The great debate: to have a first look before the ceremony, or first see your fiance on the walk down the aisle? We turned to Be Inspired PR Tastemakers and planners extraordinaire for their take on this common question every couple faces when planning their big day! Whether you are walking down the aisle in the next few months or just curious what all the fuss is behind the first look, these planners will help you understand what works best for whatever type of bride you are!
Photo by Justine Ungaro
Jennifer Stiebel of SoCo Events
I am a huge fan of first looks and recommend them to all my brides. First looks provide an intimate moment between you and your husband to be, allowing you to truly take in the moment rather than being clouded with every emotion from nerves to excitement as you walk down the aisle. Not only do first looks create a special time for you and your husband, they also give you the gift of time. Your wedding reception goes by so quickly and adding a first look to your day lets you enjoy every minute after walking down the aisle. You will not have to watch as all of your guests go off to your party while you stay behind for photos. I have seen it a million times…that “look” that brides, grooms and the entire wedding party get when they just want to get to the party, not something that you want in all of the most important pictures of your day. Instead you can schedule your photo session before the ceremony, when the lighting is still good, your hair and makeup are at their freshest (no mascara running down your face from reading your vows) and everyone gets to go to cocktail hour. Photos after the ceremony always seem rushed, whereas photos before are scheduled with enough time to get all the right shots. One last thought thought that I always tell my brides, missing an hour of your party is missing 20% of your wedding!
Gabby Norton of Cause We Can Events
As a wedding planner (aka worshiper of timelines and schedules), I have to say first looks before the wedding make my job so much easier. Depending on the venue, it can be quite a challenge to escort the groom in without bumping into his bride before the ‘I Dos’. Trust me, you don’t want to have to hide the bride in a bathroom stall! Another great perk about the pre-ceremony first look is that the photos can be taken way ahead of time and the newlyweds can actually enjoy cocktail hour with their friends and family. I say “I DO” for first look before the wedding 🙂
Photo by Brittany Dow
Heather Balliet of Amorology
We always prefer the intimacy that a first look can provide in catching the groom seeing the bride for the first time. This translates into beautifully captured images of this moment with our couples that make us swoon! There is also a calmness that comes after that first look where the nerves are somewhat more settled after seeing each other and being reminded of what the day is all about.
Photo by Rebekah Murray
Laura Ritchie of Events in the City
We have found for some of our more social clients, having a first look prior to the ceremony is a fabulous way to optimize your involvement with your guests. If the idea of going table to table, a receiving line or rushing around to try and say hello makes you cringe this is certainly a way to utilize the hours in the day best. You can pop into the cocktail hour almost immediately and be ore free knowing that you have completed your special photo sessions.
Keeping in mind sunset times and your ceremony time is really important. For example, winter brides with a late ceremony and the wish for amazing outdoor shots, a first look is almost a must. Logistics on this front and keeping open communication with your planner and photographer here is important so that all of your hot buttons are heard.
The tradition of seeing each other for the first time going down the aisle is extremely special. It builds up the excitement throughout the day and makes for a momentous picture of the bride and groom laying eyes on each other for the first time in front of their loved ones. Don’t waste the time prior to the ceremony though. Get separate bridal party pictures completed, immediate family pictures with the bride and then the groom so you aren’t using up your whole cocktail hour trying to find grandma!
There is a stigma that doing a first look isn’t as special or memorable. In our opinion it can be just as special if not more lovely than when you are down the aisle. Its a time for you to truly reach out and touch each other, say what you are thinking and fall in love all over again before taking the big steps down the aisle. The genuine pictures of the reveal of the bride and groom to each other and all alone are just pure magic.”
Photo by Ramone Photography
Antonia Christianson of Antonia Christianson Events
From the photographer and planner standpoint, where time is of the essence, I love when our clients create a designated time without interruptions before their wedding ceremony to take a few moments to themselves. It’s an amazing moment when you see your betrothed for the first time, knowing what the day is to hold. The pureness of your first look moment that can be captured by your photographer in an un-rushed, private setting is certainly unforgettable. We typically make sure that this “first look” moment is private, no parents, no bridal party, just the couple and their photographer. You want the integrity and joy of that moment to be so sweet and almost your little secret.