Two of my friends just got married. Before the wedding, I asked them if they were planning to have a “first look.”
A first look is when the soon-lyweds see each other before the actual wedding ceremony. Rather than waiting to see each other walk down the aisle, couples opt for an intimate moment with each other before the big day ahead of them. Typically, this means the photographer will arrange a surprise reveal of sorts for the brides/grooms.
They were both pretty opposed to the idea because it goes against tradition — one of them even insinuated that a first look was “cheating.” I was shocked that these 20-somethings, living in New York were so keen on first looks being fraudulent. Naturally, I gave them my two cents.
Whenever I get wedding submissions and the couple does a first look, they always mention that it was hands-down, the best moment of their day. If you are going the traditional route and not seeing each other until your both fully ready (hair, makeup, dressed to the nines), it’s even more powerful. Since there aren’t a sea of eyes all on the couple, the pair is more likely to express their emotions. Who is going to break down crying in front of 150 guests if they can avoid it? If it’s just you and your spouse-to-be, it’s going to get raw. And beautiful. My favorite images are always those from the first look. They are so genuine, unfiltered and moving.
Outside of the emotional realness, it’s the only time you have together during the day! Every other moment of the day will likely be spent making sure things are going okay, talking to guests, being in the spotlight. I love the idea of being able to take a deep breath together as you prepare for a huge step in your lives and a very hectic day.
If you opt to not do a first look, try a mini portrait session after the ceremony with just you and your spouse — get away from the craziness, leave the cocktail hour and spend a few minutes enjoying each other’s company. After all, this day is all about you two.