Weddings are an inherently traditional occasion. Whether wearing a white dress, tossing a bouquet, or sharing a special dance with a parent, weddings are riddled with traditions. Today, however, more and more couples pick and choose the traditions they honor at their wedding. Maybe one feels particularly outdated or doesn’t serve the couple’s desires. Or maybe it’s a matter of convenience! One such tradition that couples have popularly reimagined is when a couple locks eyes at each other from across the aisle, seeing each other for the first time that day. Instead, more couples utilize the First Look wedding tradition or a pre-arranged meeting before the ceremony.
There is no right or wrong way to share this moment, whether walking down the aisle or hours before you say “I do.” It’s totally dependent on your preferences! Are you debating whether or not a First Look is the right choice for you and your partner? Keep reading to learn more about this new tradition, why couples choose to have one, and why the choice is totally up to you!
Before discussing the benefits of the first look wedding tradition, let’s first clarify what it is. As I mentioned earlier, a First Look is a coordinated moment where you and your partner see each other for the first time before your wedding ceremony. It’s a quiet, private moment between the two of you that is truly just for you to pause, connect, and be present in your day.
A First Look can take place indoors, outdoors, at your ceremony site, at the Airbnb where you are getting ready, or at a nearby park…it’s totally up to you. Just know that you are absolutely allowed to step away from your friends and family to share in this private moment. A First Look is about you, your partner, and no one else.
For some couples, seeing their partner for the first time walking down the aisle is sacred, or something they’ve dreamt of their entire lives – and that’s perfectly wonderful, too. A First Look isn’t for everyone, and like everything else on your wedding day, the moment you lock eyes with your partner for the first time should be exactly what you want it to be.
In today’s day and age, nearly half of all couples getting married opt to have a First Look. Let’s break down some factors that may go into this decision!
Your wedding day may be all about you and your partner, but believe me when I tell you that you will likely have next to no time by yourselves. If you get ready separately, you’ll spend most of your day apart. Then, from the moment you walk into your ceremony, all eyes are on the two of you, and you’ll be in high demand of your adoring guests.
A First Look can give you and your partner as much time as you like with just the two of you. Whether it’s five minutes to pause and connect or an hour or two to take your wedding portraits as a couple, the timing of your First Look is totally up to you. A wedding can be a stressful event, and the days leading up to your big day can feel overwhelming; having a little time to reconnect with your person and head into this incredible celebration with confidence and clarity can be a great gift.
Additionally, a lot of nerves build up leading to – and on – your wedding day. A lot of pressure rests on the moment you and your partner’s eyes first meet, especially in front of your guests. A First Look can help alleviate some of those wedding day jitters.
Being able to process this moment privately can be a relief for many couples who aren’t sure how they feel about being the center of attention all day. Shaking off some of those nerves beforehand can be a great way to set yourself up to enjoy the rest of the day.
If you’re wondering if a First Look makes your ceremony entrance any less impactful, it doesn’t. In fact, many couples say it’s even more beautiful and emotional because you’ve already had the chance to connect. That moment will be incredible no matter what, even if you’ve already spent some time together earlier that day.
One of the biggest perks to having a First Look is that you can buy yourself a lot of extra time to take your couples’ portraits. If you wait to see each other until your ceremony, we’ll have to use whatever time is allotted for cocktail hour to get your wedding portraits, as well as any formal family photos or pictures of both of you with your wedding parties.
But if the pressure is off and you’re not trying to avoid each other leading up to the ceremony, we can take as much time as we want for photos! (The only real exception is during Golden Hour, when you’ll definitely want to step away for a few moments to get some romantic pictures with that glowing sunset light.)
Less photos during cocktail hour means you get to spend more time with your guests! As the couple of honor, your attention will be pulled in every direction by people who adore you and are wholeheartedly thrilled for you. Having the extra time to make sure you can greet and hug every guest is a huge perk of having a First Look!
You’ve shaken off your wedding day jitters, captured all the photos ahead of time, and said “hello” to everyone during cocktail hour – now there’s nothing left to do but sit back and relax! Having that extra time during the day allows you to check everything off of your list nice and early so you can be present and enjoy the fruits of months and months of hard work and planning.
Here’s the deal: it doesn’t matter what I think. Truly! Whether or not you decide to do a First Look is entirely up to you and your partner. I promise I’ll be able to take pictures in 30 minutes that are just as gorgeous as those I could take in 2 hours. This is your wedding day, and the only thing that should factor into your decision is your and your partner’s wants. Period.
The First Look wedding tradition can be an excellent opportunity to connect with your partner before walking down the aisle. However, whether or not you choose to have one is totally up to you. Still on the fence? Let’s talk it out! I’m happy to discuss your thoughts and hesitations so you can decide what is best for your wedding day.
- kim hymes
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