The bride-centric nature of modern day weddings is most apparent at the beginning of the ceremony when all the guests stand up, turn and admire the bride as she walks down the aisle. What most people don’t realise is that they are missing the best part of the wedding: the look on the groom’s face when he sees his bride for the first time. Most photographers capture this moment right at the beginning of the ceremony, however for many couples it doesn’t do the moment justice. They dedicate an entire shoot to this moment: The First Look session. Five things to consider when it comes to First Looks.
Wedding traditions are passed down from generation to generation and somewhere along the way we forget why we do certain things. Most probably the tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other until the ceremony has its roots in arranged marriages. It used to be a strategic move to not let the groom see his future wife so he wouldn’t back out. Some couples don’t mind how the tradition came to be. They just love the anticipation and excitement that comes with it. Others feel it’s old-fashioned. Decide for yourselves whether this tradition is something you both cherish. If the answer is yes, try the modified First Look photo shoot suggested below. If not, contact your photographer and videographer and start brainstorming!
2. Alone or together?
Not sure yet? Think about it this way: the choice boils down to whether you want that first look to be shared by many or not. For many couples, their big day is as much about them as it is about their guests. Sharing that priceless moment with your loved ones might be the best option for you. However, if you want that intimate moment to be just between the two of you (and your photographer), the First Look session is a great way to have some alone time before the ceremony.
3. What about the magic?
Most couples fear that First Looks will take away from the magic of walking down the aisle. Fact is that you are getting married and the entire day is magical. Whether you choose to share the moment only with your significant other or all your guests, has little to do with the bride walking towards the groom to officially start this new chapter in their life.
4. Planning and prepping stress
Some couples are relieved their relationship survived the wedding planning in the first place and would not want to add another event to the already full itinerary. The fun thing about First Looks is that it shouldn’t be staged and it requires little preparation. Your outfit is the same you’ll be wearing during the ceremony and you already have a location. Make sure your photographer gets there ahead of time to scout a secluded, well-lit area with a divider (such as a wall or door). Worst case scenario, one can stand with his or her back towards the other and the other can walk up and tap the one on the shoulder. No divider needed.
5. Yes, no or maybe?
Modern day couples who love the anticipation and excitement that comes with the tradition, can still have a photo shoot before the ceremony. Choose a spot that’s clearly divided by a wall or door and that can be approached without seeing the each other. Let your photographer capture the moment you hold hands for the first time that day without peeking. Exchanging letters and reading them simultaneously is also guaranteed to get you a sweet, emotional moment that can be captured on camera.
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