I talk about First Looks a good bit on the blog. Ben even gave his perspective from a groom AND photographer’s point of view one time. But what I thought might be even more helpful would be to have my own brides AND grooms talk about their experience with doing a First Look.
We do not ever push a couple into seeing each other before the wedding. Sometimes, the way the day’s schedule works out, there actually isn’t time for it. However, we still highly recommend it for two main reasons… 1) It gives you and your soon-to-be spouse some time alone before the day even begins. Because once things start up, you won’t get much (if any) down time with just the two of you until you’ve left your reception! 2) You will get about 30% more bride & groom photos than if you don’t do a First Look. And when one of my own friends pointed out to me that the photos we’d have framed in our house would be of me and Ben, I realized just how important those particular photos were!
So, enough from me! Here’s what my couples have to say:
Tony – I will never forget the anticipation I felt the day of the wedding. I was excited to be married to my wife, but also extremely excited to see my bride in her gown. Never before had I been so excited; Christmas day at five years old had nothing on this. I was standing in the sand, awaiting her arrival, all the time hearing her come up behind me. This only served to increase the excitement and stir up my emotions, because I knew I was about to see the most beautiful being I had ever laid my eyes upon. When she tapped my shoulder, I turned and saw my gorgeous bride. My emotions were overwhelming, and I cried with happiness. I knew that she was the one for me, and I knew she felt the same way. I will always remember that moment, of that day, and how nothing else mattered. For just that moment in time, there was only my absolutely stunning bride and me in the world. I was the happiest I had ever been.
Rachel – The piece of advice for my wedding day that I kept hearing was to make sure I was present, in the moment, and focused on what was really important. I quickly realized what everyone meant the morning of the big day. After spending so many hours getting ready and starting to feel pulled in a million directions, our first look reminded me of why we were getting married in the first place – and made me realize that all the little details just weren’t that big of a deal. I’ll always remember the anticipation I felt seeing Tony standing in the dunes with his back turned, waiting for me. When he turned to face me, I was moved to tears by how handsome he looked in his suit. I deeply cherish having been able to hold each other, laugh, cry (and oh my, was there a lot of crying!), and connect before walking down the aisle. It truly felt like we were all alone for that precious bit of time, and it was my favorite part of the day. The memories of us spending those last few moments together before we said “I do” will last a lifetime.
Patrick – I got to see my beautiful bride for the first time in a setting where it was just us two. We got to take a moment just for ourselves prior to the ceremony. I was happy I got to see her before everyone else.
Virginia – Our First Look has some of my favorite memories from our wedding day. The chance to have a few minutes with each other before the ceremony to just soak in the moment and talk with each other was just what I needed. At first I thought a First Look might take away from the emotions and special moment of seeing Patrick seeing me for the first time at the church, but it didn’t. It was just as special seeing him as I walked down the aisle. In fact I felt like I was able to really take it all in in a different light. I highly encourage friends who are planning a wedding to do a first look.
Andrew – The emotions that I felt on our wedding day were overwhelming to say the least. When the time came for what would be our first look, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I had to stand outside and wait for Bess with my back turned to where she would be coming from. Once she was outside and she, along with Sabrina and Ben, were ready, I turned around to what I immediately believed to be the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I truly cannot describe just how amazing she looked, and for a moment, I was at a loss for words. After some pictures that turned out to be some of my absolute favorite from the whole day, we moved onto pictures with our bridal party. When it came time for the ceremony, I recall thinking, “When she comes through those doors, there is no way she will look more attractive than earlier.” Man, was I wrong! I’ve always heard that when your wife (to be) walks down that aisle, that is the most beautiful sight you will ever see, and it was true. It was if I hadn’t already seen her in the dress. I just couldn’t contain my emotions. In no way, shape or form was that moment hindered by the fact that I had seen her just an hour or two before.
