THE ‘FIRST LOOK’ ARGUMENT | Editor’s Notes + Photo Evidence | Why I Feel Strongly About Bucking Tradition & Grabbing That Alone Time Before Your Ceremony.

Hi darlings!  Happy afternoon to you!  Ok enough of that let’s get down to business.

Those images up there are the meat and potatoes of today’s afternooner, but I’ve got to get something off my chest before we get into it.

My mom came by yesterday for our far too infrequent afternoon coffee date/dish session and with her she brought me some porn of the J.Crew/Anthropologie/Victoria’s Secret catalog variety.  However, not even a cafe mocha WITH whipped cream and some fashion therapy could take my mind off of the inevitability of what today is.  Especially since cafe mochas have like 1/3 the caffeine people think they have and so they don’t do s***.  The More You Know *rainbow graphic*

So, you guys, I’ve been feeling like, emotionally, I could go either way today.  And while yes, I will readily admit that it’s likely the PMS talking, there’s definitely another elephant in the room that isn’t helping matters any.  And no I’m not talking about the elephantvahine in the room that I tweeted about yesterday ifyouknowwhatimsayinAndifyoudont... this is what I’m sayin.

Anyway the other more relevant elephant (←that’s funny to say out loud; they are at the ZENITH of word rhyming potential) is Bambino’s surgery.  I, alone, am picking him up from the vet today and of course I had to accidentally come across this an hour ago.  All you really need to see is like three seconds of it to catch my drift.

Now, ignoring the fact that this person’s home video ventures dangerously close to crossing the invisible line into what seems to be amateur puppy porn – which I certainly hope DOES NOT EXIST BUT I WILL NOT BE INVESTIGATING BECAUSE I DO NOT WANT TO CRY ALL YEAR – it also brings to light a cold, harsh reality.  Bambino might look like this when I rescue him from the vet today.  And my friends, I do not think that I can bear it.  Because if puppies ever go through hard, life-defining times, this is surely what that looks like.  Clinical depression is also what that looks like.  Anyway SIIIIIIGH.

Ok, FIRST LOOKS, HERE WE GO.  (Whaddya want a transition?  Well you’re not getting one.)

To first look, or not to first look?

That is the question.  And I’ve been on both sides of this argument; that is, before I landed safely and securely on a single side, forever.  But as a disclaimer, I’m in no way trying to assert that my argument is *the right argument* – it’s simply the argument I personally support, based on personal perspective, as well as countless conversations with couples and photographers alike.  Ok, it’s go time:

Instead of waxing pedantic about the reasoning that brought me to this decision, I’ma make a list.  Mainly because I’ll probably go on forever.  Also, lists are the best.  But watch me go on forever anyway, even though I totes tried to thwart myself from doing that by proclaiming that I’d be making a list.  Ok anyway here goes:

1. Many people, even the most Type A of personalities, get very nervous when the ceremony begins.  And that’s to be expected, because it’s kind of a big deal.  Adding to that, the fact that, depending on the size of your wedding, potentially hundreds of eyes are all on YOU and WHAT YOU’RE GONNA DO NEXT.  It’s hard to ignore.  And, while it doesn’t happen to all couples, the overwhelming nature of a marriage ceremony can result in an involuntary tendency to keep your emotions in check.

2. Your photos will rock, and they will rock extremely HARD.  (Added the ‘extremely’ because I didn’t feel good about putting ‘rock’ and ‘HARD’ up against one another.  I dunno just didn’t feel going there with that sentence.  I’m trying to be serious today.  I’m even wearing my ‘serious hat.’)  To be able to have images that capture the raw expression of exactly what you’re feeling with regards to this entire day, expressed in that one precious moment, and shared between only you two… well that’s just – that’s AMAZEBALLSNESS, folks.  Ya dig?

