Have you ever heard of the First look? I confess, I do have a deep love for them, and mention them when I can. They are truly awesome! However, not everyone is familiar with them, and what the benefits are in doing one. Often couples get caught up in how “un-traditional” it is and they immediately write it off.
All of us brides want a special reaction from our Groom, as we walk down the isle.Isn’t it also every girls dream to walk down the isle and see your groom just smiling from ear to ear and in absolute joy, and/or shedding a slight tear out of love as well! 🙂 Who doesn’t want that!!! Luckily, I was able to have that in my wedding, however, it was at the sacrifice of time for our portraits, and to this day I wish we had done a first look for many reasons i’m going to list below.
Most couples think that if they see each other for the first time before the wedding ceremony they will lose that emotional reaction from the groom seeing the bride coming down the isle, but this is just not so. They also think that they won’t be as intimate as it would be if they came down the isle and saw each other that way for the first time.
Everyone knows that weddings can be a stressful day, lots of planning and getting everything to happen at just the right time, the whole day is focused on them and they need to look their best, they need to be on time and the groom has to figure out where to put his boutonnière and a little bit at a time the tension grows…
It’s just before the ceremony and the gravity of the coming moments are starting to settle in on him, and the calm, cool and relaxed person he normally is, is starting to be super nervous and anxious.. What’s next? The groom waits in a little place where he’s waiting for a “go” from a designated helper, coordinator or my second photographer! It sometimes takes a while while getting the Bride all ready, and all her maids! Finally, they give the groom a “GO” and the groom with sweaty palms takes those first steps into the church and it’s full of hundreds of his closest friends and family, they all are looking at him. Everyone has anticipation about his first reaction at how he will see his Bride. This is the furthest thing from a private moment between the Bride and Groom. Yes it’s so powerful and wonderful, I can’t discount it, it was special no doubt! But honestly I balled like a baby, i was full of emotion, I can’t remember what his face looked like and I do know he will always remember me crying come up the isle. You may think, why is that a problem? Now looking back at photos I think, what was I thinking, why wasn’t I so overflowing with joy, and full of smiles… well to me, I was losing a father, gaining a husband and family. That showed on my face.. I was extremely happy but it was so hard to show it with all my nervousness… I wished I had gotten those out before hand and had the joy expressed that my heart truly felt for my husband, standing there in his Dress Blues, such a fine, handsome Marine that he is.
So in the end…for the Grooms, they normally are very nervous and that doesn’t hit them till the last few seconds as they are beginning to walk up the isle. All of what is about to happen becomes so real and true, and so what if…. What if instead, he was waiting for you in a private location, no people watching, no expectations from the crowd, no distractions… and you as the Bride, the love of his life, walk up to him (Or him to you) and gently tap his shoulder to turn around. He would turn around and finally get his first look at his stunning beautiful amazing Bride and not only would he get to see her, he could embrace her, cry with her, kiss her, and enjoy that moment with her and hold her as long as he wanted. As she shows off her gorgeous wedding dress, and all her beauty, she twirls for him a few times and asks him what he thinks.. his nerves start to go away and he relaxes.
Because they aren’t in a time crunch with the sun setting as we speak, they can move into casual romantic Bride and Groom portraits. No one is around, the coordinator, or mom isn’t reminding you that “15 minutes till the DJ announces you”, no pressure from anyone. It’s just you two and your photographer, capturing the excitement and joy of their wedding day. You two get that needed, one-on-one time to be alone, intimate and focus on eachother. Doesn’t this happen after the ceremony on a normal wedding day, you may ask yourself? No, it doesn’t. There is never enough time after the ceremony for relaxed portraits, it’s typically rush, rush, rush.
Another benefit that the first look provides is for others as well, after they finish their photographs together they can go ahead and get their bridal party photographs and even family portraits done if desired before the ceremony. Everyone doesn’t opt for this but it is available and allows you to go almost straight to your reception after the wedding. Imagine that, going straight to your guests!!!
After this typically happens, the bride has a few minutes to stow her self away and retouch her makeup if needbe. She can take a breather and prepare to become one with her groom. Pretty soon you hear music and guests are being seated. The music builds and her mother stands…all of the guests follow her lead. The groom glances down the isle and here comes his bride! His soul mate, his best friend, the love of his life! She is gorgeous and stunning. The closer she gets the more joyful his expressions are and he’s full of smiles and so is she just taking in his handsomeness, the strength he is exhibiting, and the future she is imaging in that moment.
This is all not to pressure my clients, its truly to educate them on what I wish I had done, what is available to them, and why it’s such a great option for those who want to give it a try. I truly want the best experience and outcome for my KWP Brides and Grooms so I have to share from my heart what I feel is best for them.
*Your investing a lot of money in your wedding, the beautiful details, venue, decorations and a good amount into your photography. The photos of you and your husband are definitely some of the more important parts of the day to cover. These are the images you will decorate your first home with!!! (Trust me, after 17 years we still have our wedding photographs framed on our walls!) This is something you obviously agree with which is why you hired a professional! I’m so thankful!! But, with a first look you will make the most of your investment and get more for your money.
*You will actually get intimate time, time you can share those early jitters and nervous laughs with, with no one around. One thing that people do’nt realize is when you come down the isle for the first ime seeing eachother, you can’t embrace, touch, kiss, there is alot of tension and nervousness built up there, you have to wait 30-40 minutes to hear what he thinks of you, and to share that special moment alone.
*They allow you to extend your wedding day. You normally would start a wedding day when you come down the isle, then the ceremony would end and you’d rush through portraits so your not late for the reception and make the timeline for the DJ to introduce you as Man and Wife. With the first look, you aren’t rushed, your day is extended by 3 hours almost! You get to enjoy your bridal party portraits, have fun hanging out with your BESTIES, and the whole first half of your album can be filled with these images of the people you care about most, you and your husband, and you and your best friends!
*They set you up in the environment for romantic portraits. If you think about doing your bridal portraits after the ceremony, they are very rushed and often hard to get into the mood of love and romance when everyones watching and checking the time for you to hurry to the reception. First looks allow you to just be together, laugh, cry and enjoy eachother, much like we did at the engagement session. Do you remember that first half hour from the engagement session? I warned you it may be the more akward part of the session but then you’d relax. If you think of this happening on the wedding day, thats the entire time we have together after the ceremony, usually no more then half hour.
*You get rid of nerves! Truly you do! Usually Grooms are some of the first to side with old tradition. But, because they didn’t know what to expect, they didn’t realize how stressed out or nervous they’d be just before the ceremony. They have come to be the biggest fans of this time alone with their soon-to-be bride. They can relax and enjoy her and not think of anyone else but her coming down that isle.
Whether you decide if a First Look is right for you and your fiance or not, I totally respect and will honor your decision, and we WILL make the most of it and make sure you have amazing portraits, and a great experience!