To take a Wedding “First Look” or not?

Wedding First Look

In an increasingly popular pull away from tradition, the First Look at a wedding is becoming a more and more familiar sight, but it is something that can leave many couples on the fence. So if you have an upcoming wedding, sit and talk with your photographer about having a First Look at the wedding and then make your own mind up course. Never feel pressured into doing something on your wedding day that you are not entirely sure of. But of course, always keep an open mind to something new that could be very, very special.

Here Urban Bride Chic explores the exploding wedding phenomenon that is the First Look.

What is a First Look?

Desert WeddingThe First Look at a wedding is a moment when you break away from the age-old tradition of the Groom seeing the Bride for the first time in full Wedding-get up only when she walks into the ceremony. This has long been the way, or even that moment of full reveal has to wait until the Bride is at the altar and she pulls back her veil. But the First Look is a planned moment before the wedding when the Groom gets to see his Bride. This is organized by the Photographer and the purpose of it is to try and capture a raw moment of sheer delight, a private moment between the couple when they take some time out of the busy day to really stop and appreciate each other.

Just as example, one of the common ways that this is set up, is by having the Groom stand with his back to his bride, while she walks up and “surprises” him. This is away from the ceremony setting, perhaps in the garden when the couple would take their regular wedding photographs after the nuptials, and then it is the job of the photographer to capture the emotions of the Groom seeing his bride for the first time. This leads then to an impromptu pre-wedding photography session and these photographs generally are not as staged and they are a little more natural than the post-ceremony pictures.

Should you give a First Look a second thought?

Yes. This is something relatively new and while this may appeal to the modern Urban Bride, there are things to think about. It can be one of the most amazing moments of the actual day, because the couple aren’t thinking about reciting vows or getting through the ceremony without fainting. There they are in their little private setting (well not so-private because it’s common to have a viewing crowd off-camera for the First Look), the Groom drinking in his beautiful Bride. But what if it doesn’t quite go to plan?

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Here Urban Bride Chic considers the Pro’s and Con’s of a First Look:

First Look Pro’s

The First Look is something that could offer the couple a chance to shake off those pre-ceremony nerves. If there are stresses about everything going perfect with the vow recital for example, seeing each other before the nuptials in a more relaxed setting could settle nerves and make the ceremony go more smoothly. You are there for each and seeing each other before hand can have a wonderfully calming effect.

There is going to be way less pressure on the couple in getting their first look at each other without being under the scrutiny of the entire wedding party.

Wedding First LookIt is also a good chance to get some relaxed photographs in with your photographer and that is actually something that could save a little bit of time on the back-end of things after the ceremony, so that you can get a little more time in with guests. Another aspect of this First Look and getting your photographs done early is the light of the day. If the light is going to be fading at the end of the ceremony, then why not get more photo’s done beforehand in better light?

The whole idea behind the first look is for real raw emotions to come out, to see those loving, hearty embraces. Basically if you can see yourself getting tot he end of the wedding day and thinking ‘I wish we had hadn’t skipped a first look because we could have had more time with guests afterwards’ then talk with your photographer and make this something special. This doesn’t hasn’t to take away from the special moment of the Bride making her grand entrance.

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First Look Con’s

We aren’t trying to deter anyone, because the pro’s of a First Look can add something special and wonderful. However, something to think about is the pressure on the groom. It may be a little bit awkward for some grooms who aren’t used to having all the attention on just them. That’s what that First Look is all about really, the photographer capturing the Groom’s reaction. But what if he doesn’t react other than with a simple smile and a “you look beautiful”? What if that emotional tear fails to emerge? What if stage fright gets him and there isn’t the big emotional reveal? It could get a little awkward.

The photographs may not end being as natural as you would have hoped from a First Look. There is a certain degree of staging in all this to try and capture the Groom’s reaction. But if you are forced to stand there back to back and then ordered to turn around to see each other, then the reaction may not be totally real. After all, you are paying a photographer for this extra session and reactions can be forced because of that.

It therefore may not potentially be as natural as if the Groom were to see his Bride for the first time walking down the aisle. In that moment all eyes are on her and that is when a photographer may be able to capture the real, emotional reaction of the Groom.

It could also be perceived as a selfish thing as well. Because that special moment of the Bride walking in the room and of the guests seeing the Groom, is something special that all would like to enjoy. It may not be the same if the two have already been seen together prior to the ceremony.

Trust your instinct

Remember at all times that this is YOUR wedding. Just because your photographer or wedding planner brings it up as a suggestion, doesn’t mean that you have to go with it. If you are uncomfortable breaking with tradition, then don’t feel forced into anything. You could also look for alternatives as well. How? Well why not have the Bride have a First Look with her father, so that he gets to enjoy a very special moment with his Bride before he escorts her to her Groom? You are in control of your wedding, stay in control and never feel forced into doing anything where you find yourself asking “Do I have to…?”

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Share your thoughts about the First Look wedding on Twitter with Urban Bride Chic #UBCFirstLook and let us know what you think of the growing wedding trend.