It’s the moment so many little girls dreams of (except maybe for the prince on the white horse, but let’s stay realistic here): The moment she’s walking down the aisle towards her soon-to-be husband or wife.
A truly romantic thought and also a very emotional entrance. And still, I advise you to rethink seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony. Why, you ask? Well, I wrote down my top five reasons for a “first look” that’s just for the two of you. It’s a big decision to make beforehand and a first look isn’t for everyone. Still, I think it’s something you should give some thought to and then decide what’s best for you.
If you don’t know what a “first look” is: Basically, you take the moment of seeing each other for the first time to a time shortly before the ceremony. You can still have the moment where you walk down the aisle, of course, but you’ll have seen each other beforehand. And believe me: The ceremony won’t be any less magical because of that.
1. Nervousness and “the blind eye”
You have planned this day for a long time, months or maybe years. You’ve built up all these emotions, have discussed details and felt pressured because the day was inching closer and yet there was so much more to do. And now it’s here: Your big day. You got up, in the best case you had breakfast and then the whirlwind starts: Hair and make-up, talking to friends, “where’s that bag with my earrings?”. A hundred little things go through your mind while you get more and more nervous. And now imagine these emotions and paired with thoughts of “Please don’t trip over your dress. Look straigt ahead. Take short steps.” while walking down the aisle. You might turn a blind eye to one of the most magical moments of your wedding day. All these things culminate in those few seconds and they’re the reason you might not enjoy that specific moment as much as you had envisioned. I have had brides tell me
“I don’t remember anything from that moment. I was so focused on walking slowly and gripping my dad that I didn’t even see anyone except my husband. And even with him, I hadn’t really noticed what he was wearing until well after the ceremony.”
So simply calm your nerves before the ceremony by doing a first look.
2. Emotions, emotions, emotions
When you choose to make this moment yours - no matter if I’m there to capture it or not (although I’d love to) - you get to cherish the joy and happiness of seeing each other for the first time with the person you love most. And just with them. It might even get a little emotional and especially the guys rather show emotions when there’s not a huge audience around. All the built-up excitement will ebb down then and you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of the day a little more.
3. Time for just the two of you
Whoever has already gotten married will tell you that the day passes way too quickly. There’s a lot of things happening, conversations to be held, people to be hugged. In all of this, one-on-one time with your spouse often isn’t really something you get a lot. Unless you plan it. And that’s where the first look comes in: You don’t have to sneak away from the reception to enjoy some quiet time together. Instead, you get some intimate moments during the first look and get to enjoy that half hour or so to really talk to each other and enjoy each other’s presence. Everything after that will be a whirlwind. Here’s a quote from a bride that I found online:
The first look gives you a minute to shake off some of the anxiety and really be in the moment. For me, walking down the aisle was overwhelming. Walking with my parents, trying to keep the same pace, my mom was stepping on my dress. I was glad I had "just us" time before. Lastly walking down the aisle still felt different and emotional. He didn't cry during the first look but when I was walking down that aisle there were waterworks like he didn't just see me an hour ago. From my experience the first look did not take away the impact of me walking down the aisle.
4. More time with your guests
If you do a first look before the ceremony and you decide to have your photographer present, you’ll automatically get a first few couple’s shots in. That’ll shorten the time for bridals later on so you have more time with your guests during reception and cocktail hour. I’ve also had some couples who decided to have their families arrive early so they could already get some group-shots in. That way you get to spend the rest of the day focused on your guests. And of course, your outfits, hair and make-up will still be looking fresh.
5. Bring variety into your photos
By deciding on doing a first look beforehand, you get to choose the location. That can be at the spot you’re getting married at (or even at the ceremony location so you can still walk down the aisle towards your spouse!), it can be a place that’s meaningful to you and maybe a bit far away to do the bridals at afterwards or just some epic location you’ve always liked. Bridals are usually done somewhere close so this way you could get a lot of variety into your images without having to rush during bridals.
You see: I am a big fan of first looks, especially if I get to be present and capture those precious and intimate moments for you. But like with everything during a wedding, it should be about you. Not everything is for everyone and above all I am a big advocate of doing the wedding your way. So sit down together. talk about the idea and let me know. I’ll be here for you no matter what you decide.