This by far is the most polarizing thing we cover in our meetings: whether you love the relatively modern idea of a first look or the more traditional approach of seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony, this decision becomes the foundation to build your timeline. It will determine everything from what time the getting ready process starts, to how much of the day you two spend together. Whether you stand firm on the superstition that seeing each other before the ceremony brings bad luck, love the idea of an intimate first look, or are bouncing back and forth between the two, it’s important to know your options.

The First Look

Spoiler alert: this is my favorite option by far. Having photographed hundreds of weddings and getting hitched myself, there are so many ways this structure creates a free-flowing, stress-free day. Here are some of the reasons a first look might be for you:

  • Privacy This one is pretty straight forward. The first time you see each other on wedding day is a big moment. Though some couples want to share that moment with their friends and family, others prefer that moment to be just for them. Having this moment in a more intimate environment gives you the opportunity to feel and react to the moment without friends and family members’ cell phones snapping away.
  • Freedom to react Looking back at my own wedding, I will never forget the first time I saw my wife. As she made that walk down the aisle, all I could think about was how excited I was to snatch her up, hug her, and talk to her. I wanted to know how the morning went, how she felt, and take a minute to soak it all in. Unfortunately, during a ceremony, there is a set order of events and things move quickly. With a first look, you can live in that moment for as long as you want and have the freedom to react and speak openly.
  • You are having a winter wedding Compared to their warmer counterparts, winter weddings in Ohio have their own unique set of challenges to plan around. Aside from the cold, sunset comes much earlier than it does in the summer. Ensuring you have some nice light to work with is paramount to a well-rounded portfolio of wedding day
  • More time together With the rise in popularity of ceremonies being scheduled later in the day, a first look can give you more time together on wedding day. Seeing each other earlier in the day means you get to walk through the majority of the day hand-in-hand.
  • Pinterest made you do it As you plan your wedding, it’s only natural to browse the internet to get some inspiration and see how others have navigated the day. If you saw a photo of a couple laying eyes on each other for the first time and felt compelled to do the same, there is no shame in that at all.
  • Set your own pace From a logistical standpoint, there are a lot of things to do on wedding day. Finding enough time to travel and capture creative photos of you two and finding time to spend with all your friends and family is a tough thing to balance. A first look gives us the opportunity to create a custom-tailored timeline and get all the creative photos of you two and the wedding party before the formalities of wedding day begin. It’s an awesome feeling heading into the ceremony knowing afterwards you just need to grab a few family photos and the rest of the night is yours to party with your guests. You can instead spend cocktail hour with your guests or take that time to freshen up and relax before the party begins.
  • Seamless experience for your guests We have all been to a wedding where there is a morning ceremony and a reception that doesn’t start until later in the evening. While the bride and groom are working their way through family photos, creative photos of them and the wedding party, travel, and reception prep, you are forced to find something to fill the time until the reception – there just never seems to be enough time to go home in between, so you find yourself at a local Applebees or browsing nearby retail stores in your wedding attire. Because a first look gets all of the formal and creative photos done before the ceremony begins, your guests can leave the ceremony and head directly to cocktail hour and skip the awkward conversations about what to do to fill the time in between.

The Aisle Reveal

  • Sleep is important Getting ready on wedding day begins hours before any of the formalities begin. Front loading the day with a first look and formal portraits, knowing you have a very long day ahead of you, may not sound too appetizing for some. If you are of this mindset, be sure to schedule ample time between the ceremony and reception for photos and travel.
  • Tradition is everything Do you know the origin of why groomsmen and bridesmaids are a part of wedding day? Or why people would tie cans to the back of the newlyweds car as they depart their wedding? Most people don’t, but it’s tradition, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Tradition is a huge part of paying homage to the past and putting a solid foundation under whats to come. If you like the idea of sticking to tradition and adhering to the same game plan that worked for our parents and grandparents, ditch the idea of a first look.
  • You want to share that moment with family You and your significant other worked on the perfect guest list, full of people who mean everything to you. After carefully curating who will be in attendance, you want to give them an amazing experience and share the entire day with them. With one of the biggest moments of the day being how each of you react to seeing each other, it makes a ton of sense to skip a first look and enjoy that moment with everyone.
  • Anticipation makes the day interesting Sometimes the best things in life come with a build up. In some cases, anticipation actually serves as an amplifier to the emotions to come. Similar to the days leading up to a vacation, the anticipation for whats to come gets you even more excited. If you subscribe to this train of thought, foregoing a first look will definitely intensify the first time you see each other.
  • Wedding dresses are white We generally choose scenic, outdoor locations for first looks and the creative photos to follow. Though unlikely, being outside increases the chance of your shoes and train getting dirty. Skipping a first look can give you an extra level of security knowing your dress and shoes will make it to the ceremony free of any grass or dirt.
  • You just don’t want to This one is pretty simple. Everyone has their preferences and ultimately, if you are buying everyone dinner, why shouldn’t you get to cater to yourself a bit? If the idea of a first look just sounds like it’s not for you, then pull the “Bride Card” and nix this idea.

Bringing it all full circle

It’s important to note there is no wrong way to structure your wedding. During the planning process, unsolicited advice is never hard to come by, and how you decide to celebrate your wedding day should always be decided by you two, and not mom, dad, or your friends. Though each scenario sculpts wedding day in its own unique way, it all adds up to the two of you being married. If you are stuck between these two options or would like suggestions on which would work best for your event, always feel free contact us.