June 4, 2018
First of all, let me say that I believe first looks are great and I love them. I also love traditional wedding timelines where the big reveal happens when the bride walks down the aisle. Whether or not you have a first look with your future spouse is 100% up to you. It’s a super personal decision that I never want to make for you BUT this is for all the couples, like me and my husband, who don’t know their options or don’t really understand why anyone would WANT to do a first look. So I’m going to answer all of the arguments/questions I get about first looks right here.
I totally understand! It’s totally in our nature, especially women, to think about our wedding from the time we’re little and many of us dream about a super emotional dramatic reaction when our significant other sees us. However, I’ve actually witnessed more emotional reveals between couples that opt to do a first look. I can’t really say why this happens — maybe it’s because the nerves haven’t fully set in yet, maybe it’s because it’s just the couple having a moment together alone and you’re both more comfortable being vulnerable alone than in front of 150 of your closest friends.
And sometimes — your fiancé doesn’t cry regardless. Some people don’t. My husband didn’t cry when I walked down the aisle which I think was a combination of him not being comfortable showing emotion in front of people and the nerves he had, being the center of attention. He was seriously fighting the urge to throw up during our vows — he is NOT a spotlight kinda person by any means. Whatever the reason(s), he didn’t cry when he saw me and that’s okay.
That’s awesome and I’m glad that your mom is so involved in your wedding day. That shows she really cares! However, this is your wedding day and that should be between you and your fiancé, not between you and your fiancé and your mother — or anyone else for that matter. I’ve seen so many couples bend to requests of family and friends and end up totally disappointed and overwhelmed on the wedding day. I even had one couple write to me and tell me that their day overall wasn’t ANYTHING like what they wanted. That truly breaks my heart :/ I’m sure that everyone has genuine motives and all that advice you’re getting is well-intended but you have to be able to say, “thanks everyone, but these are decisions for US to make”.
I’m going to strip down this superstitious tradition right now. Let me preface this by saying again, I don’t want to sway anyone’s decision if you feel strongly about this, but the roots of this myth are ridiculous. When women were treated as property, weddings were transactions between the bride’s father and the groom (or groom’s family). These arrangements were made without the couple meeting and there was fear that if the groom saw his bride before the wedding, he would run. If he sees her for the first time as she’s coming down the aisle, he has no time to split. Seriously. That’s where it comes from. This is also one of the reasons traditionally brides wear veils.
So now that I’ve addressed the three biggest arguments about first looks, here are some benefits to having one.
Seriously! On a traditional wedding day, you wake up in different places, get ready and head to the venue, see each other at the aisle for a few minutes, and you’re immediately hurled into the chaos of family formals, bridal party photos, quickly snapping some romantic portraits before you have to be introduced into the reception, and you spend the rest of the night entertaining guests and celebrating your day with 150+ people. When you have a first look, you’re able to go to a private area of your venue or hotel, you take portraits and then you’re left alone until ceremony time.
You have to wait 30 minutes (or longer) until the ceremony is over to hold each other and talk about how you’re feeling and how amazing you both look, long after the initial reaction is over.
All of that anxious energy and anticipation that would normally build up until the ceremony would only build until the first look and then you’re able to let go of it all when you see each other and you’re able to hug, kiss, cry, talk, whatever you need to do.
This is NOT a joke. Because we aren’t rushing to get all of your photos right before you’re introduced into your reception, after your timeline is inevitably running slightly behind because that is the nature of weddings, we have time to be creative. We have time to use multiple locations, try things that aren’t necessarily the “safe shots” which is when you can end up with something truly jaw-dropping. What’s even more, we can do the majority of your photos before the ceremony, including family formals and bridal party. Then we can venture back out around sunset for some truly dreamy photos.
I hope this gave you some insight into wedding days and how first looks can dramatically change your timeline AND the experience of your wedding day. And whether you decide to do a first look or stick to the traditional timeline, I’m happy knowing you have the information you need to make that decision for yourself rather than just doing what you think you’re supposed to do.