… And now, to further prove where I’m coming from…

HERE LIES MY ARGUMENT, IN PHOTOS:

Wedding we featured by Simply Bloom

Wedding we featured by Amanda Wilcher

Wedding we featured by Kristyn Hogan

Wedding we featured by Amelia Lyon

Wedding we featured by M David Media

Wedding we featured by Amanda Wilcher

P.S. – Another favorite capture of mine is the first look between the bride and her Dad.  Too special for words when you’ve got a sap (like mine).  Here, behold an example, from a wedding we featured by Nessa K:

Oh, and if you’re worried that the high level of excitement, anticipation and raw emotion will be lost for the ceremony…

It won’t.  In fact, you’ll be a bit more relaxed about the whole thing, so you can actually fully enjoy and be present for it, mentally.  But that’s just my two cents… SO……..

Here’s what I’d love to know.  Where do you stand on this issue?  For first looks?  For waiting ’til the ceremony?  I’m totes game for discussing this issue; after all, it’s highly polarizing.  I just wanna have it out, and if necessary, I am prepared for this to come to fisticuffs.

xoxo!  – Alison

Label(s): {Real Weddings}, {Trends}

Love all of this...

72 comments

  1. Kristin on June 23, 2011

    Oh, we are TOTALLY doing a first look. Not only because I want that special moment for us, but because it makes so much more sense to do bridal party photos before the ceremony.

    Reply
  2. emily on June 23, 2011

    I’m with you in the before camp. *ahem* and I speak from direct knowledge, not just from my 1st, but also my 2nd wedding. (I don’t live in Utah, just too young the first time around) I mean, come on – who better to allay your fears pre-ceremony than your bestie?!

    Onwards, and diving delicately into the cone/phantom ballz/bambino arena… He’ll be fine. Seriously. I’ve only ever lived about 2 years of my entire life without a canine companion. That’s a lot of dogs, yo – and each one has been spayed/neutered (except for Moose, but I digress). It seems a lot worse than it really is. He’ll be totally fine and not emotionally scarred at all and I promise that you won’t have to put any extra money in the therapy jar for him for this event. *hugs*

    Reply
  3. ashley barnett on June 23, 2011

    FIRST LOOKS ROCK…HARD! :) Ok couldn’t resist.

    Reply
  4. Jenn on June 23, 2011

    We’re on the first look train. Not only to get the anxiety bit out of the way, but because we’re doing pretty much all of our pictures prior to the ceremony cause we want to go straight to the party and food afterward, none of that cocktail hour bologna.

    Reply
  5. JenW on June 23, 2011

    Don’t worry, Bambino will be fine. Your vet will take good care of him, and he has had a whole day there to be monitored.

    First looks – love love love em! Some of the reactions you get could not be topped by any moment coming down an aisle. Also, genuine emotion flows from the couples because they know they get to talk and even touch each other. No holding back required! – which is great for photographs/video!

    Reply
  6. Marit on June 23, 2011

    I’m trying to convince my hubs-to-be to see me before the ceremony. It will be OUR moment alone. Not to mention, duh…more time for cocktail hour because a lot of pictures will be done.

    Reply
  7. Kelly Sauer on June 23, 2011

    I am totally a fan of the first look – it is the one place on the wedding day I can give my couples room to be THEM. Everything else is driven by the guest schedule.

    And once they get to see each other, they get to live their day TOGETHER. Plus, the first look can be every bit as dramatic as the entrance down the aisle, or even more so, and you definitely have a chance to FEEL it. I’ve done it both ways, and trust me. It’s a WHOLE lot better with the first look!

    Reply
  8. Amber on June 23, 2011

    We are definitely doing a first look – our ceremony is later in the day and will be directly followed by the reception so it just makes sense for us to do a first look and then do bridal party photos before the ceremony. I also love, love, love the photos that come out of first looks!

    Reply
  9. Claire on June 23, 2011

    Yes, I did!!! I loved my first look, it made for such incredible photography.

