Weddings are so beautiful… even after all the planning was over, and now even when the wedding is over, I still find myself watching the occasional Say Yes to the Dress and all of the fun TLC shows that cater to hopeless romantics like me. Our wedding on September 28, 2013 was the BEST day of my entire life. Walking down the aisle to the love of my life and hearing his beautiful vows, followed by an outpouring of love by our dearest friends and family and dancing the night away until we literally were shut down are things I will never ever forget.
And as beautiful as weddings are, they are incredibly complex in ways I never even imagined. No wonder girls dream about their wedding since they are little girls…no wonder why, because there are SO many elements to consider, one of which is to decide whether or not you’ll have a “first look”. What exactly does that entail? Well, this is a somewhat new concept where the bride and groom have a big reveal before the ceremony begins. What are some of the pros, you may ask?
1. More photos/time: A first look allows for more bride and groom portraits. Most weddings have a ceremony, followed by cocktail hour, which then leads right into the reception. That leaves exactly one hour for family portraits on both sides, wedding party photos, and bride and groom portraits. And notice, I only mentioned photos. In that time, sometimes brides change their hairstyle or dress, or just need a moment to sit down, have a bite to eat and take it all in with their new hubby! Having a first look allows extra time for these photos that don’t have to be crammed into cocktail hour. In addition to this, you can figure out a creative way to reveal yourself to your groom, and this creates more excitement and can make for some awesome photos.
2. Less anxiety: Seeing your future hubby/future wifey before the ceremony can relieve a lot of anxiety on a potentially stressful day that you have been planning for many many months. You can get out those tears of happiness before you walk down the aisle (if you don’t want those tears to come in front of your guests), and this lets you have a little make-up retouch if those tears start a-flowin’. It can also give both of you peace of mind that you don’t have a runaway bride/groom. 😉
Okay, so there are definitely cons, as well.
1. It breaks a very old tradition: If you’re a traditional bride, you may be flabbergasted by the thought of a first look. I definitely was and I don’t even consider myself a traditional bride. In my mind and my husband’s, the biggest and most important tradition of a wedding is that the groom is NOT to see the bride before she walks down the aisle. They separate after rehearsal dinner and all family members and bridal party members immediately become body guards to ensure the groom does not lay eyes on the bride until that moment when “Here Comes the Bride” plays.
2. That moment you walk down the aisle is not quite the same: Now this is my personal opinion. It was something both my husband and I feared would happen if he saw me before ceremony. One of my favorite moments when I attend weddings or watch wedding shows, or even any movie with a wedding ceremony in it is that very moment when the groom gets to see his beautiful bride walking down the aisle. I love the expressions, the smiles, the tears, the gasps of that very special man in that woman’s life who is filled with so much emotion at seeing his glowing bride walk towards him to vow to spend the rest of her life with him.
So after weighing the pros and cons, Matt and I decided, a first look was not for us. We think some of the first look photos and reveals are filled with emotion and absolutely gorgeous, but it was a tradition we wanted to keep on our wedding day. We instead decided to opt for a modified first look, a pseudo-first-look, if you will. Matt was blindfolded, but instead of removing the blindfold when I finally tapped on his shoulder and he turned around, the blindfold remained covering his eyes. We were able to steal that special, quiet moment together where we could cry our tears, then pull ourself together, and we could just calm each other’s nerves. It made for a cool photo-op as well. Now, don’t get me wrong. It took me a very long time to come to this decision, and even after I did, there was some flip-flopping but in the end, we stuck with our guts, which is something I would definitely recommend. Our pseudo-first-look ended up being perfect for us.
The other thing that helped our decision to nix a First Look was the concept of a Day After Session. It is also sometimes known as a Trash the Dress session. It’s a great opportunity to put on seemingly the most important dress of your entire life just one more time to get some beautiful portraits of you and your hubs that you may not have had time for on the big day. BINGO. Nailed it on the head for us. Micah of Micah & Megan Photography trekked up to Mount Baldy, California with us while we were back in town for Thanksgiving for these shots. We absolutely love how it was all captured. I will let the photos tell the rest of the story.
Check out more of Micah & Megan’s amazing amazing work here!