One question I always get from my couples who are just starting to plan their wedding is...
"Should we do a First Look?"
The answer, is an astounding... YES!
Let's get into it.
1. You will get significantly better reaction photos
I get it. You want the drama, the emotion, the reaction of having your partner see you for the first time walking down the aisle. The biggest challenge is, I, as the photographer, have no control over the ceremony lighting or location. More often than not, ceremony sites have weird shadows and harsh sun. Have you ever tried taking a quality photo of someone squinting directly into the sun or standing with a tree shadow across the center of their face? I have. I don't recommend it.
The best way to capture your partner's tears of joy, giddy giggles, and/or sheer disbelief is in soft, consistent lighting chosen by yours truly (dramatic curtsey).
2. It's perfectly private
Now picture this... you see your husband/wife-to-be for the first time as the music plays. You make your way towards them, so full of emotion that you can't think straight. With your eyes locked on each other you are now close enough to speak or touch or kiss or hug... you reach out and have this perfect mome- NOPE YOUR CEREMONY HAS STARTED AND EVERYONE IS STARING AT YOU. No time to talk! No time to savor this tender and precious memory! The officiant has started!
Ok now *rewind noise*...you are now close enough to speak or touch or kiss or hug...you reach out, pull them in, and share a delicate yet electrifying embrace. You whisper and giggle in their ear and their hand find yours. It's just the two of you. For the first time that day your stress melts away as you stand wrapped in your person's arms as you intimately celebrate the beginning of your life together.
*Sassy shrug* your choice
I will say if you or your fiancé appreciate sharing moments together privately, a First Look is a necessity at your wedding. AND...I will give you another suggestion... a lot of my couples take this alone time during the First Look to share some or all of their vows. It's the perfect opportunity.
3. You will spend more time with your guests
This should be obvious but we can't take family photos and wedding party photos unless we have both the bride(s) and groom(s) in the same photo. Crazy I know. So if you are not doing a First Look, you won't be able to see each other before the ceremony and that pushes all those photos into...you guessed it... your cocktail hour!
One of the requests I hear the most during wedding photography consultations is 'we want to remember our day together celebrating with our guests, our loved ones, our friends and family.' Well. No FL essentially means no cocktail hour for the bride and groom and that means less time connecting and celebrating with your wedding guests. Instead that time goes to Family Formal photos and Wedding Party portraits.
Furthermore, depending on the size of your wedding party, we might even have to steal time away from your romantic sunset portraits Literally my nightmare. (I am so serious about that being my literal nightmare lol)
4. The tradition has some...umm...not-so-romantic origins
So. You really want to know. Ok don't get mad at me. The tradition of not seeing your bride or groom on the wedding day started pre-18th century when the bride's father would try to marry her off to a rich man in order to further his family's own wealth and status. Already gross. Because a lot of marriages in that time were pre-arranged, the bride and groom would not meet before their wedding day.
Now, Daddy Dearest has promised his daughter's hand to a strange wealthy man (SWM for short) and is a little bit worried that if SWM sees her before the ceremony and SWM doesn't think she is attractive or desirable, SWM could call off the wedding bringing ultimate shame and misfortune to the whole family. So to avoid the risk of ruining the bride's family's entire reputation based on how attractive or unattractive a man thinks she is = man no see bride b4 w3dDiNg. Don't even get me started about veils.
Aww. So romantic.
5. You get ANOTHER portrait session
A whole extra lil' tabby section in your gallery called 'First Look.' More photos of precious, intimate moments that would not exist. Not to mention more time with me! Your favorite photographer.
So I will leave you with this thought...
Tell me. What is the difference between your fiancé's reaction to seeing you for the first time in front of all your wedding guests versus your fiancé's reaction to seeing for the first time in a private, intimate setting? I know the answer...do you?