    Reply
  10. Danielle Fletcher on June 23, 2011

    It’s a totally personal feeling and I realize that it’s very PRACTICAL to do a first look and you can get some cute shots but I’ve gotta say… there’s nothing more romantic than the groom seeing his bride for the first time while walking towards him down the aisle. The look on the grooms face WHILE he’s waiting at the altar in front of everyone is so powerful.

    Reply
  11. Aunt Edie on June 23, 2011

    Alison – He will be fine, you have seen Apollo and there is nothing wrong with him. He still looks at the females and chases them when he can. I will see Mom Saturday.

    Reply
  12. emily hansel on June 23, 2011

    Absolutely, first look all the way. We did one, and it was one of the most special parts of the day. It also relieved some of the stress/jitters, it was a moment of “oh yea, that’s why I’m doing this!”. And the moments before the church door opened could be about what we were about to do and not about if he’d like my dress.
    The bad luck legend is totally a holdover from when people hadn’t always met their future spouses before the wedding and might freak out and run away.

    Reply
  13. The Perfect Palette on June 23, 2011

    Okay, so I agree that First Looks Rock Hard!!

    BUT, I went the traditional route for a couple of reasons.

    It was SUCH a hard choice because I would have loved the extra daylight time with photos –and knowing me you KNOW i was a photo freak when it came to my wedding.

    But, we were already living together and in many ways we sort of felt married so I just thought that it would be one traditional thing we could do.

    I could have gone either way though!

    I also happen to think that there’s nothing more romantic than the groom seeing his bride for the first time while walking towards him down the aisle.

    The picture of my hubby’s face was priceless. He was so full of emotion! and so was I! But that’s not to say it’s for everyone!! Everyone has their own feelings about this for sure. And I was undecided up until about a week before my wedding! xo, chrissy.

    Reply
  14. Desiree on June 23, 2011

    I am pro first look! I am getting married NEXT weekend (AHH!) and our first look is one of the moments in the day I am most looking forward to! I don’t think this will take away any ounce of “specialness” the ceremony holds. CAN’T WAIT!

    Reply
  15. Jackie P on June 23, 2011

    All for the first look! I think it will make the rest of the day SO MUCH LESS STRESSFUL for us! i hear it’s also one of the only times during the day you will actually get some one-on-one time before being bombarded with guests and requests for photos and dancing and other shenannigans. not to mention that, 1) it will likely be logistically impossible to do photos after the ceremony because i would hate for my photographer to have to constantly herd people out of the way to take pics (our cocktail hr is outdoors and though our guests have free reign, our venue is small and contained and peeps will want to hang out in all the awesome spots that are also excellent for photo ops), and 2) cocktail hr will quite possibly be the BEST part of the reception – not. missing. it. for. the. world. and yes, first look photos = priceless!

    Reply
  16. Mimi Tilton on June 23, 2011

    Well…I’m stumped. Knowing me, I’d tinkle all down my dress if I hadn’t been able to see my groom (not that there is one…ijs). It’s either let me sneak a quick nugs or I’m gonna sneak some Zanex.

    Oh da liddles wif hims proud sash reading “BC Champion 2011″ If you get hims a festive protector ring (they have inflatable ones) and you don’t “go pet the area” a-la that pervo-camera-guy, you’ll be fime.
    Trust me when I say this, “Ain’t nuttin’ more adorable than a drunk-off-hims-bottom McPupper-only-penisinmyPants.
    <3

    Reply
  17. Quin on June 23, 2011

    All for it! I am SOO emotional. The boy is too (would never admit it). Seeing him for the first time down the aisle would be waaaaaay too much for me to handle.

    And, to be honest, I would rather only shed a glistening tear walking down the aisle to my hubby, instead of an unattractive, make-up smearing snot-filled sob fest.

    It’s the truth..

