For a traditional wedding, the groom does not see his bride on the day of the wedding until she is walking down the aisle. It’s an honorable tradition and I did it this way when my husband Steven and I got married. However, as time passed, new traditions formed in the wedding industry and one of them is A First Look.
This is when the bride and groom see each other for the first time before the ceremony begins. The photographer picks out a private area at the venue and makes sure that no friends or family is tagging along or watching. The groom is set into place, facing the opposite direction of his bride. The bride, slowly walks up to her groom, places her hand on his shoulder, and he turns around in that moment, and sees his bride. These moments can get real emotional. Based on my own experience, there have been tears, laughter, joy, and of course romance.
These moments are meant for the groom and bride only. In general, even the photographer is kind of hidden away once they catch eyes. The photographer gives the bride and grooms a few moments to exchange words, hug, kiss, and it is from there, that the photographer captures the bride and groom portraits. Usually, this is about 45 minutes total and happens about 90 minutes before a ceremony.
The first look is not for everyone. However, it may be for some couples depending on the situation of the day and the timeline! Here are some reasons why a first look maybe for you
A first look might be for you if…
- You have a very large family and the formal photos after the ceremony can take up most of the cocktail hour
- The cocktail hour after your ceremony is only about half an hour long
- Your ceremony start time is at sunset
- You have no time between the ceremony and the reception
- Your ceremony and reception location is a 20 or so minute drive apart and there is only an hour between the end time of the ceremony and the start time of the reception
- You are shy in front of people and blush when you are emotional in front of others (this is a real thing and is a reason why a bride of mine did the first look)
- You want to have some time with your spouse to see each other and actually, have a moment to talk and enjoy their company away from distractions and interruptions from your guest
A few questions I always get from brides based on this are always great to ask and I am happy to share with you the answers I give.
- I want my spouse to show raw emotions when I walk down the aisle. Will I still get that if we do a first look?
If you did a first look, you will still get those emotions but what is special about it, is that it will only be you two. No one is going to see him cry, and joke around with him later about it. It’s a private moment and the emotions will be the same, whether or not you are walking down the aisle.
To answer your question, three first looks I did, the groom still teared up when he saw his bride again when she walked down the aisle. Because there is a difference between seeing her for the first time, and seeing her walk down the aisle and into your ceremony where you both will say I Do, and that alone is emotional enough to still make anyone cry.
2. Can I do a first look with my dad/mom and do family formals before the ceremony so I can still have the traditional experience with my husband, and do the bride and groom photos after the ceremony?
Absolutely! This is always encouraged if you have a very short time between the ceremony end time and the reception start time. Whats great about getting family formals out the way before the ceremony, is that if there is only half an hour or so for photos after the ceremony, all we have to focus on is the whole wedding party together which lasts about 5 minutes, and the remaining 25 or so can be for the bride and groom. Any good photographer can still capture plenty of images in that amount of time 😉
Your wedding day is special, and it’s your one and only day. In some cases, a first look might be for you! I hope this blog helps you in deciding on a first look, and if you have any more questions, please feel free to reach out to me!