I’ve been photographing weddings now for over 6 years and in that time, I’ve seen a lot of ‘trends’ come and go… but thankfully, here in Australia, the trend of having a first look on your wedding day is on the rise (which I couldn’t be more happy about!) Interestingly, the tradition of not seeing each other until the ceremony actually stems from times of arranged marriages, born from a fear that the groom might change his mind upon seeing his bride! Then over the years it’s become more of a superstition – people started believing that it’s bad luck to see each other before the ceremony. I’m rolling my eyes right now. Seriously. Please don’t do anything because it’s an ancient tradition or a weird superstition. Find out the details and then decide on whether it would suit you and your soon to be husband or wife. This goes for everything wedding (and life) related…
Ok… So what exactly is a first look?
It’s exactly as it sounds. It’s the first time you’ll see each other, before getting married. It’s private. It’s romantic. It’s intimate. It’s a moment I know you’ll remember for the rest of your lives… Of course, I know you’ll remember your ceremony for the rest of your life as well – but a first look feels and looks different to when you are walking down the aisle. Consider for a minute, the moment you’re walking down the aisle, toward your soon to be spouse. They are speechless at how stunning you look, they might shed a tear… they will definitely want to tell you how gorgeous you are and plant a kiss on your lips – but it’s your ceremony and they can’t do that. A first look is different because there is nothing holding them back – and you both get to be a part of that moment together. Without all of your guests watching you.
How would it work?
The beginning of the day would be the same as it traditionally is – you would get ready separately. When you’re both ready, I arrange for the groom to be at a certain place at a specific time (I always scout out the best spot for it beforehand don’t worry!) Normally, I ask my JFL brides to walk towards their groom, who has his back turned, and when she gets closer, she tells him to turn around to see her. I like to do it this way so that my brides are telling their soon to be husbands to turn around when they’re ready, instead of him watching her walk towards him from a distance. It’s such a special moment that you share together – I want you both to be ready for it!
- You get to spend more time with your guests, joining canapes after the ceremony rather than having to dash off for bridal portraits straight away. With everyone you love in one place, I’m a big believer that you should see them all as much as you can!
- You get to enjoy being alone when you share the incredibly special moment of seeing each other for the first time.
- You actually get more photos from the day! I tend to encourage my couples that have a first look to also have their bridal party photos afterwards – and then I steal just the bride & groom away again for 15-20 minutes at sunset to take some romantic sunset photos (the guests are normally entering the reception at this time anyway!) This way, you still get those beautiful, golden hour photos – but you can join canapes after the ceremony as we would have already done photos with your bridal party. Winning!
- The bride’s makeup looks fresh and the grooms hair is perfectly held in place. It’s a great idea to get that on camera straight away before the wear of the day takes its toll – especially in summer!
- First looks take away from the tradition of seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony in front of everyone.
- Regarding the above, the chances of your groom losing the plot when he sees you for the first time has lessened because he’s already seen you. He will still be happy to see you, but there might not be as many tears (they may have happened earlier!)