    Reply
  18. Amber on June 23, 2011

    I finally convinced the sweetie into first look photos after explaining that the tradition of not seeing each other prior to the ceremony evolved from arranged marriages and reducing the likelihood of one half of the couple (or both, I guess) from running off. Now he’s all about having more time to party after the ceremony.
    As for Bambino… the most traumatic part for my pups was running into things with his head cone on. So we kept it off when we could watch him and make sure he didn’t lick any surgucal areas.

    Reply
  19. Kirsten on June 23, 2011

    Just did my with Serendipity/Candice&Travis and totally recommend it. Loved being able to focus on just the pictures and not worry about missing out on anything.

    Reply
  20. Christine on June 23, 2011

    Wow…I’m in shock. Those photos are so beautiful. I’m going to be honest here…I had never heard of “First Look” before this blog. I mean, I knew what it meant but I didn’t know it was a coined photography term. I didn’t realize people took pictures of it.

    Before I read today’s blog, I was the superstitious bride who VERY adamantly resisted the idea of my groom seeing me before the ceremony. But you, and many of those who commented above, are right!. Why lose that moment? The reason I resisted it was because I thought it was so important that the First Look moment be captured by all of the guests. But what better way to capture that moment than intimately? and then freeze it forever? Oh, I’m so doing the First Look!

    Thank you for opening my eyes to such a beautiful idea!!

    P.S. I’m sending prayers your way for Bambeens…but I know he’ll be just fine! No need to worry!!

    Reply
  21. WrappedCouture on June 23, 2011

    I’ve never been married but have helped so many brides down the aisle. I love the private moment between the couple before they walk down the aisle but also the anticipation of the bride walking down the aisle. I loved the pictures in this post and seeing the emotions just as high before AND after the bride walks down the aisle. That changes things for me, so I’m on the fence now where I was so against the first look.

    Reply
  22. Elle on June 23, 2011

    I dunno what I’m going to do yet…

    I love the tradition of him seeing me for the first time when I walk down the aisle but I would also love that special private moment that perhaps, wouldn’t come until after we were married.

    Stumped….

    Reply
  23. Lena on June 23, 2011

    This is one of those things I have absolutely NO IDEA what I prefer. On the one hand, I love the romance of seeing your guy standing at the end of the aisle, and him catching his breath at the sight of you.

    On the other, I LOVE the photos, and the intimacy of that moment. I think I’ll defer to John and our photographer, and let them hash out that particularly decision. It’ll be healthy for me to have one thing I’m not the boss of.

    I hope you and Bambi are feeling ok today-he’ll be ok, even if he has a few rough days and gives you that look.

    xoxoxoxox, Lena

    Reply
  24. Melodious on June 23, 2011

    We did a first look and I can’t imagine doing it any other way. It was one of my favorite parts of the day and the photos were just wonderful. Plus, if you’re a crybaby like I am, you get the added benefit of a few photos before you get all snotty, red-faced, and teary-eyed.

    Reply
  25. Liene Stevens on June 23, 2011

    I’ll add to your list:

    3. At the altar, the groom is usually mic’d, or there is a directional microphone nearby for the vows. Which means any verbal response to how amazing the bride looks gets heard by the entire congregation of guests, and isn’t private between the bride and groom. Not so romantic. Because of this, many grooms keep their thoughts to themselves to tell the brides later, but that chance doesn’t come until close to midnight and the moment isn’t the same.

    Reply
  26. Erin on June 23, 2011

    I am sooooo glad you posted about this! I have seriously been debating this since my photographers first brought it up. They highly advocate the practice, and state it makes for a much better time flow after the ceremony. I had always been steadfast on that, when I come down the aisle look that I never thought of it any other way. So I thank you for posting those pictures! The raw emotion that was captured literally got me teary-eyed!

    ps. The video is disturbing…. Why would some poke at their dogs surgery zone!?!? I understand the dog is on drugs, but me thinks its a tad mean.
    Hope Bambino is doing well!

