What is now a “First Look” everyone is talking about?
There are many words to describe weddings: beautiful, timeless, romantic, fun, exciting, precious, emotional, anticipation, tradition, memorable, but some people might add other words: stressful, nerve wracking, busy, pressure, appearances, expectations, superstitions. How do you feel about your upcoming wedding?
One of the more stressful parts of the happy couple’s day centers around not seeing each other before the ceremony. Tradition dictates that the groom waits to see his bride until the moment when his beautiful bride in all her glory walks down the aisle. This is a splendid moment full of emotions. There is no doubt, as a photographer, that this is a very exciting moment to capture, especially being two at your ceremony and capturing it from both, bride’s and groom’s view.
We would like to explain you in this article the pros and cons of a “First Look”; a notion, which you might have heard already here or there, but you don’t know exactly what it means. It’s not very popular yet in Australia, but in countries like USA (assuming it’s origin from there), lots of couples chose this alternative for their wedding day; becoming there even a new tradition. Many photographers in the USA even push their couples towards doing a first look.
We only want to make aware of this possibility for your special day, without saying it’s better than the old tradition. Each wedding day of our couples has a different timeline and sometimes the First Look might be a great alternative to give the couple more time and space to arrange their perfect day.
But what is now a “First Look”?
A first look is a special moment few hours before the ceremony where bride and groom see each other for the first time on the wedding day. This isn’t a replacement to the walking down the aisle experience, but it is actually in addition to that moment. So in essence you can see it as adding a moment to the day by getting a second special look instead of replacing it. This is usually setup by your wedding photographer to assure a smooth running. You can do it either alone, just you and your partner, away from everyone else or you let your families and bridal party join you. It’s totally up to you.
Additionally to having that moment for you, you can afterwards do already your formal group photos with close family members and bridal party, as well as your own portrait photos, giving you more freedom to plan the exact time you want to spend for your photos. This is a big advantage when you don’t want to keep your guests waiting after the ceremony, especially if you have ceremony and reception at one venue. Meaning, you can just embrace the congratulations after your ceremony concluded and go straight into the celebration of your reception/cocktail hour.
The good thing is even, you can chose the location where you see each other for the first time. It can be a garden, the beach, the venue of your ceremony, somewhere in the city, any place you want, you name it. In some cultures it’s even normal that the groom sees his bride before the actual ceremony, like at Asian weddings. By traditions the groom will arrive in the morning at the bride’s house to take part in some bridal games (activities set by the bridesmaids for the groom to show he loves her and is financially able to take care about his future bride), often followed by a tea ceremony and giving then the option to take portrait photos. So it can’t be all that bad to see her upfront, as in European traditions.
If you’re the type of person that gets nervous around crowds, doesn’t like to be the centre of attention or gets anxious rather easily, then this is a great option for you, it will calm your nerves. And if you don’t want to miss out of the anticipation of you walking down the aisle with the full attention of everyone, than you shouldn’t consider this.
I’ve put together some Pros & Cons of doing a First Look
- Adds another memorable moment to your day
- Takes pressure off a busy day and calms your nerves
- Enjoy a few minutes to yourselves in a day where everyone is vying for your attention
- Your photographer is able to capture dozens or even hundreds more beautiful photos with the extra time available
- Spend more time with your family and guests by getting all the most important photos done before the ceremony
- You will be able to enjoy more time of your cocktail hour/reception as you can mingle with your families and guests after your ceremony
- Depending of your arrangements, guests don’t need to wait hours between your ceremony and reception
- People describe their wedding day as one of the happiest days of their lives. It makes sense to spend more time with your life partner on the happiest day of your life
- Traditions will be changed
- May disappoint parents with expectations
- Depending of your schedule you may have to wake up earlier
- Your wedding dress will be NOT pristine for your ceremony
- You are actually not married during your portrait session
- Guests will be not part of the precious moment when you see each other for the first time
- Less anticipation when you walk down the aisle
As everything in life, a First Look has its two sides. It should be totally up to you and your fiancé/fiancee to decide, whether a First Look is the right addition to your wedding day or not. You shouldn’t get forced into this, just because your photographer likes to do it.
A “First Look” can be done also during your ceremony. This just means, that the groom is standing with the back towards the entrance and turns around when the bride is half way down the aisle. This is something, which is very emotional, as the groom’s expectation grows even higher, to view his bride for the first time. A very nice alternative to the original idea of the First Look, if you want to see each other for the first time during the ceremony.
Maybe consider as a main point, how you are going to arrange everything on the day. When is the ceremony going to start? When do you plan to do your grand entrance for your reception/cocktail party? Do you have to travel from your place of ceremony to your reception venue and how much time are you going to have between both? There are many factors to consider for the schedule of your big day, which may speak for a First Look or you can just stick to the tradition. We are always willing to assist our couples in planning and optimising their day’s timeline, to get the most out of it. So you can just benefit from our experiences 🙂 Please don’t hesitate to contact us, if you have any questions.
Thanks for your attention,