In Defence Of The First Look

Call it tradition or superstition, whatever you like. It's supposedly bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before the wedding. Nowadays however, couples are doing away with all sorts of wedding taboos. "First looks" in particular are becoming increasingly popular. Personally, I love the idea!

A little nervous, are we?
A little nervous, are we?

images by Elizabeth In Love

Here are just a few reasons why we chose a first look:

Nerves & Privacy

I expected to be a snotty puddle of tears and an emotional nervous wreck the day of the wedding and thought it would be much less stressful to see Dave for the first time before we walked down the aisle. Meeting up beforehand was much more intimate than in front of all of our guests, with all those eyes and cameras trained on us. I totally think this should be more of a private moment.

While we weren't completely alone for our first look, I didn't even notice the photographer or cinematographers. It still felt private and we'll never forget it. By the way, the ceremony was as emotional and poignant as ever in spite of us breaking this tradition. I don't think it took away anything from the ceremony, for us, orour guests. I hoped that having Dave around sooner rather than later would have a calming effect on me, and for the most part it did. He was way more emotional than I had anticipated and it totally balanced me out.

I'd never seen Dave cry before!
I'd never seen Dave cry before!

Significance

Initially, we had planned to meet up outside the pub where we met. While it made a lovely spot for our engagement photos, it wouldn't offer as much privacy on a Saturday afternoon at the beginning of patio season, on a busy street down town.

Our super-awesome-amazing-gorgeous-talented photographer Beth suggested a neat spot in the park nearby. Which still holds significance, as my brother and sister-in-law took their wedding photographs there as well, not to mention we visit this park every Canada Day for fireworks with friends. If there's a place important to you both, why not meet there before the ceremony?

Timing

While the wedding day might fly by for the bride and groom, sometimes it can drag for your guests, especially the time between ceremony and reception. We still stepped away from cocktail hour to take some more photos at the venue, but at least we cut a significant chunk out of that time by taking many of our couple and bridal party photos prior to our ceremony at the separate location.

Depending on how long your photographer would like to shoot (usually at least two hours: time for couple, the entire bridal party, and family shots), or how long it takes to get to and from your chosen photo spot, this can significantly increase the time your guests have to occupy themselves elsewhere, or milling around at your venue waiting for the service to even begin. Alternatively, having to extend cocktail hour for the entire time you're posing for the camera so your guests will be entertained with food and beverage can be pretty costly.

Togetherness

Dave and I wanted to enjoy as much of the day together as possible, and with our friends in the bridal party as well. Having a first look meant we could all be together as a group. One of the funniest moments I remember is when I had to use the bathroom shortly before the ceremony. Our wedding party suddenly went in to Secret Service mode, pretending I was the president, blocking the hallways, stopping guests, using hand signals and all the lingo. They got me to the bathroom and back, sight unseen. It really lightened the mood as I was going a bit stir crazy hiding out in the bridal suite.

If you're considering a first look and facing some opposition, stick to your guns! Everyone was pleased that they could still be a fly-on-the-wall for the "big reveal" later on when viewing our highlight video.

In case you need a little more convincing, check out these links:

75 Reasons To Have A First Look

A Photographer's Take On The First Look

The First Look: Groom's Perspective