a private place…no people, no on-lookers, no distractions…and you let his beautiful bride, the love of his life, quietly call his name and have him turn around to see her for the first time. He would turn around and finally get his first look at his stunning bride and not only would he get to see her, he could embrace her, cry with her, kiss her, and ENJOY that moment with her for as LONG as they wanted. As she shows him her dress, twirls a few times and then asks him what he thinks, his nerves start to diminish. After all, she’s the one who can make him most comfortable anyway.
Because they aren’t on a time crunch, they casually move into their romantic portraits. No one is around, the coordinator isn’t announcing “15 minutes left”, and there is no pressure. It’s just the two of them and their photographer….. capturing the excitement and the joy of their wedding day. This is their time to be TOGETHER and to be ALONE. When does that happen on a wedding day? Without a First Look…it often doesn’t. After their romantic portraits are done, they meet up with their best friends. Their bridal party joins them and because they still have plenty of time to spare, the bride touches up a little makeup while the boys act like boys. After a few minutes the bridal party portraits begin and they’re FUN. They’re FUN, because there is time to make them FUN.
After portraits are done the girls and guys separate and prepare for the ceremony. The guests begin to arrive and the ushers are in place. Pretty soon it’s time for the processional music to begin and one by one, the bridesmaids make their way down to the front of the ceremony. As the groom clasps his hands, they aren’t clasped out of nervousness but excitement. The music builds, the mother of the bride stands and all of the guests follow her lead. The groom looks up, and here comes the BRIDE!!! His best friend, his companion, his sweetheart, she’s stunning, ABSOLUTELY stunning. The closer she gets, the bigger he smiles. She got the reaction she has always dreamed of TWICE now and is overcome with her own emotions and joy. After the ceremony, the new husband and wife are able to actually enjoy their cocktail hour with their guests because the formal wedding party and family portraits have already been taken care of. There aren’t any guests waiting impatiently at the cocktail hour and there isn’t a DJ coming to find the photographer to get a time check. It’s wonderful!
Now let me put a disclaimer on here before we continue…my clients are NOT required to do a First Look by any means! I used to feel a little guilty for sharing this option with couples who were against it, because I didn’t want to push anything on them. However, I’ve seen the benefits of a First Look over and over again, so I only share this because I want the BEST for my couples!! It’s totally ok if couples choose not to share a First Look; it’s just my preference to do one for many reasons….For couples not interested in a First Look, a First Touch can be a great way to get some of the same benefits.
A First Touch is an alternative to a First Look – it honors the tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other until the ceremony, but also offers the opportunity of a special moment to let all of the nerves and emotions out before the ceremony. Couples use this time to exchange gifts, read letters to each other, have an intimate conversation, or sometimes just pause from the busyness of the day and be in silence together. Usually the First Touch will take place on either side of a door, wall, or corner of a building.
So, with ALL of that being said, the decision is yours and I will do EVERYTHING humanly possible to create the BEST possible experience for you. I respect your decision and your opinions, so please don’t hesitate to ask me questions as you discern whether or not a First Look, First Touch, or traditional Aisle Moment is right for you!! No matter what, you’re going to have the most beautiful wedding day; I just want to make sure I help you make it as stress-free as possible!
FEATURED FIRST LOOK WEDDING: Julianne & Nick’s Waldenwoods Wedding
FEATURED FIRST TOUCH WEDDING: Brooke & Jon’s Odin’s Owl Wedding
FEATURED AISLE MOMENT WEDDING: Marika & Theo’s Grecian Center Wedding
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