I’ll stand in front of my pantry shifting my weight from left to right….I’ll scan the top down trying to decide what to eat. Life is like this sometimes, I’ll get stuck and find myself having a hard time making decisions…even over simple things. Obviously, deciding what to eat for breakfast is the smallest worries but I still find myself wasting time deciding.
So, when I think of the process for planning a wedding, I cannot even BEGIN to imagine what this is like. I have never been married and therefore have never planned a wedding. However, I’ve been a part of many…and along the way, I’ve learned a few things. During the intial consultation and throughout the process of working with the couples, I ask questions, make suggestions, and observe. I see the wedding day unfold and note what is successful.
One important note is that no wedding is perfect. There are bound to be miscommunications, and unexpected occurrences, but the important thing is the couple and the celebration…and that is always perfect. :) No matter how the day unfolds, what is most important is their ability to enjoy the day and have fun being together with those they love most.
So, today I thought it would be interesting to blog about the difference between doing a First Look or Not. For those who are unfamiliar with this term, the First Look is a term tossed around in the wedding industry defining the moment when a bride and groom see each other before the wedding (YES! Before…) I have no doubt that a few readers will gasp at this moment and potentially stop reading, but if you’ll give me the opportunity, I’d love to highlight the difference and why some people choose to do a First Look…or not.
A WEDDING DAY WHERE THE FIRST TIME HE SEES HER, IS WHEN SHE WALKS DOWN THE AISLE:
After I arrive at the bridal location to photograph the details and getting ready shots, we determine a location for the bridal groups (whether this is at the bridal preparation spot or at the ceremony location). In the case of Addie of Justin’s wedding, I found a well lit location just outside the church.
After the girls are tucked away, I grab the groom and groomsmen for their photos.
All the groomsmen and bridesmaids are free to relax after their group photographs and individual photo have been taken. For Addie + Justin’s wedding, Addie told me that she wanted images of she and Justin together without actually seeing each other. She wanted to stick to the tradition of having him wait until she walks down the aisle and so I thought this was such a fun compromise which allowed to get some really beautiful photos of them before the wedding. The actual process of choosing a spot and coordinating the encounter can be tricky, but it’s worth the risk.
It was actually quite neat seeing them but knowing that they could not see each other.
….and of course, this was the moment that Addie and Justin held out for, when she walks down the aisle.
After my brother and sister-in-laws wedding two years ago, I made a promise to myself that even if the bride and groom choose not to see each other before the wedding, I would always make sure to set aside at least 15-20 minutes after the family photos are taken to capture beautiful images of the two of them together.
If it isn’t for this time, all shots of the bride and groom risk being in the moment shots of them talking, dancing and potentially not together. There are so many friends and family members at the wedding, it’s nice to have this time for the two of them…alone, and documented. :)
THE FIRST TIME THEY SEE EACH OTHER IS DURING THE FIRST LOOK:
There are advantages to doing the first look if a bride and groom are willing to go against the known tradition of waiting to see each other as the ceremony begins. From a photographic stand point, it allows the bride and groom to have beautiful images of them together the moment they see each other, photos of them in a short session pre-ceremony, creative shots of the full bridal party, and the opportunity to take family photos before the wedding begins so that they can travel to the reception immediately following the ceremony.
When Dustin and Gretchen told me they wanted to do a First Look, I was beside myself with excitement and nervousness. I wanted it to be perfect. Dustin knew they would see each other but had no idea how or when. I pulled him outside and pretended as if we were doing a quick shoot with just him. And just as I began to press and release the shutter, Gretchen knew to walk out from where she was hidden.
The moments that unfolded were incredible. It was just the three of us outside, I was not saying anything, only capturing the moments that happened. Tears fell as he reached for her hand. He spun her around and told her he loved her.
Wedding days happen so quickly, I often hear couples say it was like a blur and they wished it could have lasted longer. For the couples I work with, I encourage them to consider doing a First Look so that they can have this time together, with just the two of them and no one else. It’s a time for them to just stop and be…and to enjoy each other on their wedding day.
After the First Look, we’ll transition into a short session with the bride and groom….these images are usually playful and exciting as the wedding ceremony is almost here!
Being that the bride and groom have seen each other for the first time, we are able to do the full bridal party picture in whichever location we choose, with the option of even being outside in natural daylight as most First Looks happen earlier in the evening.
We can even do shots of the groom with the bridesmaids….
….and the bride with the groomsmen.
And of course, we will also do shots of the bride with ther bridesmaids and the groom with this groomsmen as well. :) As Gretchen walked down the aisle,
I can assure you he cried all over again.
Dustin and Gretchen even chose to shoot their family photos prior to the ceremony. And so, as the ceremony ended, they were able to proceed more quickly to their reception without spending time photographing in the church. :)
So, whether you’re deciding what to eat for breakfast or whether or not to do a First Look for your wedding day, I hope you take the chance to consider all the possibilities. In the end, how you choose to see each other for the first time on your wedding day is your decision….and both are great choices because you end the day as husband and wife.
This decision should be what makes you feel comfortable and creates the day that YOU want.
Have a wonderful day!