I want to start this post by first saying that having a first look is totally up to the couple. A lot of couples still opt to go the more traditional route and there is nothing wrong with that! In fact, Zach and I were one of those couples. But between my own experience and spending several years in the wild world of weddings, I’ve been able to see a lot of positives to having a first look. I wish I would have known about them before my big day so I think it’s important to share with future brides and grooms. If you are completely against a first look, that is ok! Just skip this blog post and we’ll catch up again next week. However, if you’re curious, here are some of the benefits to having a first look.
So what is a first look? This new(ish) tradition is growing in popularity but not everyone has seen one done. A first look is a special time set aside usually earlier on in the wedding day for the bride and groom to see one another for the first time in their wedding attire. Generally, only the bride and groom are present but oftentimes family and members of the bridal party watch from afar. The bride taps the groom on the shoulder or calls his name and allows him to turn around and see her in all of her bridal glory. It’s pretty adorable, you guys.
So with it being so adorable, why is this considered to be a bad thing by so many? Rumor has it the whole “bad luck” thing started when arranged weddings were a thing. Back then the bride and groom weren’t allowed to see one another prior to the wedding. This was for fear that they would back out of what was often times a business deal between the two families. Not so romantic, huh? Plus, this concept is just a tad outdated. Below I’ve shared some of the best reasons for having a first look on your 21st century wedding day.
– Your wedding day is going to go by in a blur and 200 or so guests will all be wanting to talk to you. The first look is a dedicated part of the day for a few quiet moments with you and your soon to be husband or wife. Take this time to focus on just being together and soaking in the excitement with one another before the whirlwind begins!
– Having a room full of guests staring at you waiting to see your reaction can actually cause a groom to show no emotion at all. There is so much pressure on him to have this big reaction and it can make his face go blank. However with a first look, it’s just the two of you (and your photographer – hey!) so he can relax and show his true emotion.
– One big plus to a first look is that you can actually tell one another your first thoughts when seeing one another instead of waiting thirty to sixty minutes until your ceremony is over. This allows for a smooth transition into romantic portraits when you’re already in the right headspace.
– Zach and I decided not to do a first look and as a result, we spent most of our wedding day apart. I wish I would have realized this BEFORE I wrote off the idea of a first look because of “tradition” because we really didn’t get to spend most of our day together and that just doesn’t make sense! And I like it when things make sense. It was our wedding day, after all! It was supposed to be the happiest day of our lives but because I listened to what everyone else said I missed out on celebrating with the one person I wanted to spend the day with. I realized later that there just HAS to be a better way and a first look is the perfect solution for a lot of people!
Image shot for the amazing Roxana Snedeker Photography
– Emotions aside, first looks are also logistically better. Weddings have evolved over time and are no longer a quick afternoon event but are now full day affairs. If you decide not to do a first look you’ll want to plan to do all family photos, all full bridal party photos and all bride and groom photos AFTER the ceremony which can take well over an hour and keeps your hungry guests waiting. First looks will give you the flexibility to get all of your dream wedding photos while still making sure your guests have a great experience. Plus you get to relax and spend more time hanging out with the love of your life and your best friends. Now that’s a win.
So there you have it. These are the reasons why I feel that first looks are sort of like the wedding gift you give yourself. Set aside some time to sit down and talk about it, and maybe even make a pros and cons to list to see if a first look is the right fit for the two of you! And always remember that this is your special day and it should be how YOU want it. Happy wedding planning!
About the author: Alison is an Indianapolis based wedding photographer who loves working with joyful couples, celebrating timeless love and helping other small businesses grow.