The First Look

If you’re planning a wedding that’s off-beat and non-traditional, consider scheduling a “first look.” First looks are an opportunity for the couple to see each other before the ceremony, and the reasons for planning one are as varied as the couples that get married! 

First Look - MA Weddings
First Look - MA Weddings
 
First Look at Weddings
   
 
First Look at Weddings
   
 
First Look at Weddings

 

Cons:

The major downsides to a “first look” include:

  • The “big reveal” doesn’t happen in front of all your wedding guests. Since your partner's already seen you, his/her reaction may be more subdued and composed at the altar.
  • It’s against tradition.
  • There’s a wedding taboo that bad luck will follow the couple if they see each other in their wedding outfits before the ceremony. The taboo dates back to a time when arranged marriages were more common than ones where the couple knew each other. Seeing a bride before the wedding day gave the groom a chance to run, which is also how wedding veils and bouquets became popular. Although the reasons for the taboo may seem less applicable now, the superstition is still very popular and many couples just don’t want to chance it!

 

Pros:

In contrast, the reasons to go with a first look can include:

  • For nervous couples, meeting ahead of time often gets rid of the “butterfly feeling.” Seeing each other on the wedding afternoon often reminds you of the reasons that brought you to this day. It’s not just about a grand party – you’re starting the rest of your lives together. It’s hard to be nervous when you are looking at the love of your life.
  • You get a moment to yourselves before you’re overwhelmed with guests. If you arrange your timeline well, your photographer can finish your first look images and then leave you alone for a few minutes. This is precious time on a day that goes by so quickly. You can also take the limo ride to your ceremony together.
  • If you’re not superstitious about seeing each other ahead of time, you can gather your bridal party and immediate family members for all the posed photographs before the wedding ceremony. Then you can join your guests at cocktail hour, rather than rushing off for photographs.
  • For couples planning a sunset or night ceremony (ie. New Year’s Eve, winter wedding, Jewish ceremony happening on Saturday), you can still take daytime photographs by doing a first look. Otherwise, most of your family photographs will happen after dark and, depending on your wedding venue, this may not be the feeling you were going for when you booked.
  • Some couples plan to walk down the aisle together (same sex couples, brides who struggle with picking a person to give them away). You can still have a photographed special first moment.
 
MA Wedding Photographer ~ The First Look
   
 

 

First Look - MA Weddings
First Look - MA Weddings

 

 
MA Wedding Photographer ~ The First Look
MA Wedding Photographer ~ The First Look
 
First Look Wedding | MA Wedding Photographer

Like most wedding photographs though, not everything on your wedding day has to be black and white. You can opt for middle ground by trying these options:

  • Plan a “first look” with someone other than your intended. Dad? Mom? Maid of Honor?  Brother? Grandmother? They will all have heartfelt reactions to seeing you in your wedding finery, so have a “big reveal” with them.
  • Exchange letters with you fiancé on the morning of the wedding and have your photographers capture your reactions as you read them.
  • Have a “first touch” but not “first look”. Have your photographer and your Maid of Honor/Best Man help position you so that you can’t see each other, but you can be in the same frame: on either side of a doorway, blindfolded, on different stair landings, etc. You can talk to each other and perhaps hold hands, but you’ll save the first look for the aisle.
 
First Look ~ Wedding Alternatives
   
First Look ~ Wedding Alternatives
First Look ~ Wedding Alternatives

No one can predict how the wedding day will affect you. I’ve seen the toughest-looking guys cry like babies on the altar  I’ve seen brides who said they tear up anytime someone mentions “romance,” look very composed throughout the day.  Whether or not you choose to do a first look, your actual reactions on wedding day will probably surprise you!  But afterall, that’s what the pictures are for!

 

Article & Images from Kristin Griffin, Kristin Griffin Photography