The First Look Explained

August 2, 2017

first look tips and bride adviceFirst Look Advice | Wedding Tips

If you’re scratching your head, thinking to yourself “what the heck is a ‘first look’?” You’re not alone! A first look (also called “first glance”) is a relatively new wedding practice(I would say ‘trend’, but it goes deeper than that!). It involves the wedding couple having a moment together before the ceremony to see each other (without hundreds of spectators). Typically, I have the groom stationed in an area, turned around where he can’t see his bride coming up behind him. Then, she walks up and gives him a tap on the shoulder (or just gives him the “okay” to turn around). That’s when the magic happens. Not only are they able to see each other without hundreds of guests staring, but they’re able to talk to each other and focus on each other. He can admire her beauty and TELL HER she is beautiful. He can twirl her, they can kiss, and just enjoy each other’s company! I’ve photographed a LOT of weddings, and I’ve noticed that couples who don’t share a first look together usually don’t have time to even have a conversation during their entire wedding day!

So, if you are a couple wondering if you should have a first look, here are some reasons you SHOULD and SHOULD NOT!

Should: You share more time with your soon-to-be spouse!

You’ve planned this wedding for a year, and you can’t wait for the day that you get to see your fiancé all wedding-ready and ready to marry YOU! But what most couples don’t realize is that after you come down the aisle, you won’t get to talk to each other freely until after the ceremony. Then you have family photos, bridal party photos, and, alas, Mr. and Mrs. photos. But you still can’t really talk to each other then, because you don’t want photographs with you talking! Then you head to the reception, and just when you sit down to eat, everyone and their mama (and your mama) comes to congratulate you. Then you have your first dance where you can finally share a few words with each other! Before you know it, your reception is over, and you’re being driven away in your getaway car.

If you shared a First Look your wedding day would look completely different. Couples who see each other before the wedding usually have enough time for their immediate family photos as well as their entire wedding party before the ceremony! Then they can spend time with each other. Hold hands, snuggle, have a shot of tequila–whatever they fancy.

Should: Take ALL of the formal photos before the ceremony!

As I mentioned above, couples who share a first look have the opportunity to have all of their family portraits and wedding party portraits before the ceremony! After the ceremony we do Mr. and Mrs. portraits (with the veil!), then you can enjoy your cocktail hour, mingle with your guests, have some hors do’uevres, and relax!

Should: ease your nerves!

If you know you’re going to be a hot mess walking down the aisle with 100+ people staring at you, I would definitely suggest a first look. I am one of those people. I don’t like the center of attention, and I had nightmares about falling flat on my face. BUT Jason(the Mr. Jeffers) and I didn’t share a first look (we didn’t have time!), and I regret that. I had severe anxiety, and he was the only one who could have made that better. Read on for Brittany’s testimonial…

Should: it’s not bad luck!

Everyone will tell you that seeing the bride on the day of the wedding is bad luck, but they don’t know why it’s bad luck, or the origin behind that superstitious belief. During the time that arranged marriages were custom, the couple wasn’t allowed to see each other before the wedding at all. They didn’t want a run-away bride (or groom) on their hands, so the couple had no choice but to be married at first sight. That is usually not the case here in the twenty-first century(except for those couples on my favorite TV show–‘Married at First Sight’)!

Should: It won’t take away from your ceremony

Many times I have brides tell me “I really want him to see me for the first time coming down the aisle, because I want it to be a special moment.” (Bonus points if he cries). But what many brides don’t understand is that not all men are the same (hallelujah). A man who is comfortable with his emotions (and letting 200 other people see those emotions) may shed a few tears, but for the most part, a lot of grooms try their hardest to keep those tears in their eyes, so they end up looking a bit angry and focused. Then when you get to the end of the aisle, your officiant immediately starts talking and you have to whisper to each other so you miss out on what your officiant is saying. On the other hand, I’ve had grooms shed tears seeing his beautiful bride walk down the aisle even after a first look! Read on to see testimonials from real couples that address this :)

Should: MORE PHOTOS!

My couples who see each other before the wedding usually get DOUBLE the amount of bride and groom photos on the wedding day! After the first look, we will do bride and groom portraits, then Mr. and Mrs. portraits after the ceremony.

Should Not: Doubts

If you truly believe that seeing each other beforehand is bad luck and may jinx your marriage, I would not suggest it! I definitely don’t want you to look back after you have your first big married argument and think “we are cursed!We shouldn’t have seen each other before the wedding!”

Should Not: Not enough time

If your timeline is really tight, and there isn’t time to see each other before the ceremony, I wouldn’t suggest forcing it.

Testimonials from real brides and grooms

Taryn and MasonEarth Day Wedding Inspiration at Cherokee Rose Venue in Boerne Texas by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0031

Mason’s Thoughts:

“So coming from a guy who thought he wanted to save his first look for the ceremony, I’m really glad I didn’t.