    Reply
  27. Leeann on June 23, 2011

    Thanks for this post but I’ll continue to read it later because I’m dying to hear your take on “first look”. But I had to comment because I watched the clip and ironically this is what my dog Jessie looks like right now after her spaying today! Poor puppy… What I wouldn’t give to have her back to barking at everything (this week it’s airplanes too) and chewing my shoes. So sad :(

    Reply
  28. Kristin @ Bona Fide Bride on June 24, 2011

    Oh, TOTES on the first look. All romance aside, do you really want to miss out on the awesome kobe beef sliders and sushi at your RIDIC cocktail hour while you go take pictures because you couldn’t do them beforehand? Um, no.

    Reply
  29. Kirsten on June 24, 2011

    We are going the traditional route. That’s just who we are. Our entire relationship has been traditional. Even “waiting” till we are married.
    But we plan to do as many pictures as we can before the ceremony without seeing each other. We will still be able to capture the emotion of both our faces as he sees me for the first time. We won’t be that delayed getting to the reception. And we will get our private moment after we are married. We wouldn’t want it any other way. We want to be married with the ring on our hands in the pictures. But that’s just us.

    Reply
  30. Kelly Elizabeth on June 24, 2011

    I really don’t know which way to go. Our ceremony isn’t until 4:30…gah. STUMPED. STALLED. FLOUNDERING. At least I have til September to decide.

    Reply
  31. Kristen on June 24, 2011

    I’m a fan of the first look. My ex and I did it for our wedding way back when and we were much less nervous when the ceremony began, we had a beautiful moment to ourselves (which can be hard to get for most brides and grooms), and we got some amazing photos as a result. My fiance and I plan to do a first look for our wedding next year.

    Reply
  32. Leah on June 24, 2011

    I plan to do this for my upcoming wedding. I think you can have a very special moment alone before all the busyness begins. I know it will definitely calm my nerves as well since he’s the only one who can calm me down when I get all worked up.
    Great images here too. Can’t wait!

    xo L.

    Reply
  33. rachel thomas on June 24, 2011

    we’re not first looking it and i’m so glad that ‘the perfect palette’ commented. ty and i are in the same boat, we’ve lived together for years, own a house together, and have 2 puppies. we’re getting married in a field and having an endless cocktail hour, we aren’t traditional people but with that being said we’re still aching for a little tradition. for my whole life i’ve imagined walking down the aisle to be such a defining moment and i think the element of surprise will enhance that. plus our photographers are a married couple so they can split up and take tons of photos of us individually beforehand.

    Reply
  34. Ariella on June 24, 2011

    I was so, so happy we did a first look. Our actual first look wasn’t as romantic as I had envisioned, but I chalk that up to my husband generally having a problem with outwardly showing emotion. Plus, he admitted that he thought so much about the whole thing that he put so much pressure on himself to have the perfect reaction.

    Anyways, despite having been with him for an hour and a half before our ceremony, I still started crying halfway down the aisle.

    Reply
  35. Dina Marie on June 24, 2011

    I used to hate the idea until my bridesmaid (a photog) had an important conversation with ma face that changed my mind. Plus, I’m an easy target for anxiety, and seeing my sweet man before would definitely ease the tension. Plus, Allison… He’s the kinda guy who needs a few moments when he sees me dressed up to smell my hair, kiss my skin, etc… And that ain’t happening in front of Fr. Ian, umm kay?

    P.s. Welcome to the iPhone family!

    Reply
  36. Madison on June 24, 2011

    I’ve never heard of first looks before, maybe it isnt a british thing yet? However its an idea i def want to explore now!

    Reply
  37. Elle on June 24, 2011

    Photographer here, LOVE first looks! I’ve seen more grooms tear up a bit during them than at the ceremony when everyone is watching.

    Reply
  38. Candice Cossel on June 24, 2011

    As a bride I myself did a first look and it was a defining moment for me that day. It was so huge. It calmed my nerves. It centered me. It was the best part. Also it didn’t take ANYTHING away from the walk down the aisle. It was still the biggest moment ever to see him looking at me. Every step all I knew is that I was walking right to him. BEST EVER!

