What is a "First Look?"
What is a “first look?”
A modern development to the wedding day is the addition of a “first look” between the couple before their ceremony. It serves two purposes, one practical, and one emotional.
The practical purpose is a fantastic one. When the couple sees each other before their ceremony, we can schedule 2-3 hours into their day to take care of all the portraits before the ceremony kicks off. Once we wrap that up, this allows the couple to completely relax and focus on what really matters--they are getting married! The ceremony kicks off, and the couple can freely enjoy the rest of their day by focusing on each other and having fun with their guests.
Some couples who prefer not to have a first look are able to schedule those 2-3 hours for portraits between the ceremony and cocktail hour, but many do not have that luxury. It may be due to constraints put on them at their house of worship, or because the ceremony is at the site of the reception and it simply isn’t practical to keep guests waiting for so long.
For whatever reason, many couples are forced to use their cocktail hour to quickly rush through formal portraits with family, portraits with the wedding party, and finally, portraits of just the two of them. We can knock it all out in an hour, but it’s a different experience than a leisurely, relaxed portrait time earlier in the day. Not only do they miss the awesome food of cocktail hour and opportunity to mingle with their guests before the party starts, it limits how much time can be spent focusing on portraits of just the two of them.
That’s the practical side of the first look. The emotional side is just as important.
When a couple sees each other for the first time at the end of the aisle during the ceremony, it is very much a “public speaking” type of atmosphere. Everyone is watching them, and the ceremony starts right away. There’s no pause for them to look at each other and take it all in, and their reactions are on display for everyone to see. Someone who might freely let a few tears slip during an intimate first look might do their best to hold that back when they know everyone has eyes on them.
There’s also the traditional vision of a groom seeing his bride for the first time as she comes down the aisle. It’s a beautiful vision, to be sure, but it isn’t lessened just because he has already seen her. It is still a powerful visual. Beyond that, oftentimes friends and family, though they don’t mean to, will hang halfway into the aisle because they want to see her too! Let’s not even get started on Grandma filming with her iPad. So, sometimes the groom doesn’t really get a good view until she arrives at the altar.
The experience of a first look is completely different. It can be just the two of you, or you can invite a few close family or friends to join. We still build anticipation around it based on where we position you and plan the moment. When you see each other for the first time, you are alone. It is quiet. It is a perfect, quiet, peaceful moment just for the two of you. It is a calm island in the middle of a chaotic, crazy day where you can just enjoy being together--if only for a moment.