Being able to have that moment to get away from everything and be with my soon-to-be wife allowed us to have a special moment to reflect on this life-long commitment we were about to make.

Plus, since we got our photos before the wedding, we’re able to get up to the reception shortly after and enjoy our family, our friends, and some good food!”Earth Day Wedding Inspiration at Cherokee Rose Venue in Boerne Texas by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0064
Taryn’s Thoughts:
“First this you need to know about me: I’m a very practical person. So, when it came to the decision of whether Mason and I should wait till the ceremony to see each other, or to have first looks, the decision was simple for my practical mindset: First Looks!
 
As my husband wrote, it gave us both time to relax in each other’s company before the ceremony. Wedding days can be stressful and overwhelming. Having your best friend holding you before the time comes when you say ‘I Do” is so special.
 
Also, because we got first looks, Mason and I received double the amount of photos! Something our families were extremely happy with.
 
Finally, being the practical person I am, I loved the fact that Mason and I were able to go to the reception shortly after the ceremony. We didn’t have to wait to take photos with Mom’s and Dad’s, This family and That Family. We were able to enjoy our reception with our friends and family, which, if you think about it, is the point of a reception. You don’t want to miss half of it because you are taking pictures!
 
So, just consider having first looks. I swear, you won’t regret it!”Earth Day Wedding Inspiration at Cherokee Rose Venue in Boerne Texas by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0114
 See more from Taryn and Mason’s wedding at Cherokee Rose here!

Brittany and JohnA colorful summer wedding at The Springs Events Center in Boerne Texas by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0027

Brittany’s thoughts:

“Initially I was hesitant to do a First Look at our wedding. My fiancé was nervous that it would make the “aisle moment” feel less genuine.  I was afraid the First Look pictures might look cheesy.

As the wedding day drew closer, I began to realize how nervous I was going to feel leading up to the ceremony, thinking about everyone looking at me. Ultimately we decided to do a First Look because I thought seeing John before the ceremony would help me relax and enjoy the ceremony.

And it did! Plus, the First Look produced some of my favorite photos.  They really seem to capture the joy and excitement we were feeling that day. We got married outside in June, so by the time we got to the after-ceremony shots of the two of us, the heat was starting to take its toll, and we were both getting a little tired. Those photos turned out great too, but there was something special about those First Look photos. And the moment itself was not at all cheesy. It was totally unscripted, so we got to talk, laugh, and do whatever came natural to us.  Plus, John said our First Look didn’t make the aisle moment feel any less special. And it helped us both relax and enjoy the ceremony. Win win!”A colorful summer wedding at The Springs Events Center in Boerne Texas by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0045

See more from Brittany and John’s wedding at The Springs Events here!

 Jade and ChadA Backyard Dusty Blue and Peach New Braunfels Texas Wedding by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0021

Jade’s thoughts:
“I loved my first look, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I loved getting the chance to see Chad before our ceremony. It helped to calm my nerves, and honestly it helped me focus on our vows more instead of having a whispered conversation at the altar while our officiant was talking. I got to hug him and ask what he thought about my dress and tell him how handsome he looked. We also got to take most of our formal portraits before the wedding that way, which was amazing. We got so much more time to enjoy our reception with family and friends. The only thing I would change about our first look would be to try and find a more secluded spot for it. The area we chose was beautiful, but some family members had already started arriving and it wasn’t as private as I would have hoped with them wandering the grounds of our venue. Overall, it was a great experience and I am so glad that I was able to convince my husband that it was the right choice!”A Backyard Dusty Blue and Peach New Braunfels Texas Wedding by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0079
See more from Jade and Chad’s wedding in New Braunfels here!blush navy and gold wedding at Sisterdale dance hall in Boerne Texas by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0031 blush navy and gold wedding at Sisterdale dance hall in Boerne Texas by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0040 Earth Day Wedding Inspiration at Cherokee Rose Venue in Boerne Texas by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0029 Earth Day Wedding Inspiration at Cherokee Rose Venue in Boerne Texas by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0026 A spring boho wedding with greenery at Cherokee Rose Venue in Comfort Texas by Boerne Wedding Photographer Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0025A spring boho wedding with greenery at Cherokee Rose Venue in Comfort Texas by Boerne Wedding Photographer Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0022 A spring boho wedding with greenery at Cherokee Rose Venue in Comfort Texas by Boerne Wedding Photographer Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0024 A Modern Luxury Spanish Villa Wedding Inspiration Shoot at Garden Grove Wedding Venue in Buda Austin Texas by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0006 A Modern Luxury Spanish Villa Wedding Inspiration Shoot at Garden Grove Wedding Venue in Buda Austin Texas by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0007 First Look tips A Modern Luxury Spanish Villa Wedding Inspiration Shoot at Garden Grove Wedding Venue in Buda Austin Texas by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0010 First Look tips A Modern Luxury Spanish Villa Wedding Inspiration Shoot at Garden Grove Wedding Venue in Buda Austin Texas by Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography 0008

 

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