The First Look - Should You See Each Other BEFORE the Ceremony?

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The “First Look” is becoming more and more popular particularly overseas and, I have to admit, I’m always wrapped when couples choose this option. The “First Look" is when a couple chooses to see each other before their ceremony, and then (in most cases) spend time with their bridal party and photographer to capture their official photos.


But please don’t get me wrong - opting to see or not see each other before the ceremony is a personal choice and one in which you should be comfortable with either way. After all your wedding should reflect your character and personality. But if you’re pondering going down the modern route, here are some reasons why seeing each other beforehand is a good thing.

Reason 1: Enjoy the moment alone together. When you see each other for the first time at the end of the aisle, you’ll have between five and a couple of hundred guests watching you. You can’t talk or hug or kiss straight away.

OR, you can set up a romantic First Look where you can enjoy, relax, kiss, hug your best friend and share your nerves. You won’t have to hold anything back because no one will be watching you. And it’s moments like these that make for great photos.

Reason 2: This will very likely be the only time the two of you have alone until you leave the reception. And a few minutes alone with your spouse-to-be is a great way to centre yourself and start the day off on the right foot.

Reason 3: Couples who see each other before the ceremony are ALWAYS more relaxed throughout their wedding day.

Reason 4: A groom’s reaction is often more emotional and more meaningful when he’s alone with his bride than when he’s standing next to all his buddies in front of a room full of people.

Reason 5: Most brides are concerned with losing the wow factor of walking down the aisle… after all you’ve probably dreamt about it since you were a child. But the magic of that moment isn’t lost as you’ll still get your aisle experience – after all you’re about to be married! You walk down single and walk back united with another person. Whether he’s seen you in your dress or not has nothing to do with the magic of the moment. You can see it and feel it - the emotion is still there.

In fact, out of all my couples I have photographed, the grooms that have teared up the most have been the ones who saw their brides before their ceremony… call it coincidence if you will, but regardless, they were able to express their nerves, be hugged by their best friend and by doing so relax and let their true love show.

Reason 6: Your hair and makeup will be at its best and you’ll be looking great for your First Look and bridal party photos. In New Zealand, summer mornings are often mild with little to no wind. By the time the afternoon arrives the wind has lifted and as most of our weddings are held outside, by the time the ceremony is over and all the family photos are out the way, a bride’s hair can be somewhat compromised.

Reason 7: You’re photos will be awesome! If photos are one of the more important things to you on your wedding day, then I’d definitely recommend shooting them before the ceremony. It will give you plenty of time to drive to that great location and get a variety of shots without being time pressured.

Reason 8: You can get to the party sooner! Seeing each other before your ceremony and getting your photos done means you’re ready to greet your guests, celebrate with them and head to the reception. Your guests will thank you for not making them spend 2 hours plus hours waiting for you to get back from your photo session.

Reason 9: Of my couples who have chosen to see each other before the ceremony, none has ever expressed any kind of regret. It’s just one of those things that in hindsight, people are always glad they did.

Image by Coralee Stone Photography

So, is this the right choice for you? It’s certainly worth discussing with your spouse-to-be!

Written by Marie Richards, edited by Lydia Martin



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