Do you know what a first look is? I really wish I would have known about it before I got married. See, my wedding was pretty much the first wedding I'd ever attended and I figured that the first time the groom and bride saw each other was during the ceremony. If I would have known what the first look was then I would have definitely opted to go with it. Now, I know there are some that are superstitious and really believe that it's bad luck for the groom and bride to see each other before the wedding, but read on and you may just change your mind.
A huge thanks to Carolyn Scott, the talented Raleigh wedding photographer, for sharing her insights on what the first look is and why it's a good option.
(photo credit: Kelli Nicole Photography)
The 1st Look: What It is and Why It’s Awesome
By Carolyn Scott
There are a lot of different ways to organize the pictures on your wedding day, but one thing that saves time and sanity every time is doing a “first look”. So what is it? Why would you do one? I’m glad you asked…
Doing a first look simply involves seeing your future husband or wife before the ceremony as opposed to seeing each other for the first time while walking down the aisle. I know that as little girls we all dreamed of seeing our sweetheart through a romantic and dramatic veil of tears as we walked down the aisle, but things have gotten a little bit more realistic. So why do the first look?
1. The movie entrance you’re envisioning isn’t entirely realistic: Now, before anyone gets upset, this is a generalization and may not be true for everyone, but it certainly was for me. I had to walk down a flight of modernist stairs in order to see my beau, in a gown, in three-inch heels. Clutching a bouquet in one arm and my dad on the other. I was so incredibly nervous (and concentrating on not falling and holding on to everything) that I do not even remember walking down the stairs let alone seeing my future husband. Granted, not everyone has to walk down steps, but plenty of my friends have this moment conveniently blocked from their memory as well. You’re surrounded by friends and family. Everyone is staring at you, and you’re trying to remember exactly what it is you’re supposed to do when you approach the ceremony point.
How does the 1st look help? The first look helps by creating a private space for just you and your sweetheart to see each other beforehand. No family members, no groomsmen cheering inappropriately. It’s typically just you and your photographer(s)… with the photographer(s) hopefully being very inconspicuous and allowing you a bit of silence and space.
2. Let the silence be broken and the nerves be calmed: Upon walking down the aisle, you’ll see your sweetheart and grab his or her hand, then turn to face your officiate. Later, after walking down the aisle, you’ll be scooped up by your photographer and ushered off to the reception. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to exchange a few hurried words.
How does the first look help? The first look will provide you the opportunity for some much cherished time alone with your sweetheart when he actually tell you what he thinks about what you’re wearing! You can talk about the little mishaps of the morning before you forget and the day goes by in a rush. It’s a nice breather. In addition, I was terribly nervous before the ceremony and had spent a long time without my best friend and person who is constantly by my side, so it was absolutely wonderful to see him. I was so relieved to be with him that I got teary eyed and was so happy to remain by his side before the ceremony.
3. It saves time: If done in a traditional way, weddings usually require a cocktail hour after the ceremony. At this time, you take family portraits, bridal party portraits, and newlywed portraits. Things are usually rushed and a little crazy because your reception guests are at the venue waiting for you.
How does the first look help? The first look helps by getting all of your pictures out of the way early. You can do your first look, your bridal party, your family, and your newlyweds all before the ceremony or you can save just your family for afterward like we did. That way you save all of your guests from waiting around and becoming antsy, and you can enjoy your cocktail hour or a longer reception.
4. It saves money: A typical cocktail hour can be pricey, especially if it’s an open bar.
How does the first look help? It can easily eliminate the use for a cocktail hour entirely by taking only family pictures afterward, something that can be accomplished in 10 minutes, and moving straight along to the reception.