    As a photog, I will say that my most stress free, relaxed, happy couples are those that do a first look (99% of my couples do).

    There is NO WAY a first look takes away from that magical moment at the alter.

    Reply
  39. Jamie Jackson on June 26, 2011

    As a photographer, I LOVE first looks, as a bride I didn’t want it at my wedding. I love the photographs that come from those shots but I must admit I am still superstitious. To each their own!

    Reply
  40. Chantal on June 26, 2011

    I also agree with the traditional, not seeing each other before the wedding. I believe that you should not let yourself get so caught up in the pictures that you forget the real meaning behind the day. You can always put the dress on another day and take pictures anywhere you want. Enjoy your wedding for what it represents and the love you share. I suggest telling the photographer to take a picture of the grooms face the first time he sees the bride, then direct attention to the bride walking down the aisle.

    Reply
  41. Maegen on June 27, 2011

    Thank you thank you for posting this. I’ve been going back and forth (in my head) about which way to go for our wedding and you made AMAZING points for having first look pictures. It was the list and the photos combined that did it, I’m loving the idea now. Naturally I called up my fiance and he agrees! He has been pretty traditional and I was not sure what his reaction would be… but he was all for it. Amazingly. So so happy right now, thanks for the post!

    Reply
  42. Marc Percy on June 28, 2011

    I am too on board with the first look idea. The article only mentions photographers, but it really comes to life on video. I’ve just started suggesting this to my couples as I am starting to get more into the cinematic films. So go for it… you won’t regret it.

    Reply
  43. Alyssa on June 29, 2011

    When I got married we both actually wanted to do the first look but because of my parents we did not. It was the one thing they wanted. I don’t regret it at all. I think doing either is amazing and they both offer so much but for us it was such a beautiful moment in our lives. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I wouldn’t have any part of my wedding different.

    It is way easier for the photographer though so that is always a plus. But I will never forget the emotion I felt seeing my husband for the first time that day. Amazing.

    Reply
  44. Travis Cossel on June 30, 2011

    I saw a lot of comments about the first look making things easier for the photographer, and that’s not quite accurate. In terms of photography, doing pictures beforehand gives YOU much more time to get great photographs. At the end of the day, the photographs are NOT for the photographer, they are for YOU. Don’t forget that. Also, without fail any couple I’ve ever seen do pictures after the ceremony is always just anxious to get to the reception at that point, and this affects how they look in their photographs .. again, THEIR photographs.

    More than anything we council our couples to do the photosession before the ceremony because it gives them a chance to really connect with each other on the wedding day. Obviously we want them to have great photographs and a great film, but more than anything we want them to have a great time on their wedding day and not be rushed or stressed about pictures after the ceremony. And honestly, we see so many huge emotional moments during first looks that pretty much never happen during the ceremony.

    So brides and grooms, please understand that first looks are really for YOU and not for US. d;-)

    Reply
  45. Rachael on July 4, 2011

    Oh, I am totes bookmarking this for when it comes time to have this conversation with Boyfriend. He’s indicated super traditional ideas in the past and I SO WANT A FIRST LOOK. This will make such a good argument for my case, hah! Thank you!

    Reply
  46. Karinn on July 6, 2011

    So I am totally on the “first-look” side! About 7 years ago (3 years bf I even met or knew my current fiance) I looked a friends wedding album and was introduced to the first look concept and I feel in love. The pictures were amazing and she said the moment was so special AND it made the rest of the ceremony so much more relaxed and fun. I decided at that moment no matter who I married that I would do a first look. I am planning on having my bridal party and my immediate family present somewhere in the room/area so they can still take part in that moment as well. Not to mention that we can then go right from the ceremony into the cocktail hour!

