My husband and I went back and forth a few times when deciding whether or not to do a "first look" on our wedding day. We ultimately decided we were in favor of this special moment of seeing each other prior to the ceremony, and were pleasantly surprised to find that it was one of the best decisions we made.
While it may not be for everyone, it was certainly the right call for us, and here’s why:
I was just really excited to see him.
Maybe I’m just insanely impatient, but as soon as that veil was fastened into my hair, I was ready to see my groom. I didn’t want to wait one more minute. I also knew we would want to chat and laugh with each other as soon as we were together, which would be a bit difficult to do at the altar. I was glad we had the opportunity to hang out for a few minutes, just the two of us, before the momentum of the day kicked up to full force.
It felt (unexpectedly) natural.
Frankly, I was worried that the first look might feel a little awkward. I mean, the whole concept of tapping your groom on the shoulder, hugging and checking each other out and trying to have a moment while a photographer snaps photos a few feet away? Didn’t that seem a little...stiff and staged and just all around strange? To my surprise, though, it actually felt completely natural and sweet. We hardly noticed the cameras. Because here’s the thing: your wedding photographer is a pro. Professional photographers are experts at making their subjects feel at ease in front of the lens, and they have this amazing ability to somehow blend into the background during these moments. Plus, we were so caught up in seeing each other for the first time on our wedding day that we just didn’t really think about what was going on around us. Tip: if you can’t decide, book your wedding photographer for an engagement session and see how it goes. You may find that being in front of the camera feels more comfortable and relaxed than you expected, and it will also give you a chance to bond with your photographer.
It eliminated a lot of rushing.
Honestly, the first look just made more sense from a logistical standpoint. I know, I know, there's nothing romantic about logistics, but there's also nothing romantic about feeling rushed and stressed out. Our day-of timeline was pretty tightly packed, and being able to knock out most of the formal portraits (bride and groom, wedding party, a few family photos, etc.) before the ceremony gave us some much-needed breathing room. We were able to take our time and relax a bit, and it just made the event go smoothly. The few formal photos we did save for after the ceremony felt hurried and tense compared to those taken beforehand, and at one point, my husband and I turned to each other and said, “Wow, good call on the first look. Phew.”
We felt relaxed and present during the ceremony.
I was worried that having a first look might make the ceremony processional feel a little anticlimactic. (In hindsight, I have to laugh at myself a little bit for worrying about this. What, did I think we'd both go, "Meh, I’ve already seen you today. Old news. Over it." or something? Still, I understand the concern.) Luckily, that wasn’t the case at all. Walking down the aisle still felt special and exciting, and seeing my groom at the altar was still a dreamy, unforgettable moment. The first look melted away any jitters we may have had, which I think made it a bit easier to really be in the moment and enjoy the ceremony. With my mind clear and at ease, I was able to focus on what was going on around me, and I’m grateful for that.
It gave us more time with our guests.
This is what ultimately sold us on the whole first look thing. We really wanted to be able to spend as much time as possible with our guests, particularly since most of them traveled from out of town to be there. Instead of spending an hour taking photos after the ceremony, we were able to squeeze in a few quick portraits and then we were free to mingle with everyone at cocktail hour. Your wedding day is one of the few times (OK, perhaps the only time) you get to have all of your favorite people together in one place, and we didn’t want to miss any of it. The day flew by in flash just as everyone said it would, so we were glad we got to soak up every second celebrating with the people we love.