A "First Look" is one of the best things ever invented in the wedding industry. It's when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony and get to share their reactions with just the two of them. Afterwhich, the couple takes pictures and then gets to enjoy the entire day together. After all, your wedding is about YOU, the couple, and it's really better for the flow of the day if you see each other before the wedding.
I am pleading my case below as to why it's not only better, but almost necessary for you on your wedding day.
1) Enjoy Cocktail hour- You will get to enjoy your cocktail hour! Cocktail hour is no doubt the greatest part of the reception. The food is incredible, and its when everyone gets together and talks about how beautiful the ceremony was. Instead of you and your family enjoying the best part of the reception, you'll have to miss it because of pictures.
2) Think of your guests- If you choose to push the cocktail hour back an hour while you take pictures, your guests will have to wait an hour and may get restless or annoyed.
3) Helps you relax- You will be more calm on your wedding day if you do a "first look". Once you see your husband or bride to be, all of your nerves will go away and you will get to really enjoy the day.
4) The two of you- The first look will be between you and your groom, while if you wait until the ceremony, there will be hundreds of eyes upon you and it's really not about the two of you. During the "First look" the couple is more emotional and the photos really capture that.
5) Photography is important- You no doubt paid a lot of money on your photography, and it's very important to have enough time to capture all of the photos needed. You don't want to be rushed thinking about getting to the cocktail hour because the photos will show if you are stressed no matter how great a photographer may be. The photos are the ONLY thing you will have from the wedding day to remember it in 10 years. The food will be eaten, no one will remember the exact songs played, but the photos will last forever.
6) Light is important- If you are getting married on a Friday or close to sunset, it is absolutely necessary to see each other before-hand due to the lack of light. Photography is the art of capturing light and this is especially crucial if you hire a photographer that specializes in natural light photography.
7) Lack of time- Timelines are never how you plan them. Almost every ceremony I've ever photographed has gone over 15 minutes or started 15 minutes late. That combined with traffic, receiving line (which can take up to 30 minutes), etc... will alter the timeline of your wedding. If you're planning to take pictures during cocktail hour, you may only have 20 minutes, which is really not enough time to capture family, bridal party and couple photos. If you do a "first look" you will have enough time, and also have extra time for more creative photos! For example, the couple below had enough time to go to a farm to take pictures!
8) More detail shots- You spent a lot of money on the floral arrangements, favors and cake and those pictures are important. If the photographer is taking pictures during the cocktail hour, then we have to take the detail shots when the other guests are entering the reception. This is not ideal because there might be guests walking in the background of the flower and cake photos. If you do a "first look" this will never happen.
9) Many couples fear the "bad luck" that will come with seeing each other beforehand. It is an old tradition, along the same lines as when brides used to wear "sixpence" coins in their shoe. The coin tradition is now considered archaic, as will be waiting until seeing each other before the ceremony in a few years. Also, my husband and I saw each other before the wedding and we are doing just fine :)
10) It's your wedding- Everyone has their opinions about your wedding. And often times, the couple will try to accommodate every single person's requests. But at the end of the day, it's really about you and what will make you happy. If you do a first look, you will be happier with the pictures, get to enjoy the cocktail hour, your guests and family will be happier, and you will be more relaxed and less rushed. That sounds like an ideal wedding to me :)
Michelle and Graham's "First Look"
Allowing them for time to go to an amazing farm, and take beautiful pictures...
(Please look for these images in the upcoming New Jersey Bride Magazine on stands soon!)