    Reply
  47. brandi on July 7, 2011

    I am getting married in September and we are not doing a first look. We love the idea of more pictures but I want the first time he sees me to be when I walk down to him. <3

    Reply
  48. Melissa F on August 29, 2011

    Love the first look. More time for pics in a private moment, where the photog can get in close. Makeup looks nicer, people are more comfortable. Every one that waits until after the ceremony leaves everyone feeling rushed, and with not many pics of the couple alone.

    Besides, the superstition of not seeing each other goes back to the time of arranged marriages when they were afraid of the bride being a troll and the groom backing out.

    Reply
  49. Jessica Rodriguez on September 19, 2011

    First look is a must! Unless you are incredibly traditional, the first look serves many purposes. First, its awesome to see your hunny in their respective wedding gear ALONE rather than in front of the whole crowd. You get to hug/kiss/laugh/cry right off the bat and not have to wait through the ceremony to share those moments. Secondly, it saves you from having to take pictures during your cocktail hour or reception. Thirdly, it honestly makes for the best pictures. That candid, initial moment of seeing each other is priceless and will hands down give you the best shots. Plus, its just freakin cute!

    Reply
  50. Lauren on November 29, 2011

    After reading this I really wanted to do a first look, but when I talked to my fiance he was adamant about not seeing me before the wedding.

    I just made him read this post and guess what.. he’s changed his mind.. we’re doing a first look!! :)

    Thanks!!!

    Reply
  51. Adalita on January 3, 2012

    I don’t want him to see me before AI walk down the aisle. I want his first look to be his real reaction full of emotion and happiness. And I know we both will look gorgeous anyway!

    Reply
  52. Elizabeth Travis on January 22, 2012

    Just found out my son & his fiance are planning on doing “First Look” & I’m crushed! I understand the “practical” aspects but can’t help but feel like I’ve had that moment of seeing my son’s face, the full emotion & joy of him seeing his beautiful bride for the first time stolen away. As it is being the mother of the groom you miss out on so much. Forget superstition, the power is in the “look of intense love” when the groom sees his bride walking down that aisle & he’s in awe of her. First Look robs family & friends from witnessing this amazing moment! It’s like putting the cart before the horse- taking wedding pictures BEFORE they’ve said “I do”…where’s the ring…oops forgot we’re not married yet…. I really hope this is a short time trend..maybe I’ll get lucky at my 2nd sons wedding..

    Reply
    • K.Barker on May 31, 2012

      We are getting married next year and there is no way I’m doing a First Look. First of all, I witnessed this at a friend’s wedding.. it was awkward and staged so that people could still see them. I felt like it should have been this intimate moment but it was just turned out really cheesy. Traditionally, the groom should see you down that aisle and have that moment, to capture your eyes and keep you calm when you walk down toward him. Additionally, staged photos are not a trend anymore, gone are the days when the entire family lines up and the photographer gets to take 100 shots of each intermediate family member posing. So there’s plenty of time to take candid and bride/groom shots after the wedding. I’m with Elizabeth, I hope this cheesy, staged trend dies down too.

      Reply
    • chantel on November 24, 2012

      i agree thats just defeats the purpose of surprising the groom,matter of fact the whole tradition i hope this trend stop and very,very fast and soon…

      Reply
  53. La Bella Planners on February 15, 2012

    I love the idea of the First Look. You nail it righ on the ehad when you say that the pictures will ROCK. There is something to be said about that moment when the B&G first see each other. It is such an intimate moment that should be just the two of them.

    When you start pinning hundreds of eyes on them, that is another moment. Both should be captured, but the first look is just so romantic and happy.

    Reply
  54. Perfect Florida Beach Wedding on February 21, 2012

    I am simply in love with this Trend. Such a great way to have a private shared moment right before the Ceremony.

    Reply
  55. Stephanie on February 27, 2012

    Elizabeth Travis – unfortunately for you… the whole day is about the bride and groom. It’s 2012, giving guilt is no longer tolerated. Trends have nothing to do with it.

