Cover Photo by Kim Hymes Photography
It used to be unheard of – and even bad luck – for couples to see each other before the ceremony. Not anymore! Will you jump on the first look train for some memorable photos and intimate moments?
It takes a lot to shake up time-honored rituals, especially ones as cherished as wedding traditions. Chief among these formalities is couples waiting until the ceremony to see their betrothed for the first time. The suspense of couples not seeing each other before the ceremony lends magic to weddings that tugs at our inner romantic. But recently, this beloved custom has been upstaged by a modern addition to the wedding ritual arsenal: the first look.
Once considered a wedding taboo, the first look allows couples to share an intimate moment together before saying “I do,” as well as an opportunity for some sweet and private photos before the rush of the day. As a practice continues to gain traction, you might consider skipping old-school conventions to embrace this new tradition for the following reasons:
Just think of the incredible photos!
Seeing your fiancé(e) for the very first time on your wedding day will no doubt stir up some powerful emotions. While some couples want the drama and splendor of that emotional first glance to be at the end of the aisle, others prefer a more private moment. Shedding some tears in front of all you loved ones might not feel comfortable to you, and that’s understandable! A private first look with just you, your future-spouse and your photographer will be able to capture genuine emotions – not ones shielded by stage fright. A good photographer will capture those magical, tender moments and immortalize them for you to revisit for years to come. When set up and staged like this, first look photos can show the reactions from both partners (much harder to capture when an aisle apart during the ceremony!) and a beautiful setting from your venue.
Also, once the first look is complete, you’ll have the opportunity to get most of your posed photos and couple portraits out of the way. Couples that go the route of waiting until after the ceremony often miss some of their cocktail hour getting pictures of their bridal party. Doing a first look frees up time to make sure you get all the photos you absolutely want before getting swept up in the day. That way, all you have to do during the reception is relax and enjoy the night!
Guarantee a special moment alone together
After the ceremony, you’ll likely be swept up in the dizzying festivities of your reception. Chances are, you won’t get the chance to candidly speak with your new spouse until after the celebrating is over. The first look offers a chance to really connect with your beloved before getting caught up in all the revelries.
It’s an emotional moment where couples get to break away from prying eyes and truly be vulnerable with each other. So often weddings can feel like performances. A first look allows couples to drop the act for a few moments and be real with each other. It’s also a great time to regroup and reaffirm your love before the ceremony. During this special time, some couples choose to read letters to each other, pray together or outline their excitement and expectations for the day.
Escape the wedding day hustle & bustle
You know it, we know it, everybody knows it: weddings can be stressful. Amid all the running around, finalizing details, and making sure everything is perfect—the first look offers a reprieve. It’s a chance to slow down and focus on what really matters: your soon-to-be spouse. In those moments, whatever crisis you were having with your florist can be temporarily put on the back burner. All that matters is savoring those special memories with your fiancé.
All things considered, it’s easy to see why first looks are becoming so widespread. There are so many benefits—both logistic and romantic—that for many couples it seems to be an obvious choice. On the other hand, some couples worry that a first look might water down the experience of walking down the aisle. And it can feel daunting to throw tradition to the wind! While it can be argued that a pre-ceremony first look can add nuance and an even deeper emotional element to meeting your spouse at the altar, go with your gut. If you would rather have the thrill of waiting until the ceremony to see your fiancé, then full steam ahead!
To see more beautiful first look images, check out our curated gallery here!