I have this conversation with every single one of my wedding clients. I normally introduce the idea of a “First Look” at our initial meeting. Some have heard of it, others haven’t. So I will explain what it is first. A First Look is when a bride and groom decide to see each other, before their ceremony, in an specific location for the first time in a completely intimate and special way, and then do their portrait session BEFORE the ceremony. Why do I LOVE them? They give you this amazing, personal moment, and allow SO MUCH more flexibility in your wedding day timeline. You can do some quick family photos after the ceremony and head straight to your reception where all your friends and family are waiting to celebrate and party with you. So many couples, especially in the Pittsburgh area still hesitate because of superstition and/or have families that are concerned about tradition. I COMPLETELY understand the hesitation, but take the time to consider all your options! :)
I invited one of my fantastic brides Lauren to share their first look experience with my future brides and blog readers! Thank you guys!
q: Why did you choose to do a first look
A few reasons. For practical purposes we wanted to get as many of formal photos (portraits, families, wedding party etc.) done before the wedding and reception so that we didn’t have to run off for an hour after the ceremony and had more time to spend with our guests. And because we decided that we wanted to spend the whole day together, instead of being separated until the start of the ceremony. We felt that there was a lot to celebrate in the preparation itself and wanted to share that as well.
q: How would you describe the moment when you saw each other
He was probably more surprised than I was…I helped pick his suit, tie etc. and had seen him in it, but he didn’t want to see the dress until the day of. But it was really our first moment alone that day (even though our families were spying from the living room) so it was nice to have a few minutes to appreciate how handsome he looked, and be excited together, and have that moment of realization that it was all really happening.
q: Do you think seeing each other before your ceremony made a difference in your timeline and the flow of your day?
We wanted to spend the whole day together, so the first look allowed us to do that and still have that moment of surprise. Also we didn’t have to take time away from the reception to take photos. I think it also kept us relaxed, and allowed us to get a ton of great photos because we gave ourselves the time.
q: How do you think the first look changed the moment you walked down the aisle? Did it take away from the emotion? Did it make it better/less special/different? (if you guys could answer this one separately, that would be awesome. I need the groom’s perspective).
Again we really wanted to spend the whole day together so it was exactly what we wanted. Also for me, I have never been a fan of being up in front of a lot of people, so I think seeing Noah before helped me to be more calm. That being said, I still had butterflies and my hands were shaking for the first five minutes we were standing up there and I never felt like seeing each other before the ceremony stole the thunder from the moment.
q: If you could do it all over again, would you do a first look again?
Definitely, the whole day was so relaxed and enjoyable, and I’m so glad we were able to share the whole day from start to finish.
q: Any other thoughts?
I think our families were skeptical at first because there’s such a strong tradition (and some superstition) about not seeing each other before the ceremony, but they were willing to go along with whatever we decided. In the end everyone had such a nice day, and afterward my mom kept commenting on how glad she was that we chose to do it that way. She was really happy about having everyone together, and that the day was so relaxed and enjoyable.