Apple Brides ran this piece I wrote on their website today. Thanks, Apple Brides, for sharing!
As a wedding photographer, I love to witness and capture authentic moments. It’s the genuine interactions and raw emotions of individuals and couples that fuel my creativity and cause my heart to swell, and I strive to create artistic images that are full of feeling, reflecting the beauty of their special day. This is why the First Looks is always my favorite part of any wedding. In my experience, it is almost always more emotional than the “traditional” walk down the aisle. In fact, rather than taking away from meaningfulness of a groom seeing his bride walk down the aisle, I have found that it adds to it by heightening the couple’s emotions, because it allows for them to experience two separate rushes of emotions before they say their “I do’s!”
While I heartily support the “traditional” walk down the aisle for the couples who envision it, here are the top 5 reasons why I recommend considering crafting a First Look in to your special day.
It Creates a Smooth Flow for the Day
Typically, I tell my couples to plan for a First Look 2-3 hours before their ceremony. This allows more time to capture family and bridal party photos, as well as more time for artistic portraits of just the two of you. A longer artistic session means you have more images of you and your love together, which will likely be the most important images to you of the day. In a “traditional” wedding, most couples don’t make it to their cocktail hour because they’re off taking pictures, and trying to squeeze all of their groupings into a short amount of time. Without the worry of keeping your guests waiting, you can jump right in to the fun of celebrating your union.
In my experience, the greatest benefit to seeing each other before the ceremony is that it gives you the chance to be fully in the moment the first time you see your soon-to-be spouse. This is an incredibly powerful and intimate time for the two of you, and without the pressure of 200 guests watching your every move, you’re able to ignore everything else and fully embrace the moment. It also gives you private time together to bond, by saying a prayer or exchanging meaningful gifts. Most likely, this will be the only time you get to spend alone together during the day, so I like to take a step back and photograph your experience with a zoom lens from afar. This gives you the chance to enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity to let your emotions flow and speak freely to each other without an audience.
It Instantly Calms Your Nerves
At some point during your wedding day, you are going to feel some nervous jitters (this is especially true for the guys!). When I start to see this happen, I always find myself saying, “you just need to see your bride/groom” – and it’s true! There is something so soothing about seeing your love. The moment you do, the jitters melt away and the rush of excitement truly begins. When you see each other before the walk down the aisle, your nerves are eased, having spent more of your special day together, enjoying each other’s company before the moment you are united in marriage.
You Look and Feel Your Best
I work very closely with my couples to create a photography timeline that compliments their wedding timeline, while also considering outside factor that help create the best possible portraits for the day. As a natural light photographer, lighting is by far the most important component to this. Ceremony lighting can sometimes be harsh, depending on the location and time of day, but incorporating a First Look into your timeline allows me the opportunity to find the best lighting at that time of day, to create the soft, romantic portraits of you and your love that I am known for, and that you will treasure for a lifetime. As an added bonus, First Looks often take place not long after hair is styled and makeup is applied, so you look fresh and feel your best!
You Have More Time to Spend with Your Guests
You spend months planning your special day, and a First Look allows you to enjoy it! Because you’ve seen each other beforehand and have had the majority of your portraits photographed, you can head straight from your ceremony to your reception or cocktail hour. Now you don’t have to worry about keeping your guests waiting, and have extra time to mingle and enjoy the fruits of all your planning. This also gives me more time to capture more details shots and candids of those great, unplanned moments while you chat with your special guests.