It's a topic that has sparked internet debates and (probably) cost friendships: first looks. Photographers seem to be pushing them and couples either REALLY want them or REALLY don't. So, what exactly are they -- and should you have one at your wedding?
A first look is when the couple sees each other before their wedding ceremony.
Wait, what? People do that? Isn't that sort of against tradition?
Yep, couples do that all the time. It's not against tradition -- the tradition is that the groom isn't supposed to see the dress before the wedding day. Besides, how do new traditions get started if old traditions are not challenged? ;)
I always leave it up to my couples if they want to do a modern first look or a traditional first look -- meaning, do they want to see each other before the wedding ceremony or do they want to see each other for the first on their wedding day at opposite ends of the aisle?
Personally, I love first looks.
There is so much raw emotion during first looks -- from both partners.
The couple is usually full of nerves on their wedding day...most of them go away after they see their future spouse.
More portraits can be taken before the ceremony if the couple doesn't have to spend time in separate areas for very long, opening up the time during cocktail hour for more relaxed portraits...or more portraits.
The couple is allowed to be present during their wedding ceremony as they aren't taken with absorbing the presence and appearance of their beloved. They can listen to the readings and the vows.
It's one of the few times that the couple is able to be alone on their wedding day. Even if it's just for a brief fifteen minutes, they are able to snuggle and be loving towards each other without a large party of people around them. It may be the only chance that you get to be (mostly) alone until you go home and crash out of exhaustion.
I also like to stress that a first look provides a good time to remember why you are getting married. All the months of planning and stress have culminated into this day -- with this person. Take this chance and be with them in this moment. Look into their eyes. Hold their hands. Hug them. Laugh with them. Kiss them. Treasure their presence in this moment.
Most of those things can't happen when you're at opposite ends of the aisle -- or when you first greet each other in front of all those gathered as witnesses. When you opt for a traditional first look, you are jumping right into your wedding ceremony after you are able to take the hands of your beloved. You're so full of beholding them that you may not (probably won't) hear the wedding ceremony. Well, you'll hear it but you won't be paying attention -- not really.
Your wedding day goes by in a flash (trust me!) and you should take every opportunity to be truly present during as many of the moments that happen as you can.
That said, it is completely up to you if you have a modern first look or a traditional first look. I definitely do not try to sway my couples one way or the other -- but I will share my thoughts if asked!
What do you think -- what kind of first look are you going to want on your wedding day?