How to Incorporate a First-look on Your Wedding Day

If you havent heard of the ever popular & unconventional first-look yet, then let me be the first to share with you one of the sweetest new traditions to surface these past few years! Everyone anticipates the grooms reaction when he sees his bride for the very first time and it's one of the most sought after photos when I meet with couples planning a wedding. I always ask my clients if they have considered doing a "first-look" with eachother prior to the ceremony. There are many reasons why I, as a photographer, love this idea but I also loved it as a bride! My husband and I got married 3 years ago and the photos from our "first-look" are my absolute favorite. Here is why...

*My hubby & I on our wedding day! Photo by Michelle Davis Photography

It is the most intimate moment of the entire wedding day. (Notice I said day, because we all know the wedding night has even more intimate moments, that more than likely, wont be captured on camera!)

Having a first look before the ceremony allows you the privacy to completely be yourself. There is no one else around, other than your photographer, which gives you and your bride or groom the chance to really take in the moment and let all your emotions surface. There is no fear of smudged make up from tears or trying to hold it all together. It's just YOU and THEM. A special moment that the two of you share that you will always remember. Just a side note to the ladies, your man is a lot more likely to be himself when it's just the two of you and his reaction will likely be more expressive in this type of setting. You will also be able to embrace eachother, which is a HUGE plus! Trust me when I say, the first time a you see your future spouse all dressed up on your wedding day you will want to run into their arms! However, there is no time for that during the ceremony. You hold hands, say your vows, and have to hold it all in until you get to kiss (in front of everyone). During a first-look you can hug, kiss, laugh, cry, and even talk to eachother (another big no no during the ceremony). He can tell you how beautiful you look, admire your dress, spin you around then pull you in close as he whispers, "I love you" in your ear.

Having a first look before the ceremony doesn't take away from the experience of walking down the aisle, but it does give you a little bit of a breather and a chance to calm your nerves. It's kind of like a mini pep talk before the big game;) It also gives you a chance to take the majority of your photos prior to the ceremony cutting down on wait time for your guests. So instead of having to take an hour or two of photos before the reception you can enjoy yourselves and head right to it! A lot of couples don't think about timing and sunset, but if you are having a fall wedding that doesnt start until 4:30 or 5pm it will more than likely be dark by the time the ceremony is finished. Leaving no daylight for bridal party, family or the most important bride & groom photos.

Still not sold on the first look idea? No worries, there are lots of other ways to incorporate this tradition with a little bit of a twist! You can still have a moment together before the ceremony without the groom seeing the bride or even without either of you seeing each other. Your photographer should be able to help coordinate this. You can use a blindfold, the corner of a building or even just a door. No matter what you decide, I can promise you the photos will be some of the most cherished ones you receive.

Another fun idea is to do a first look between the bride and her father! While it isn't quite the same, it is something that can be done with even the most traditional of weddings. The father usually walks the bride down the aisle anyways so why not do a mini "first-look" and capture the moment. You can also do one with bridesmaids, the mother of the bride, or anyone else that plays a significant role in your life!

No matter what you decide to do your wedding day will be a day to remember for many years to come! Whether you see your bride/groom for the first time at the alter or during a private moment before, your photographer should be able to capture those priceless reactions. If you are reading this and you had a first look at your wedding please leave a comment and let us know how it was! If you are contemplating one, I'd love to hear from you as well!

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