For those who may not be familiar with the term, a First Look is when a bride and groom opt to see each other prior to the ceremony. DON'T LEAVE THE PAGE JUST YET! All too often, brides hear this term and immediately reject the idea, and while it's not for everyone, I believe all brides should be educated on the benefits of opting to see each other before the walk down the aisle.
Josh and I did not do a First Look, as I was insistent on him seeing me for the very first time as I walked down the aisle, and while that was wonderful, I've learned that it is just as, if not even more, special having your groom see you in an intimate moment without a huge audience. The really surprising thing about it is that even when a couple has a First Look, the groom still gets emotional seeing his bride walk down the aisle to him. The fact of the matter is, now that we are working in the wedding industry and have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, we have wished many times that we had chosen to have those precious few moments alone before the wedding.
I, too, used to think that First Looks were only for couples who had no appreciation for tradition, but what I've found is that couples in all shapes and sizes opt to see one another prior to the festivities. We've had very traditional and conservative couples, as well as much more modern couples looking to shake things up a little, elect for a First Look. Let's get real - breaking tradition isn't going to bring 9 years of bad luck on your marriage, and while we agree that parents, who often hold tight to tradition, are a very important and special part of your day, it is, in fact, your day and if in the end, you're happy, they'll be happy, too.
Which brings me to this week's Friday Five... 5 Reasons to Consider a First Look.
1. A First Look allows the bride and groom to spend some quality time alone on the wedding day. Let me give you some insight as a past bride - without a First Look, you don't get even 5 minutes to speak to and spend time with your groom alone on the wedding day. In the hustle and bustle of the day's activities and being shuffled from one photo op to another, there is very little time left to enjoy the moment together without being surrounded by a group of people. We usually set aside at least 45 minutes for a First Look to allow the two of you plenty of time together.
"I decided to do a first look mainly because I thought it was a wonderful idea to take a second out from that important day and just connect with your honey and love on each other before the mayhem began! Adrian agreed and as usual after he reflected on it he loved it!" - Kamisha, married June 2012 at the Loft at Union Square, High Point, NC
2. A First Look allows you to go straight from ceremony to reception without keeping your guests waiting. Without a First Look, the typical time between the end of the ceremony and the couple arriving at the reception is around one hour, and can be even longer if the bride needs a makeup touch-up after the ceremony (face the fact that you might shed a tear or two during the wedding) or if your ceremony and reception are taking place at different venues. When our couples do a First Look, we create a timeline that allows us to photograph the bridal party, family, and bride and groom ALL before the ceremony even takes place. Then, we'll typically pull the bride and groom out of the reception for about 15 minutes at sunset to get those beautiful dusk photographs. That means no rushing through photos and no guests waiting for you to make your big entrance! A First Look is an especially great idea if your ceremony will be ending within an hour of sunset in order to allow plenty of time for outdoor portraits before it gets dark.
3. Couples who do a First Look typically have more photographs. This goes along with what I mentioned above, but when a bride and groom are taking photos before the ceremony, we are able to allocate more time for beautiful, magazine-worthy photos of the new Mr. and Mrs. We sometimes set aside as much as an hour for the First Look itself and portraits of the bride and groom. The typical amount of time for portraits for couples not doing a First Look is only 20 minutes.
4. A First Look calms a nervous bride... or groom. It's normal to be a little nervious or anxious on your wedding day, and for most brides, the cure for that is seeing your handsome hunny. Seeing him a couple of hours before the ceremony means a couple of hours less stress for you. After a First Look, you can go through the day feeling confident, beautiful, and just as happy as you should be on your special day!
"I was so nervous about seeing Jason. If I had waited until everyone was watching, I probably would have exploded. As it was, I got to see him at noon, just me and him, with my daddy holding my dress, and our family watching from the windows. Very special and private." - Nancy, married December 2011 at the Rogers-Green House, Laurel, MS
5. Couples who do a First Look have more freedom of location and more control over the setting. Because a First Look makes the schedule a bit more flexible, a bride can choose to see her groom for the first time at a different location than the ceremony venue. Having a church wedding and a ballroom reception, but really want photos in a downtown setting or at the family's farm? We can usually arrange that, as long as it is within a 20-30 minute drive of your ceremony location. Also, YOU have control over the setting for your First Look. Some couples choose to be completely alone in the intimate moment when they see each other for the first time, while others choose to have the bridal party or family looking on. Recently, we had a bride's father escort her to her groom during the First Look. It's really all about what you want!
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