OK, I will give you the my perspective…
First looks are magnificent. They are a private moment between you and your spouse, that you get to share, and the photographer is the only one there. It is raw and fantastic; and it relieves some of the stress of the day. Here is a document that we found years ago, and that we provide all of our clients with to assist them in their decision. (Please pardon the length of the post. The writer is credited at the end)
Wedding days should be full of emotion. Wedding days should not be stressful. But let’s face reality, they are. This is why I ask all my clients if they are interested in doing a first look. The first look adds so much beautiful emotion and happiness to a wedding day and alleviates SO much stress, it’s hard to know where to start raving about it!
Well let’s start from the beginning…from the ancient tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other before the ceremony. Many people don’t realize the reason for this was because the bride and groom had NEVER seen each other before the ceremony! It was so the groom, quite frankly, wouldn’t split! Luckily we’ve progressed and in our modern society, marriages (for the most part) aren’t arranged. We CHOOSE to marry the one we love. And we can choose to see them before the ceremony!
Whenever I photograph a couple that chooses not to see each other before the ceremony I try to put myself in their shoes. The bride walks down the aisle to her soon to be husband. They are both completely nervous with all these guests staring at them. The bride reaches the front of the church. Her father is standing between her and her future husband. Her father gives her away and she moves to stand next to her husband. They don’t touch. They don’t talk. They can’t tell each other how amazingly beautiful the other looks. They can’t tell the other how incredibly excited they are to be getting married. They can’t hug, they can’t kiss, they can’t embrace. They can’t have a moment to themselves. After the ceremony is over they are immediately approached by all their loving relatives to be congratulated. This continues into the reception and throughout the night. They never have a moment just to themselves. I’ve been told by many people that your wedding day goes by in such a big blur, that sometimes it’s hard to remember everything. If you do a first look you have time scheduled to slow down and appreciate what this day is all about…being madly in love with the person you’re about to marry!
Some people are concerned that a first look takes away from the emotion of the bride walking down the aisle and being given away by her father. It doesn’t. The bride being escorted by her father creates a completely different kind of emotion. I see grooms choked up in a totally different way than they were when they saw their bride for the first time. Your groom is also prone to have a more natural reaction as you approach him – he’s calm because he has already seen you…instead of being nervous while seeing you for the first time with the stress of 200 guests staring at him!
So how does the first look work? After you are both all done up and dressed for the wedding, we position the groom facing away from where the bride will appear behind him. She approaches him while we capture the happy anticipation on his face. She usually touches (or grabs!) his arm and turns him around. And we the photographers capture, from a distance, all the emotion! You two get to hug, embrace, and savor this moment as long as you want…without the pressure of your guests watching you. You get to talk, laugh, cry (and reapply your makeup before the ceremony!) and we’re there to capture it all!
Another reason to do the first look is that it reduces stress so much! Not only will you be less nervous walking down the aisle, it makes the day run much more smoothly. After we do a first look we do portraits of the bride and groom together. We have plenty of time for creative portraits that you will treasure forever! Then we get the whole bridal party together and do all of the formal photos with them, and then formal photos with your immediate family. We stop taking photos at least 30 minuets before the ceremony starts so you can tuck yourselves away, usually separately, without being seen by guests. The only formal photos we have left after the ceremony are any large family photos, which take about 30 minutes. When you do a first look everyone gets to the reception quickly and your guests aren’t sitting there waiting for two hours because guess what, we did all the photos before the ceremony! Of course it is possible to do all the photos after the ceremony but they are always rushed, which means as a photographer I’m not as creative as I could be, and you’re not getting the photos you could be! You’d also be getting photos taken when you’d rather be celebrating with your guests, which stresses you out!
“Rights to EricaM”
I sincerely hope that this helps you. Take care
P.S. You are getting married on my birthday!!!