We want to tackle the highly debated tradition of saving the first time you see each other for walking down the aisle versus doing a first look. Many people will debate the pro’s and con’s of one or the other, but the first look quickly gaining traction for several reasons. If you are wanting to follow what your mom, grandma and maybe great grandma did, then a first look probably isn’t for you. But if you are considering a first look and have concerns, we want to share a few snafus our couples have solved with a simple change to the timeline.
The first thing that we commonly hear is, “I don’t want it to spoil the ceremony.”
No matter what, the big day has been long awaited and planned out for a year or more. There will always be emotions when you come down the aisle because you finally will be getting married! First looks allow those intimate moments of seeing each other to be shared just between you two. Once your guests arrive, the saying, “it goes by so fast,” kicks in no matter how much planning you’ve done to prepare. With a first look, you are able to capture some time together alone before the day really begins. A twist on this is seeing each other for the first time down the aisle but try what Amy did at her wedding.
Bree Lea Photography
“We decided to wait to see each down the aisle. But before that, we exchanged our vows here and it was amazing to hear his voice. ❤️
It was an amazing calm before everything started. It was amazing to see how handsome he looked in that moment and that’s how I always pictured it happening.”
— Bride, Amy
Here is what Michelle from Michelle Joy Photography has to say about a first look:
“With very few exceptions, I highly recommend a first look for all couples getting married! By choosing a timeline with a first look, we can accomplish 90% of your portraits before the ceremony even begins. The entire day will feel much more relaxed and you’ll end up with far more portraits of you and your new husband/wife. Another huge benefit to a first look is that you will be able to enjoy cocktail hour celebrating with your family and friends, instead of spending the first hour of your married life rushing through family photos, bridal party photos, and couples photos. A great photographer will be able to accomplish all your photos no matter what, but choosing a first look will help calm the nerves and allow you to be fully present & enjoy the entire day.”
Michelle Staley, from Michelle Joy Photography
Michelle brings us to our next point of getting the nerves out of the way.
We asked some couples what they did and here’s what they have to say about it:
“I wish I did a first look prior to the ceremony, especially now that I’ve photographed the difference. It really sets the tone for the wedding day and couples love having that private time. I personally was so anxious waiting, it made me super sick.
I now recommend even a blind moment together for couples to get grounded and hear each other before the ceremony. It just grounds you in a way that is hard to explain.“
Photographer Grace, from Sam and Grace Photography
Sam and Grace Photography
Taylor Lauren Photography
I liked the first look because the photos from it were in such a better spot to catch reactions, plus if I cried at least it was then and not in front of everyone! I have an image to protect!
Reasons I loved it:
• I got to share that moment with just my husband (and the photographer, of course) and it gave us the freedom to react, say, and show our emotions without onlookers or pressure.
• It GREATLY saved on time – we didn’t have to extend our cocktail hour because of all the family/bridal/couple pictures we needed and wanted. Instead, we were able to get the husband and wife as well as the bridal photos done before the ceremony.
• I wasn’t as nervous walking down the aisle – I was probably more excited than anything! And Dillon still got teary when he saw me walking down the aisle.
I wouldn’t take it back or do it differently at all. I would do a first look 1,000 more times if I could.
We did our first look down the aisle. Two favorite things — we both literally felt the biggest sense of relief in that exact moment, which I personally feel is a big part of the wedding day (being nervous until you walk down 😉); & he cried in front of everyone. That 100% would not have happened if we did a first look.
I think it’s just more of how I always imagined my wedding day — and then that’s how it turned out.