It was like....magic: The First Look | Should you or Shouldn't you? | Megan Jolly Photography
Whether to do a first look at your wedding, seems to be one of the most nerve wracking decisions brides seem to have. I see brides struggle with this decision all the way up to their wedding day. So today I am here to try and help guide some of you through this decision and help choose what is best for you and your groom.
The first misconception is that ALL wedding photographers want you to do a first look, and they will tell you anything to get you to do one. This is not true. I love when my brides do a first look and I do encourage it, but that is ultimately up to the couple. After all this is their day. So if you find a photographer that is really being ugly about the first look, they may not be a good fit for you.
With that being said the first look does have its advantages.
- Depending on what time your ceremony takes place, your photographer may be pretty pushed for time when it comes time for your bride and groom portraits due to the outdoor lighting. A first look allows them to do your portraits before the wedding ceremony.
- It helps kill the nerves. Its like a complete release because you have already seen your groom and vice versa. You go into your wedding ready to take on the world.
- You get a true reaction from your groom. I have witnessed the most emotional first look reactions from grooms, reactions that couldn't compare to "down the aisle" looks. I have witnessed grooms cry, which isn't as likely to happen in front of a room full of people. He also can't hug, pick you up and spin you around, or impulsively kiss you on the alter.
- It helps you be more in the moment to get those amazing in love photos all brides want. When you don't see each other till you walk down the aisle some of the excitement and raw emotion has faded by the time you finally get to do your photos.
- You get to eat sooner. I can't tell you how many brides and grooms, don't even care about their photos in the moment and want to "hurry" because they are hungry. Which in the end they regret because they really wanted those photos from their day.
- It gives you the ability to do all of your family portraits and bridal party portraits before the ceremony (if you wish) so that when your ceremony is over it's time to party. It also keeps your guests from waiting for you to finish to dance and party!
The tradition of not seeing your bride before the wedding came from the time when arranged marriages were custom. The groom had never met his bride, the marriages were a business deal between families where a bride typically married into a rich family that owned land. Father of the brides feared if the groom seen the bride before the wedding, and wasn't attracted to her, he wouldn't marry her. Which would be of detriment to the brides family. That also explains why brides wear a veil till the last minute. While an arranged marriage isn't as popular as it once was, some brides still opt to keep with tradition.
If you choose to keep with the tradition of not seeing your groom before the wedding, here are some tips to still get those beautiful emotional moments, and help your day go smoothly.
- Write each other heartfelt letters and/or meaningful gifts to exchange before the wedding. (These are great photo ops, even if you choose to do a first look)
- Make sure and schedule your ceremony leaving plenty of time to take family portraits and bride and groom portraits. (Your photographer should be able to help you with timing and a timeline)
- Be sure and eat before your ceremony, that way you won't be hungry while taking your photos.
- Go directly to your designated portrait spot after your wedding. I see it too often that guests stop the bride and groom to congratulate them, and they can't get away taking the time for their precious portraits.
- Tell your family that will be in family portraits where to meet after the ceremony. Give your photographer and family members a list of family portraits you would like including names, that way your photographer can go down the list, and you aren't hunting down Uncle Joe because everyone should be in the right place at the right time.
- Try to stick to the portrait list you made with your photographer. The time they tell you that you need to reserve for family portraits may not include the 10 extra portraits that Aunt Edna is requesting. Which will end up cutting into your bride and groom portrait time.
- Have a cocktail or hors d'oeuvre hour after your ceremony, to keep your guests from getting antsy while you are taking portraits.
Some other things you may want to consider is a first look with your dad, and gifts to your parents. Your dad has probably never seen you in a wedding gown, and they are giving you away, and it is a very emotional day for them as well!
Remember this is your wedding! Have fun and enjoy your day!