Yes, I know. The first look has been a Thing for a few years now, and granted this post was originally published Nov. 12, 2010. However, the debate is still real, y’all.
From the moment you put on THE dress, you’ve been anticipating the look on his face when he sees you at the end of the aisle. You’re going to look so beautiful, and he’s going to be so proud, and happy, and excited to see you. You two are going to be grinning at each other so much you can hardly hear the minister pronounce you married.
It’s tradition, and it’s the way that most brides think that they’re going to see their grooms for the first time. But more and more, I’m watching couples decide to go with another alternative — The First Look.
Here’s how it works: Your photographer usually begins about three hours before the ceremony, starting with shots of you putting on THE dress, make-up, hair … all the “getting ready” stuff. While you’re doing that, your photographer’s second shooter is over with the guys, taking their pictures, and then about an hour or so into it, everyone meets in the middle for pictures of the wedding party and family. And that’s when you see each other for the first time.
Most photographers make it into a special event, at a secluded place where it’s just the two of you. And once they get that special shot of him seeing you for the first time and you two smiling at each other like whoa, you can hang out together and talk, and get to spend some time alone. Even if it’s for 10 or 15 minutes, that’s going to be hard to come by for the rest of the day, trust me. Then you finish photos with the rest of the gang.
From Summer & Peter’s Real Wedding. Credit: Lauren Lindley Photography
Practically speaking? It’s a real time saver. Most of your pictures are done before the wedding, which means you can join your guests for the cocktail hour and enjoy those appetizers you’re paying $X per person for. There’s less family wrangling because it’s a little easier to tell everyone to show up early at an appointed place and time rather than try and track them down after the ceremony. If you’re a blubberer and worry about crying your way down the aisle so much that you worry your guests, the first look might be for you. And since you can make that moment between the two of you special, these are the reasons why brides of mine have done it.
Emotionally speaking? Well … that’s up to you. Not all of my brides want to do a First Look, because that moment walking down the aisle is just too important and vivid for them. I have one bride that won’t talk about the color of her dress in front of her fiance — that’s how excited she is about him seeing her from the end of the aisle. And I’m grinning as I write that, because that love and anticipation is really what that first moment is all about, no matter where and when you choose to do it. Which is just cool, you know?
And if you do want to wait, of course, it’s fine. You make it work like everyone’s always made it work — separate wedding party pics before the ceremony, and then use the cocktail hour for family pics after the ceremony. Have your wedding planner or a friend bring you a sample of cocktails and apps during the photos, and then join your guests at the reception. Like with most wedding things, (and in life, actually), whatever it is that you mind is what matters. I’m not “Team See” or “Team Not See,” I’m team YOU. Either way, I’m probably going to tear up when it happens. Like always.
So, which team are you? When is your intended going to first see you on your wedding day?
See you at the end of the aisle,