Last night we taught a session during Simply Love Studio's Vacation Bridal School about First Looks vs. Tradition. It's good information for every engaged couple so we thought we would share it on the blog as well!
What is a first look?
For those who don't know, I'll explain what a first look is. Rather than waiting until the bride walks down the aisle at the ceremony, the couple has a specified time that they see each other before the ceremony. This typically takes place about one and a half to two hours before the ceremony. Once the bride is ready, Keith will take the groom to a pretty area around the location and have him to face away from the direction the bride will come. I (Melissa) will tell the bride where he is and give her the signal that it's time to come out. Once she's there, she can either call for him to turn around or she can walk up and tap him on the shoulder. At that point, Keith and I are standing at a distance, shooting the entire time. We can't hear what is said so it is a very sweet, intimate moment for the couple. We just let the couple take as long as they like and we don't interrupt them. We let them turn to us and tell us when they're ready to take portraits.
Pros of a first look
We love a first look. We know it's not for everyone but there are some reasons that it might be a good idea for you.
1. It's a time-saver. You can get to your reception much faster if you do the first look and then follow with portraits of yourselves, wedding party and family. All of that is finished up, with the exception of maybe some family members, so when the ceremony is over, you're headed to your cocktail hour/reception. Depending on your photographer, you can potentially get to your reception up to an hour faster. Your guests and family members will probably appreciate that plus you can begin socializing, eating and drinking faster!
2. It's a stress-reliever. Almost everyone gets nervous before the wedding. You're about to be the center of attention for 100-300 people and you want your fiancé to be blown away at the same time. It's nice for you to see each other beforehand because you already know that he thinks your stunning. During the first look you can talk about what has happened throughout the day and what is about to happen. It's just a great opportunity to get some of the jitters out before the ceremony.
3. It's an extra moment that is so special! This is an additional moment that will be a part of the memories of the day. There will be extra photos of the two of you and they're so sweet!
4. Your groom's reaction. Some brides really want that big reaction (maybe even a little crying?) when he sees them walking down the aisle. But, many grooms don't feel comfortable showing a lot of emotion during the ceremony when all of the guests are watching him. However, during a first look, they don't feel as self-conscious so they often have stronger reactions.
Cons of a first look
A first look on your wedding day may not be ideal if these cons are a big deal for you!
1. Your family members are very traditional. If your parents or grandparents really love traditions, you might not want a first look. You might be very traditional yourself as well, and that's fine! Either way, we believe that it is your wedding day and you should do what works best for you all as a couple!
2. You will need to be ready earlier. In order to get more photos out of the way before the ceremony, you will need to ready at least an hour or two earlier. If you are having a brunch wedding, that might be tough. Just consider what the best option is for you and your wedding day!
It's YOUR wedding day and it will be perfect whether you do a first look or a traditional meet-at-the-altar. If you have any other questions about a wedding day timeline and what might work best for your day and you as a couple, feel free to ask!