The most debated question from most couples planning their wedding: should we do a first look
I want to preface this post by saying there is NO right answer for this. Couples choose to or not to do first looks for different reasons, and I’m not here to change anyone’s minds. I just want to show the difference in how wedding days are planned with and without first looks, so that you can decide which is best for your wedding day! I will say, I’m going to get VERY real in this post, but please don’t let anything I say discourage you! I want you to know what can (and will) happen, so that there are no surprises the day of. If you have any questions or want to talk it out after reading this post, email me!
Traditional Aisle First Looks
We’ve seen this in movies, the “fairytale moment”. The moment your best friend walks down the aisle, or is waiting for you at the end, and it’s the last few moments you won’t have them by your side as your husband or wife.
Here’s how your day will go if you decide to do an aisle first look:
I will arrive and photograph you getting ready. My second shooter and I will plan accordingly to make sure you and your fiancé don’t see each other in the hotel you might be getting ready at (be prepared to hide behind some doors, in a closet, behind the lobby desk, behind a wall of your own bridesmaids……when I say we’ll do everything possible to keep you hidden, I really mean it!)
If we need to travel to the ceremony site, you’ll need 2 modes of transportation to make sure you both are kept separate. I’ve had couples that do a bus for half the Wedding Party and the other half Uber’s, or 2 separate buses for everyone (since venue’s usually don’t let you park cars overnight)
30 minutes before the ceremony, one of you will be hidden in a small room so that you don’t see your fiancé (brides…..it’s usually you and your bridesmaids)
You walk down the aisle and see your fiancé, andnext thing you know you’re finally married!! After the ceremony we’ll have to do all family, wedding party, and couple portraits during cocktail hour. It will take all of cocktail hour to get through all the pictures I know you want, and then you’ll line up for reception entrances.
First Look Before the Ceremony
This is still viewed as “bad luck” to some people, but I think it’s only bad luck to see each other before the ceremony if you don’t plan it!
This is how your day will go if you go with a first look before the ceremony:
I’ll arrive and photograph you getting ready. We’ll bring
you and your fiancé to a private area so the moment you see each other is just
between you two (and me). I don’t let any family or friends watch this moment,
unless they’re inside looking out the window, because most couples are super
nervous with excitement and I don’t want them to feel like they have any
pressure on them. This is especially good for anyone who gets nervous in front
of people staring at them, because we know every guests will be waiting for and
*expecting* a reaction as you walk down the aisle. With a first look, you can
be as emotional as you want without anyone staring at you.
After your first look, your wedding party will be SO excited to join you two! You both are together, with all of them, and they’re honestly just ready to celebrate with you! Since you are all together we can roll right into wedding party pictures and get them done OR you can all pile into one party bus and head to the ceremony. I’ve had the privilege of riding in quite a few party buses with the full wedding party, and its so fun no one really wants to get off, ha! I plan timelines with first looks so that we get done with all (or most) wedding party pictures before the ceremony, we will chat about when to do them when we are planning your timeline!
30 minutes before the ceremony when guests start arriving, you can hangout with your fiancé somewhere private before the coordinator comes to line you up. The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here! You’ve already seen each other beforehand, but the image of your best friend walking down the aisle is more perfect than you’ve pictured it your whole life. A lot of couples think that if you see each other before the ceremony, you don’t have that magic moment walking down the aisle. I can honestly, truly, 100% (no bullshit) say that all my couples that have gotten emotional during their first look have also gotten emotional walking down the aisle. So you pretty much get that fairytale moment twice!
After the ceremony your wedding party can join cocktail hour since we probably got all the pictures with them beforehand. Most couples who do first looks plan to get all family, wedding party, and most couple pictures done before the ceremony so that they can enjoy cocktail hour with everyone (head to this blog post to learn how to structure your family pictures so they run as smooth as possible). I’ve found that couples who do first looks and go to cocktail hour are able to talk to all (or most) of their guests before the reception starts, then they don’t feel like they have to go to all the tables during dinner. Going to cocktail hour also lets you get MORE pictures with guests, because I will sneakily be following you the whole time waiting for you to N~gimme that look~ that you want a picture with someone.
This post really sounds like I’m biased towards one option more than the other, but I know couples really want to enjoy their wedding day as much as possible. This is the one day that this group of your family & friends will be under the same roof, and I want you to know how to make the most of that day because it really will fly by!
If you want to talk about specific details of your wedding day and figure out which option would work best, or figure out how to make a first look/no first look work, email me!
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Dec 17, 2019