There is no shortage of “hot button” topics in the wedding world. Whether or not you should have a first look might just be the biggest hot button topic of them all. With everyone having an opinion on first looks, it can be tough to decide the best option for your day. Before we launch into whether it’s right for you, let’s chat about what a first look is. First though, let’s pause here and say that you can share a first look with anyone on your wedding day. Sharing a first look moment with dad or your grandparents for example can be some of the sweetest moments of the day. For the purposes of this blog post though, I’m going to focus on a first look between the couple.
What is it?
A First Look is simply the couple seeing each other before the ceremony. Typically people will assume that there is some sort of grand reveal to show off the wedding day look. While that is the common way of things, it totally isn’t necessary. Seeing each other for the first time on wedding day can be laid back. It can also be as planned out as you like. We have had couples choose to get ready together. For them the first look happened as soon as the dress was out of the bag. We have also had couples plan a grand entrance down hundreds-of-years old staircases, twirling at the bottom, and settling in for that perfect photo moment.
If you decide to share a first look, feel free to make it your own. If you want to do it the same way Travis and Stephanie (the couple in the photos 😉 ) did theirs you can try this on for size. I (Josh) picked out the perfect secluded spot for their first look away from family and friends. He walked Travis down ahead of Stephanie. Once in place, with his back turned, she walked up behind him and said his name to let him know to turn around. From there they enjoyed the moment, uninterrupted, for a few minutes.
Why people hate first looks
The short answer to why some people hate the idea of a first look is tradition. The longer answer is that there really is no one reason. For some people it really is tradition. They’ve never really thought about a first look before and the idea of changing something or introducing something new to the idea of a wedding is scandalous!
The other reason we hear most often is actually from brides. They want that magic moment of the groom seeing them for the first time when they walk down the aisle. They’ve dreamed about “that look” — the one with tears, that we can all picture without even seeing it. I have a bit of news though. Every groom that has cried during a first look, has also cried when their bride walked down the aisle. A groom will either cry, or he won’t. Unfortunately for every bridal blog editor out there, nothing is going to make a guy cry who isn’t a crier by nature.
What is my take on first looks?
If I had to bet, I would say that you clicked into this post KNOWING I would spend the entire post convincing you to have a first look. If I were another photographer you might be right. Photographers love first looks. I don’t share their love though. I’m quite frankly fine whether our couples choose to share a first look or not. Sure there are compelling reasons to do a first look. There are also compelling reasons not to do a first look. I will say this: I don’t think you should share a first look just to have more photos. That’s just a stress you do not need on wedding day.
If you choose to share a first look, do it for you. Have a first look because you want to spend more time with your soon-to-be spouse. Have a first look because your wedding ceremony is the first and most important step in your journey as a married couple and you want to go into that moment together as a team. Have a first look because you want to talk to each other as soon as you see each other, to share a kiss, and to not wait until the end of the ceremony to say I love you. Heck, share a first look because your sister annoys the crap out of you and any excuse to get out of the bridal suite is a good one.
For every reason to have a first look though, there are just as many reasons not to have one. If the idea of rushing around to be here or there before you walk down the aisle is going to cause you stress, then don’t do it! Choose to spend your morning, and your day, the way you want to. Tradition at weddings isn’t necessary, but if you love the tradition of seeing each other at the aisle, then let no one talk you out of that.
Your wedding day is just that – yours.
To see more from Travis and Stephanie’s day, check out our feature galleries