The First Look

There’s a tradition that on the wedding day, the bride and groom don’t see each other until the bride starts her walk down the aisle. But as we’re seeing more and more lately, things are changing. In the past year, several of my brides and grooms have opted for what is called a “first look”. It used to be that seeing the bride before the ceremony would bring bad luck, but I have yet to see any of the couples that opted to have a first look get that ‘bad luck’. If the photography portion of your wedding day is important to you, you should consider doing a first look.

A first look is essentially a block of time prior to the wedding ceremony, after the dress is on and makeup has been completed where the bride and groom see each other for the first time. Normally, it’s a quiet moment where the groom waits with his back to where the bride will be arriving from. She’ll walk up from behind him and turn him around and they’ll each get that first look of each other. It’s a tremendously emotional moment where the bride and groom can take the time they need to say hello, and spend a moment together before the madness of the rest of the wedding day events begin. My role in this moment is to stand back (usually with a long lens so I’m not in your face) and capture those quiet moments. Once you’ve had a few minutes, we’ll normally begin with some family formals. Everyone is looking great, feeling good, and excited for the day ahead.

There are many reasons that you might consider incorporating a first look into your wedding day. Here are just a few.

It will re-balance the wedding day schedule and save time shooting formals.

From a photographers standpoint, anything that helps you get from your ceremony to your reception swiftly is good for all. We’ve all been guests at weddings and have seen an hour, sometimes two hours go by before the bride and groom reappear and get announced into the reception. A first look will avoid that epic downtime between events because you will have already taken the bulk of the formals prior to the wedding ceremony. It’s also a big help if your wedding ceremony is finishing up after the sun has already set.

You will avoid that ‘rush-rush’ feeling between the ceremony and the reception altogether.

By taking care of many of the family and bridal party portraits before the ceremony, it cuts down on the amount you’ll need to cover between events. It allows your guests less wait time before being seated, and it keeps the pulse of the day moving swiftly.

You get to slow down and make some fantastic and emotional pictures of just the two of you.

This is probably my favorite part of the day – the couples portraits. It’s the detail that really shows the connection between the bride and groom more than any other images from the day, in my opinion. Taking the time before the ceremony to photograph some (or all) of those quiet, relaxed portraits really allows the bride and groom to slow down and savor the moment before getting pulled hundreds of different directions once the day gets moving.

It may not be something that you’d previously considered, but the first look might quite possibly be a welcome addition to your wedding day.

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One Response to “The First Look”

  1. [...] and TJ opted for a first look before the ceremony on the docks in Bristol. Then they made the short walk to Linden Place for [...]

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