Weddings are full of tradition, and we believe that they should be. There is one tradition that we like to bend a bit when our brides and grooms are willing. One of the most common wedding customs is to have the groom see his bride for the first time on their wedding day when she is walking down the aisle. This custom is a classic tradition, so there has to be a few good reasons why we prefer to enhance it. We would never force a couple to do a first look, but we do ask all couples to think about it and see if a first look is the right choice for them.
Are you a bride and groom getting married in an LDS temple? Check out our post about choosing to do a formal session!
Here are our top five reasons that traditional wedding couples should choose to do a first look.
In an ideal situation, the groom would watch his bride walk towards him down the aisle, her dress flowing and face radiating with joy and happiness. All of his and her family, friends, and uncle Bob would be watching eagerly to see his reaction. What will happen when he sees her? Will he sob? Will he smile with tears streaming down his face? Now, that is a lot of pressure. That pressure is one of the biggest reasons we love doing a first look before the ceremony. When your groom has the chance to see you without others watching you’ll get a better reaction at the time of the first look, and he’ll be much more relaxed when he sees you walking down the aisle. Honestly, it’s a win, win!
Sometimes the light and location of a first look will give you better pictures than depending on capturing images of his reaction during the ceremony. During the ceremony we always focus one of our cameras on getting your groom’s reaction as you walk down the aisle, but there can be things that are out of our control during that time. If you have your ceremony outside and weren’t able to choose the time of day with perfect lighting, your groom may end up having harsh light hit his face. If you choose to have an indoor ceremony and it is at a venue that allows photographers to set up flashes, the light will be great. Sometimes though, venues or churches don’t allow flash and when that happens the light isn’t as ideal and is a lot darker. There are even some churches which will not allow photographers to leave a specified small area, which can make it even more difficult to capture expressions as the bride comes down the aisle.
When you have a first look, it’s just us: the photographers and the two of you. No one else will be around, which not only relives stress and pressure, but it allows the both of you to enjoy the excitement and anticipation of your day! We won’t rush your moment, and it’s always nice to transition from a first look into romantic bride and groom portraits. When you go from a ceremony, to family pictures, to bridal party pictures, and then to bride and groom portraits right before the reception starts, it’s a bit of an adrenaline rush and a lot harder to enjoy the moment.
When you do a first look, not only are you relived of stress and anxiety, but you get more pictures too! When our couples do a first look, we will do a brief bride and groom session immediately afterwards, but still before the ceremony. We will also do more portraits of the two of you right before sunset when the lighting outside is ideal. When you do not do a first look, we are a lot more limited with the time that we can do bride and groom portraits. We would do a few right after family pictures and sunset portraits and but since we can’t control the time of the setting of the sun, we wouldn’t be able to just give you a longer session during this time. This combined with squeezing pictures in before your reception may result in fewer images of just the two of you. An added bonus is that the pictures during this time will be the genuine reactions as well. They may end up being your favorite pictures from your big day!
You won’t have to hide from each other for hours before the wedding and your guests will thank you for it! You’ll each get to have pictures done with your bridesmaids and groomsmen while hanging out together at the same time rather than separately. Imagine being able to actually spend some time with your friends before your wedding ceremony! Also, no guests like being rushed into pictures after the ceremony is over and when they want to spend time catching up with their friends and family members. They will love the experience of relaxing and hanging out after the ceremony so much more if they can get the pictures done early!
We never want to make a bride and groom feel forced into doing a first look. It’s something that is a very personal decision and so we believe in supporting their wishes. We will always recommend a first look though, and believe that there are a ton of great reasons to go that route! If you are a bride and groom getting married in an LDS temple, be sure to read our blog post on why you should do a formal session. One of the biggest reasons for doing a formal session is so that you can have a first look!