I’ve talked about my love for First Looks many times! The reason is because they’re awesome. As I’ve also talked about, I would never force my couple to do anything they don’t want to do. So planning to have a first look is a decision only you and your groom can make. No one else should force you to do it or not do it.
However. Not everyone realizes how awesome a first look is because they get caught up in how “non-traditional” it is and so they immediately write it off. I can talk about these brides because I was one of them. I wanted a reaction. I wanted my husband 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?!
But unfortunately, I didn’t get the reaction I wanted because he was so nervous about standing up there in front of everyone. I honestly don’t even know if he noticed me walking down the aisle until I was half way down. I wish I would have decided on a first look so that I could have had that special moment I wanted.
After experiencing my own wedding and shooting over a hundred others, I’ve come to the conclusion that some brides love traditions, but what they really want when it comes to their groom seeing them for the first time is a reaction. Those not interested in a first look usually think that by seeing each other beforehand, they’ll lose part of that reaction. They also assume that it won’t be as emotional or as intimate as it would be if they were coming down the aisle.
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 happen starts to sink in. The calm collected groom who was playing 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 cue from the coordinator. It seems like it’s taking For. Ever. 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 right at his face. Because everyone has expectations and anticipation about his first reaction. Time and time again, I’ve watched the majority of guests standing for the bride, but not looking at her. They’re all facing the wrong way looking at the groom to see his reaction.
This is the furthest thing from a private intimate moment. Sure it’s so wonderful and so magical. But when you have a first look, and then you walk down the aisle, your groom isn’t a nervous wreck. He spent the morning with you and your best friends, and the pressure was off. By the time your ceremony rolls around, he’s ready to enjoy your beautiful day.
The nerves are gone. And when the nerves are gone, true emotions are free to be expressed. Grooms become incredibly nervous on wedding days, even if they seem cool and collected. I’ve seen it time and time again. The nerves kick in before they see their bride because when they see her, everything becomes very real.
So when the nerves start kicking in, 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 onlookers. No distractions. And you let his beautiful bride, the love of his life, quietly call his name and have him turn around and finally 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. She shows him her dress, twirls a few times, and then asks him what he thinks. Because they aren’t on a time crunch, they easily move into their romantic portraits. No one is around. The coordinator isn’t announcing “15 minutes to go”, and there’s no pressure. It’s just the two of them and their photographer, capturing the excitement and the joy of their wedding day. When does that happen on a wedding day? Without a first look, it doesn’t.
I’ll say it once again: my clients are not required to do a first look by any means! I used to feel bad for sharing this option with couples who were against it because I didn’t want to push anything on them. It’s totally ok if couples choose not to share a first look! However, I’ve seen the benefits of a first look over and over and over again, so I only share this because I truly want the best for my couples!
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