Why Every Bride Should Consider a First Look

December 10, 2019

I know, I know… you’ve heard about this thousands of times already.  I get it! I know I’ve confessed my love for First Looks many, MANY times already, but there’s a reason for this… they are AWESOME!!

However, and I can speak from experience on this, not every bride knows how awesome they are or they convince themselves they don’t want one because they get caught up in how “untraditional” they are. I can talk about those brides because I was ONE of them!! When I got married, I dreamed of Adam’s reaction as he saw me for the first time.  And that’s truly what I wanted… a REACTION.  I wanted him to see me and be so overcome with joy that he was brought to tears. Isn’t that what every bride wants?! I’ve never met one that doesn’t want that!

But, what I didn’t realize is that it wasn’t the “tradition” of walking down the aisle to my groom that would get me the reaction I was looking for. Yes, that moment was AMAZING.  But after experiencing my own wedding and shooting dozens of others, I’ve come to this conclusion…

Some brides really do love & seek tradition, but what they are really looking for is a REACTION from their groom. For brides that initially aren’t interested in doing a First Look, it’s usually for one of two reasons:

  1. They think that if they see each other beforehand, it will ruin the moment when she walks down the aisle and they’ll lose that part of the reaction, and that it won’t be as special as if they were walking down the aisle. But, truth be told, what really happens is the complete opposite!!
  2. They want everyone (including mom & dad) to be a part of the moment when the groom sees the bride for the first time.

Now let me tell you a little about those two things!!

Wedding days, as wonderful as they are, are also stressful for everyone. It’s a lot to take in all at once.  It’s a day you’ve been planning for what seems like eternity. It’s especially stressful for the bride & groom. Everyone there is focused on them.  All details need to be perfect, they need to look their best, everything needs to be on time… and little by little, the tension of the day starts to grow.

It’s usually right before the ceremony that the heaviness of what is about to happen sinks in.  And before you know it, the groom who was “not nervous at all” starts to feel ANXIOUS.

He waits somewhere hidden for a while, and then finally, after what feels like forever, he gets his cue from the coordinator and the ceremony begins. With shaky hands, he starts walking into a room of 100-300 people, all staring directly at him.

Everyone in that room is looking at the groom because they all expect something from him. Tears. An emotional reaction. Intense anticipation.  And when you have hundreds people all watching you, I can tell you with certainty it is the FARTHEST thing from a calm, peaceful moment. Now, I LOVE ceremonies and they are completely wonderful and so special. The ceremony WAS the first time that Adam and I saw each other and I will never forget that. But we were nervous. Really, really nervous. If we had spent the morning with each other and our best friends and the pressure was OFF, the nerves would have been gone for the ceremony. And that is what I see from every single couple that does a First Look!!

In a nutshell, grooms are really, really nervous on wedding days.  All of them – don’t let them fool you, even if they seem calm! And for most, those nerves get REALLY intense right before they see their bride because that’s the moment when the wedding day isn’t just a day to celebrate… it becomes very REAL.

It’s at this moment, when instead of the groom waiting by himself to enter the ceremony, what if you took him to a private place with just the two of you. No distractions, no audience or crowds, and you let his stunning new bride, the love of his life, gently walk up to him and call his name. He turns around to see her, and instead of immediately moving into the next part of the ceremony, he could hug her and cry with her.  Tell her just how BEAUTIFUL she looks, right there in the moment. They could enjoy this moment for as long as they wanted. She gets to FINALLY show him her dress, twirl around, and watch him smile at her because she is just a dream and he can’t believe he gets to spend the rest of his life with her.

Then, his nerves start to disappear. Why? Because he’s with his bride.  And she is the love of his life.

Now, because there’s plenty of time before the ceremony and there’s no rush, they can move into their bride & groom romantic portraits.  It’s calm, peaceful, and they are in the PERFECT mood to do these, right after such a special, emotional moment together.  They can love on each other.  They can just BE together.  ALONE.  Because when does that happen on a wedding day WITHOUT a First Look?  It doesn’t!! After romantic portraits are done, we can bring in the girls and the guys and move straight into bridal party portraits! The girls love this because their makeup and hair is freshly done and they can do portraits when they feel their best! The guys love it because we can get portraits done right away, and then after the ceremony, they can go straight to cocktail hour! It’s a win for everyone! And not to mention, none of this is rushed.  No time checks or “15-minute!” warnings.  It’s just FUN.

Once portraits are done, the bride & groom have time to rest, get a glass of water, and relax before the ceremony begins. Pretty soon, it’s time to begin and the processional music starts to play.  The bridal party walks down the aisle. As the groom waits at the front and clasps his hands, they aren’t clasped out of nervousness, but from excitement. The music builds and everyone stands. The groom looks down the aisle and sees his bride. She is just beautiful. The closer she gets, the bigger his smile.

I do want to mention, and this is important: our couples are NOT in any way required to do a First Look! We absolutely shoot weddings without them and they are beautiful! But, I was a bride that didn’t know the benefits of a First Look. And as you can see, there are a LOT of benefits.  Had I known about them, I would have done one. I guarantee it.  I promised myself that I would never want another bride to opt out of a First Look simply because she wasn’t aware of how amazing they are.  Truly, I only share all of this because I want the best for my couples. If they choose not to do one, that is more than okay!! It’s just my preference to do one 🙂

To sum up the benefits for couples who choose to do a First Look:

You’ll get MORE portraits- WAY more!

You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography. With a first look, you’ll receive MORE portraits of the two of you… and those are the images you will decorate your first home and create albums with! With a first look, you make the most out of this large investment and get the most for your money.

You can enjoy the surprise FREELY!

You actually get to have intimate time on your wedding day with your man. Most brides don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally SHOCK him with your gorgeous-ness… he can’t even tell you how amazing you look.  He can’t touch you, embrace you or even SPEAK to you. You have to wait until 30 minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you how amazing you look.  And after 30 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance.

It’s your ONLY alone time

First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day. Normally portraits are a little rushed after the family formals, and it can be hard to really get back into that “lovey dovey” mode…. especially with family around! When you have just shared your first look, you’re READY to love on each other, and I always capture some super sweet images during those moments!

A First Look diminishes nerves

You get rid of your nerves!  I’d say, literally 1/2 of my couples who have decided to do a first look, the grooms were not fans of it at first. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve racking it can be. But, after the wedding day, most of our grooms to tell us how THANKFUL they were that they did a First Look instead of waiting for all the pressure to build at the ceremony!

Also, some of our couples tell us that their parents want to witness the first time the bride & groom see each other. Instead of opting out of a first look for this reason, there is an easy way to do both! I recommend having parents walk the bride over to the First Look so they can see it, and still feel like they are a part of this moment.

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