Why I Chose to Have a "First Look" on Our Wedding Day
Having a "first look", where the bride and groom privately see each other before the actual wedding ceremony, and often photograph this special moment, seems to be a trend that has grown over the past few years. I debated whether or not I wanted a first look with my soon to be husband before we actually saw each other at the alter on our wedding day, but ultimately decided to do it because of the reasons I’ve listed below.
First of all, it saves on time. We didn’t want to be rushed to take photos in between the ceremony and reception, and we had to get all of the wedding party shots out of the way then, too. This moment gave us ample time to soak in the moment and relax. Secondly, everything does not and will not go exactly as planned or hoped for on your wedding day. We just plan to the best of our ability and then let the pieces fall where they may. There's no time to stress about it in the moment. I had concerns over capturing the exact moment that we would see each other as he watched me walk down the aisle from the alter. What if the perfect shot was missed? What if it just fell into the noise of being in front of our family and friends while I focused on "not walking too fast", etc.? I thought the act of walking down the aisle was special in its own right and seeing my groom before everyone else saw me too wouldn't spoil that experience in any way, shape or form.
I was right. And judging by his expression as I walked down the aisle, I think you might agree. :) How about that smile? Does it get anymore genuine than that?
Now, let’s rewind a bit. Our first look is one of my favorite memories from our wedding day. It far exceeded my expectations and I love that we have our memories captured in photos.
We had planned to have our first look at the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, just a few blocks away from where we were getting married at The White Room which overlooks the Matanzas River. I didn’t quite know how I was getting there, but my soon-to-be husband told me he had it all handled. He let our photographers know that he was sending a car to pick me up. A gorgeous, classic, turquoise convertible Thunderbird, to be exact.
The driver pulled up under the balcony that opened up to the road from my bridal suite and the photographers captured the surprise.
After helping me stuff my dress into the car, the driver carefully shut my door and off we went! The ride was a lot of fun since St. Augustine is filled with people walking around the touristy city. Everyone honked, waved, whistled and gave congratulatory cheers.
Meanwhile at the Lightner Museum, one of the photographers in our duo was there to get a few pictures of the groom in waiting.
The museum has a courtyard with a gorgeous botanical garden and a bridge over a pond filled with colorful fish. This was the spot where we would meet.
On the arched stone bridge he stood, waiting for me to tap his shoulder for our first look.
See, the thing about the private first look is that you get to have ALL of these expressions caught on camera, even though you feel like the moment is just between the two of you. :) Our photographers were in the distance to capture our reactions and they did a wonderful job.
I love that the photographer captured a little twirl as he admired my dress.
We brought our wedding bands for the photo shoot and I surprised my husband with an engraving inside his ring.
Below is the face you make when you’re standing over water and sliding off your engagement ring to put on your wedding band, too. Eeek…don’t drop it!
He helped me into the car and my driver took me back to the bridal lounge at our venue for another first look, but this time, with my mom and dad! Perhaps I’ll write about in more detail soon. It truly was a wonderful idea and I’m so glad I had both of these first looks captured in photos!
If you’re questioning whether or not to see your groom before you walk down the aisle, I hope this has added some clarity to your decision! Also, if you’d like to see the romantic way my husband proposed, click the link below. :)