Today's post is from two parts of me - a photographer and a new bride. First of all, lots of people will have opinions about your wedding day. What the cake should look like, who should be in your bridal party, how long your veil should be, and how the day should go. But in reality… it’s not about them. It’s about you and your other half. And don’t let anyone (including your photographer) tell you differently. Now, I love first looks. The anticipation, the emotion, the beauty. I'm a HUGE fan!! So (this is my photographer side speaking), because I've had some experience with weddings - I always suggest(never demand) that the bride and groom see each other before the wedding. And (this is my bride side speaking), Sunil and I LOVED being able to see each other before the wedding. Best thing ever!
Why do I feel so strongly? Here are a few reasons...
1. The aisle experience. You don’t want him to see you until the aisle - that moment when he sees you for the first time in your dress and your make up. However, if you see each other before the wedding, the magic isn’t lost - I promise! You’re still walking down the aisle - your aisle - on your wedding day. I’ve seen grooms tear up at the sight of their beautiful brides walking down the aisle, even though they had just seen each other a few minutes earlier. It’s a special moment - no matter what else has happened that day.
2. You look better. Usually by the time you’re about to walk down the aisle, you’ve been hugged a million times, cried over a few dozen times, and have been sweating for about an hour. You won’t look as fresh as if you’ve just gotten into your dress and just had your make up done. If you have a first look, he’ll be able to see you as soon as you’re ready. You’ll look perfect!
3. You’re alone. You’re not surrounded by a hundred other people that you may or may not know super well. You’re alone with your groom, and it’s just the two of you. Imagine the intimacy, the emotion, and the celebration! Do you want to share that moment with everyone? Instead of walking down the aisle and not being able to even talk right away, you get to do whatever you want to! Pray, kiss, talk, laugh or cry - it’s just you, and it makes for some priceless photos.
4. You get to relax. I was once a bride myself! I remember what it was like to be running around like a crazy woman trying to get everything done! Instead of being pestered about details (“Where do you want the cake? The ushers aren’t here yet! Where is your dad’s tie? What should we do…?”), you get to be having fun with your groom and your close friends. Get away from the stress and relax!
5. You start together. This one goes with Number 4! When I married Sunil, the best part about our first look was that we got to start our day together. He always calms me down, and somehow being with him just makes me relax - being able to take a deep breath with my man at my side was priceless. It definitely helped me relax!
6. You get to spend more time together. Your wedding day is a huge collaboration of people - it’s really just a big party! You’ll be seeing tons of people, meeting new faces, and trying to keep up with it all. You’ll probably spend a lot of time side by side, but you may not ever get a moment together! A first look gives you that moment and allows you to spend some time together before the ceremony when everyone arrives.
7. No nerves and less stress. Some brides (and grooms!) get really nervous at the ceremony! If I hadn’t seen Sunil before the ceremony I would’ve probably vomited right before my dad walked me down the aisle. Seeing each other before the wedding will relieve that pressure of seeing each other for the first in front of all those other people! If the couple see’s each other before the ceremony, 9 times out of 10 they’re way more relaxed than if they hadn’t seen each other!!
(Mel and Jose Luis - they're about to have a baby any day now!!)
8. Photos. If you have a list of photos you want to get - I’d strongly recommend getting those taken before the ceremony. You have so much more time to do whatever you want or go wherever you want to! Besides, if you get all the pictures done beforehand and don’t do pictures after the ceremony, you’ll get to the party faster, and you won’t keep you guests waiting.
Whether you're planning your wedding now or you have the privilege of being married someday, I hope these reasons help! And whether you decide to have a first look or not - remember to drink in the moment. It won't last forever. :)