I want to talk about the concept of a First Look and how near and dear it is to my heart. For those of you who don’t know what a First Look is, in short it’s when a bride and groom choose to see each other before the wedding ceremony and have the opportunity to share a few intimate moments together, before the hustle and bustle of the day ensues.
When I was planning my own wedding, I instantly knew I wanted to have a First Look. After getting engaged, I spent most of my down time at work scowering the internet for wedding planning details. Being the self-professed photography nut that I am, I also spend hours searching the web for new photographer’s blogs I haven’t read yet, technical tips and tricks, and just any photography info I can get my hands on.
When I came across the idea of a First Look, I knew I had to have one, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Of course when I told our wedding photographer I wanted one and that I wanted to devote at least 2-3 hours to photos before the wedding ceremony, she was thrilled. She knew how important the photography was to me. In fact, I wasn’t shy to tell anyone who would listen that the single most important thing on our wedding day (besides of course marrying my best friend and starting our journey as husband and wife) was the photography. When we first got engaged, J and I had a very open and honest conversation about what was most important to us about our wedding day. His answer was having his family there and mine was the photography. Plain and simple.
Now, some people may think that having a First Look breaks tradition or that it might take away the magic of the bride walking down the aisle and her groom seeing her for the first time. I’m here to tell you that couldn’t be any further from the truth. J is very traditional, he was adamant that he did NOT want to see my dress before the wedding. At first I thought it was a little old fashioned and silly, but I’m definitely glad we waited for him to see it, it added to the magic of the day.
When I originally mentioned the idea of having a First Look to him, I thought he’d be against it, seeing how traditional he can be. To my surprise, once I explained that a) it would give us that much more time to capture really fun and creative photos b) it would give us more time to spend with our friends and family right after the ceremony, instead of rushing off to take photos, while all of our guests
not-so-patientlywaited for us and c) we’d have our own little intimate moment to ourselves before we were consumed with all of the details of the wedding day and attending to our guests.
I can tell you that if you’re a future bride, debating having a First Look for your own wedding and thinking that your husband seeing you before walking down the aisle will make it feel any less magical…it won’t, trust me on this. I was completely calm and relaxed the entire morning, I was surprised actually that I wasn’t nervous at all, but just about 15 minutes before it was time for our First Look, I got the biggest butterflies in my stomach and was completely giddy, like a little kid. The First Look was incredibly special for both of us and without it, we wouldn’t have these amazing photos of our private, intimate moment.
When I tapped Justin on his shoulder and turned him around, all he kept saying was, “Wow…wow….WOW!!!” He couldn’t get anything else out, he was speechless and I even saw him tear up a little. I was all smiles, my face actually hurt from smiling so big. This is, hands down, my favorite image from our First Look. The expression on my face completely conveys how I felt at that moment: giddy and beside myself.
Then it was off to take a few fun photos around Seward (the town where we got married).
After we ran around town, to all sorts of fun locations, it was time to head back to the venue so the ceremony could begin. J went off to join our guests where the ceremony was to take place and I ran back to our room to have my hair and makeup touched up (it was drizzling rain all morning long, so my hair needed some major help after all of that running around). I remember thinking to myself that the ceremony was going to be no big deal, seeing J for the First Look was so fun and exciting and now it was time for the formal ceremony and joining all of our guests. To my surprise, as they were finishing touching up my hair and makeup, I started to get MAJOR butterflies again. I’m talking butterflies doing acrobatics in my stomach and having to take deep breaths to calm myself down.
I honestly didn’t expect to be that nervous/excited about walking down the aisle. When we finally reached the starting part of where I’d begin walking down the aisle, I nearly lost it. I was so overwhelmed with joy, happiness, excitement, and every other amazing feeling you can think of, I didn’t know what to do with myself. J was there with me, since he was getting ready to walk his grandma down the aisle to her seat, and I don’t think he had any idea how twitterpated I was. I remember looking at his mom (who was waiting with me to walk me down the aisle) and she just smiled and said, “Are you ready honey??” I could barely catch my breath enough to say, “I think so…”
Cue the thumping heart beat, short of breath, mind racing walk I had down the aisle. Thank God Justin’s mom was there to hold my arm and steady me. I was so beside myself with happiness and pure bliss that I was oblivious to anything else around me. It literally felt as if Justin and I were the only two people in the universe at that moment and nothing else in the world mattered.
I’m here to tell you that no matter if you see your husband for a First Look before the ceremony or if you choose to wait to see each other until you walk down the aisle, it will be equally as magical. There is nothing and no one that can take that away from either of you.
As a photographer, I absolutely love it when couples choose to have a First Look. The wedding day can get a little hectic at times and a First Look not only gives the bride and groom a private moment just to themselves, but it also gives ample time to capture some pretty amazing images. Some of the truest emotions I’ve witnesses from couples, have come from First Looks.
Just take a look at one of my absolute favorite examples of how truly special a First Look can be; Kyle’s honest reaction to seeing Kari for the first time even had me fighting back the tears.
Kari and Kyle were able to spend these few cherished moments together before the ceremony and as a result, had more than enough time to enjoy the company of their family and friends during the ceremony and reception.