Ok, let’s start off with “What is a first look”?
A first look is an opportunity for your groom to see you, before you are walking down the aisle. Traditionally this is done with the Groom standing facing away from you as you walk up to him from behind and tap him on the shoulder. He turns and sees you in your dress, and starts tearing up, overwhelmed with emotion.
Why have a first look?
While it does break tradition, there are 2 very big reasons that a first look is a good idea. let’s take a look at those reasons and how they can impact your big day.
Reason 1 – Your Timeline
As you are probably figuring out wedding days are packed full when it comes to the time line, and a big part of the day is photography. You, your groom, your girls, his guys, the full wedding party, his family, your family, Nana, Papaw, crazy aunt Louise…. It takes a lot of time to get through everyone. If you have to wait until after the ceremony, it can really put a significant gap between the end of the ceremony, and you being announced at the reception. Guest are waiting around and will start complaining (trust me, I have seen it a lot).
By doing a first look, you may need to be ready a little bit earlier, but you can get all the wedding party photos out of the way before the ceremony, so that all that is left in between is family. You will probably still want to do some portraits of just the two of you after the ceremony as well, just to get that beautiful golden hour lighting in your photos, but it will not take nearly as long as doing it all in between.
Reason 2 – A moment alone together to take it in
In a traditional setting, with no first look, your groom sees you as you come down the aisle. He is so nervous that he just has an awkward look on his face, the emotion is there, but quickly the officiant is asking you to step here and there, so many people looking at you, it can be really overwhelming, and you loose that intimate moment.
With a first Look, you are alone. It is just the two of you (and your photographer/videographer). There is so much less pressure. When he turns around, overwhelmed with emotion he can let the tears flow, give you a huge hug, tell you how beautiful you are in your dress, and just stop for a moment and take it all in. No one interrupting to get the ceremony going, no crowd staring at you. You can actually take a moment to breath, and be together.
But I want him to have a great reaction when I come down the aisle.
Honestly, he still will! It is actually more likely that he will have a great reaction to you coming down the aisle if he has already seen you, and can now just focus on the fact that you are walking down the aisle to him (its hard for guys to process multiple things at once).
I don’t want bad luck.
Yes, they say it is bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. This is just superstition and has no proof what so ever. I have been part of countless weddings where there was a first look and the couples have had wonderful marriages. The quality of your marriage is about what you put into it, not if you see each other. This tradition actually came from the times of arranged marriages. The groom was kept from seeing the bride to make sure he would actually go through with the wedding regardless of her identity or physical appearance. Let that sink in for a bit. If he would run from your looks, you don’t want him anyhow.
So all of this said, the choice is totally up to you. You can probably see where I stand on the topic, but talk about it with your groom, and make that decision together. At then end of the day it is about what you want, not me.