Bess – On the day of my wedding I woke up filled with a hodgepodge of emotions. Some things had gone wrong, a little sad because this meant I was really moving out of my parents’ home and protection, but mostly giddy and excited to see my groom! As I got ready, the nervousness and excitement continued to rise up in me. The time came for me to put my dress on and as I did the room that was filled with laughter and excitement became quiet. As my family and friends shared my excitement I heard Andrew’s voice downstairs and thought I might just burst out of shear joy and excitement to see him! Sabrina finally gave me the word that Andrew was waiting for me outside! One thing I had been really worried about leading up to this was that the wedding party inside the house would be staring out windows watching this private and intimate moment we would have, but this was not the case. Sabrina had understood this without me really having to verbalize it and assured me that this wouldn’t be an issue; as usual she had a plan!
As I walked down the sidewalk and Andrew’s back was turned to me, Ben captured a picture of me walking up to him that perfectly displays the way I was feeling. I walked up to him and tapped him on the shoulder and he turned around to look at me; in that moment I felt like, “Okay this is finally real!” We were able to spend a few precious, uninterrupted moments together and just revel in the fact that we were getting married!! Some of my favorite pictures from our wedding were captured in this moment because we weren’t tired, no one was waiting on us to hurry up and finish so they could eat. It was planned into our day. Time where we could breathe and just be with one another before we were exhausted! After this precious time was over it felt like the rest of the day before the ceremony was time spent with our closest friends just hanging out and laughing together. I kind of thought after seeing him it would take away the excitement of walking down the aisle to Andrew, but it didn’t! That felt like a completely separate thing that was just as special as our first look but in a different way. This was more emotional as it was a picture of my dad giving me to Andrew, and the start of our journey as husband and wife! All in all I would not have changed a single thing about the day. Especially the first look, it was such a precious few moments that I will cherish forever.
Ben – I loved doing our First Look because I got to see Anna a lot sooner on our wedding day and it made her way less nervous during our ceremony. I’d recommend it to anyone- it was awesome! It added on another hour or so to our wedding day that we got to spend together and made it so much more fun.
Anna – I was a nervous wreck the morning of our wedding. From the moment I woke up I couldn’t stop thinking about having to get up in front of everyone and be the center of attention for hours later on that day. The only thing that kept me moving and kept me breathing was knowing I was going to see Ben soon. As soon as he turned around at our First Look and gave me a big hug all of my nerves went away- I was able to stop and kiss the man that I love and be excited with him about finally getting to be husband and wife! Without that special few minutes before the craziness of our day to just soak it in together I don’t know what I would have done- our First Look is my favorite moment of the entire day!
This last couple is actually not one that I photographed, but one I was able to stand beside back in October as they became husband and wife! I wanted to give you guys another perspective from a couple that hadn’t been in front of MY camera on their wedding day! Chris & Arica’s story and more photos can be seen on the amazing Elle Danielle’s blog here: http://blog.elledanielle.com/2015/02/13/nashville-wedding-arica-chris/
Chris – Our first look was by far the favorite part of my wedding day (outside of her saying I do, of course)! My morning was not as smooth as I had planned for. My timing was off, I didn’t get to everything I wanted to, and I still had to get my best man and groomsman to Men’s Wearhouse to get their tuxes. But the moment we got to our meeting place and my beautiful wife tapped me on the shoulder to turn around, all the stress of the day left me. Being able to see and hold her in my arms just calmed my nerves and I knew everything was going to be ok. The moment was powerful enough that it inspired me to go to the Lord in prayer, as I got to pray with my soon to be wife for not only the day, but for our future together. That moment turned into the moment that basically summed up our wedding day in one photographed scene of me praying while we teared up, wrapped in each other’s arms. A moment that would have never happened if not for our first look together.
Arica – Saying our First Look was my favorite part of our wedding day doesn’t even do it justice. It was so beautiful to have those 30 minutes just to us…we talked about how fun/crazy the morning had been, how the day had come together as we hoped, how we couldn’t believe & were so excited that this day was finally here, and most importantly, we prayed together. The time Chris & I had together took away all the nerves, all the butterflies, all the anxiety, all the stress. I knew that no matter what else happened that day, this man would be my husband and that was all that mattered.