    Reply
    • chantel on November 24, 2012

      stephanie,u must be a young person…only young people like u follow trends such as these as long as young people like u follow trends,the marriage might as well be as good as dead!!!!!!!!

      Reply
  56. Casey Fatchett on May 17, 2012

    I recommend doing a “First Look” to my clients especially when they are concerned about how long it will take to do their portraits and if they want to actually enjoy their cocktail hour with their guests. I would like to comment on Elizabeth’s post – what is keeping her from being anywhere nearby when the “First Look” is done? I commonly have friends and family members looking over my shoulder when I photograph a “First Look” – and when I got married last year, we did a first look. Believe me, it did not diminish the amount of ‘pure emotion’ I felt watching my wife walk down the aisle. I cried like a baby. I did at the first look too. And we have pictures of both forever!

    Reply
  57. I was always led to believe that it was bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony. However, my son blew that idea all to hell. When they were married 3 years ago, they decided to have the pictures prior to the ceremony.

    The reason for this was because my son loves appetizers and he said that they were having a cocktail party after the ceremony and before the dinner with wonderful appetizers and there was no way that he was going to miss his own cocktail party for pictures.

    That was the reason, however, once I took part in the wedding this way, I could see many reasons for doing it this way. First of all, the whole wedding was at the same hotel and everyone in the wedding party had stayed the night before. Therefore, everyone got dressed at the hotel and we all went outside for pictures. The clothes were not creased, the makeup and hair were fresh and the pictures were great.

    It also eased everyones’ tension. Because we had all seen the bride and her dress, including arriving guests, it wasn’t that terrible emotional scene when the bride walks down the aisle.

    After the ceremony, it was really nice to have the bride and groom mingle at the cocktail pary and, of course, Tim got to eat as many appetizers as possible.

    Reply
  58. Jentry on May 17, 2012

    My husband and I did a first look, and I absolutely loved it. It helped me relax and ENJOY my ceremony. We also got some seriously badass photos because of it. Due to my personal experience with it, I’m always excited to hear when my wedding photography clients choose to do the first look as well. It makes me happy for them that they get to experience that super special moment. Love it.

    Reply
  59. Mary on June 6, 2012

    My friend just had her wedding this past weekend and she had all the photos taken before the wedding and did a First Look. I had never heard of it before and honestly, I thought it detracted from the whole ceremony. It honestly did feel like they were just doing photos first for the sake of convenience. I feel like First Looks are good for some personalities, but not others. In my friend’s case, I feel like she was too nervous to be really enjoying the First Look moment, as she was thinking about the ceremony ahead. And since they had already seen each other, there was no excitement when the ceremony arrived. As soon as they had finished the photos, they went straight to the ceremony with almost no break in between. I felt like there was a lack of emotion during the ceremony that possibly would have been there if they had waited to see each other. But I can see how First Looks can be beneficial to other personality types. It’s true that my friend and her husband didn’t get any time to themselves all day and night. If and when I ever get married, I’m still leaning toward not having a First Look, but that may change.

    Reply
  60. Sharmaine Mejias on June 27, 2012

    Hi there, just wanted to mention, I loved this article. It was funny. Keep on posting!

    PoIuYt

    Reply
  61. Brittany on July 2, 2012

    Great photos, and blog about having a first look. I’m a professional wedding videographer and photographer, and completely agree with the points you made.

    At the end of the day, I tell the brides it’s truly their decision, but so much is to be said for having those priceless memories captured up close.

    Reply
  62. Wedding Dress Designer on March 11, 2013

    to look or not to look …. from experience most of my brides are first lookers and they love it.

    Reply
  63. Megan M. on March 12, 2013

    I really Love the idea of getting pictures first, but I also want that picture of my Love seeing me walk down the isle for the first time. Its very romantic! I do however, Love the idea of getting all the family first time shots out of the way! Mom and Dad will be sobbing anyway!!

    Reply
  64. ShillawnA on March 20, 2013

    Love this!!!

    Reply
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