Should I have a first look on my wedding day??
We’ll be the first to say, we are 100% PRO first looks. However, that’s not to say we haven’t had beautiful weddings and moments with couples who have opted not to share a first look on their wedding day. We always want our couples to feel amazing, comfortable and themselves on their wedding day, so if this is a pain point, obviously, skip it! However, after photographing 200+ weddings and having a wedding ourselves, we’ve experienced first hand how valuable having a first look can be! We believe that making a decision is easier when you have as much information as possible, so you can make the best decision for yourself.
As photographers, you may think we love first looks because we get more portrait time. While, yes, that is entirely true, it’s not really the MAIN reason we love when our couples share a first look on their wedding day. We see so many more benefits than just more portrait time.
Why is not seeing each other before the ceremony a thing?
How often have we all heard that it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony? Did you ever wonder why this “tradition” exists? Apparently, back when marriages were arranged, the bride and groom weren’t allowed to see or meet each other until at the alter. Parents feared that if they met before, they may decide to call off the wedding. This even goes as far as why veils exist, but that’s for another post…
In this era of online dating, meeting through friends and all the other various ways people meet and fall in love, why do we still adhere to this tradition? This is probably exactly why a “first look” is becoming more and more common in modern day weddings. In fact, it’s likely becoming the new tradition. About 90% of our couples now opt for seeing each other before the ceremony.
So what is a first look anyway?
A “first look” is when the couple sees each other for the first time before the ceremony. You get to share a private moment as (almost) a married couple, uninterrupted, just the two of you.
Imagine getting to go to a quiet, private, secluded place with your fiance. No people, no on-lookers, no distractions. Getting to turn around and see your best friend & the love of your life, standing behind you, ready to marry you. You can embrace, kiss, cry with each other and ENJOY that moment for as LONG as you want. You can actually TALK to each other, tell the other how beautiful/handsome they are, that your dress/suit look perfect. How relaxing is that? After all, you two are the ones that make each other feel the most comfortable of all.
Would you believe that when Mr. Vondy first came into the world of weddings, he actually was completely OPPOSED to a first look. He couldn’t believe couples saw each other before the ceremony! Soon after photographing several weddings, he saw just how many benefits first looks offer and he’s now 100% PRO first look. He advocates them all the time! And here’s why:
5 REASONS TO HAVE A FIRST LOOK
(that aren’t just for more photo time)
1) Enjoy a private moment alone.
Most couples don’t realize that when you walk down the aisle, you WANT to tell each other how excited you are, how amazing the other looks, but you can’t embrace or even speak. You have to wait 30 minutes later when the ceremony has ended to react and by this time, it isn’t the same as the initial first glance. Not to mention, your friends and family are going to want to celebrate with you!
As you’ve likely been told, your wedding day will FLY by. Having been married ourselves, we can tell you, as cliche as it sounds this is entirely true! By sharing a first look, you can actually slow down time by taking a moment to enjoy each other’s company and take it all in.
Not to mention, now that you’re feeling all romantic and sentimental, it’s a perfect time to take a few portraits!
2) Spend more of your wedding day, together.
This may sound silly, you’re getting married, why wouldn’t you spend time together? Well, if you don’t see each other until your ceremony at say, 5pm, you won’t actually get to speak to each other freely until 5:30 or 6, then it’s family photos, wedding party photos, and party time! Most of our couples get pulled in different directions throughout the reception, so you may barely spend any time together! By sharing a first look, you’re guaranteeing at least having one quality moment together.
BEST OF ALL, you get to spend the entirety of your day TOGETHER. You’ve spent so much time, money, sweat and tears planning this wedding, don’t you want to spend it next to the person you love for as long as possible? Isn’t this what your day is actually about?
3) A first look actually RELIEVES stress.
Imagine you just got married, everyone is so excited, you want to hug your best friend, cry with your mom, but instead, if you need rush through portraits with your entire family, all of your wedding party, and of course beautiful portraits of the two of you as a married couple. AND you need to be ready for your grand entrance in less than an hour. Your coordinator or DJ will be wanting a time check soon to see when you’re ready because your guests are getting restless and hungry. Did you need to bustle your dress, change shoes, or maybe a potty break? Hope you aren’t hungry! Oh, and the sun is setting soon! Ack! Sound stressful? It IS!
If only there were a way to slow down and get to enjoy these once in a lifetime moments. A first look is a great way to feel LESS stressed because you’ve already completed so many portraits, you can really BE in these moments without the constraint of time.
At The Vondys, we believe stress is our mortal enemy! When our couple is stressed, the photos suffer, their experience on the day suffers, so we do EVERYTHING in our power to avoid stress for our couples. We feel every one of our couples deserves a stress free day, often a first look alleviates most stress.
4) It will NOT ruin “the moment” in fact, you get two moments for the price of one.
We get it. You don’t want to do a first look because you’ll lose that all important reaction of seeing each other for the first time. There is no way it would be nearly as emotional or intimate if you see each other before the ceremony, but that’s simply not true. In fact, if you REALLY want a reaction from your fiance, will they give you the same reaction with 100+ people watching? Instead, if you were to take a private moment, won’t you get a more genuine, carefree reaction? Extra bonus: you actually get this moment twice!
On our wedding day, we felt that we actually got a first look TWICE. Mr. Vondy remembers being able to enjoy the ceremony more freely after our first look. “I remember the music playing, my mom crying, and the love of my life walking down the aisle to marry me. Nothing could have taken away from that feeling, even though we’d already seen each other. It was truly magical.”
PRO TIP: We have actually seen this happen at weddings more than once!! Often guests are SO eager to get that iphone photo or to see you, they will lean into the aisle to get that peek, ultimately blocking your fiance’s “first look” of you. If you’ve already had a private first look, at least you have already shared this experience, uninterrupted.
5) Support each other if issues arise.
It’s a wedding day, things “go wrong”. It’s often not a big deal, something as simple as an earring going missing, a zipper getting stuck or a boutonniere breaking. But what if it’s something more imposing? For instance, it rained on our wedding day. Mrs. Vondy recalls, “I was running late in hair and makeup, it was pouring rain, and I was beyond stressed. The minute I saw my husband, I had a big cry and realized I had the best person by my side to tackle it all with. He calmed me and assured me it would all be ok. Suddenly, none of it felt like such a big deal anymore with my best friend at my side.”
We’ve never heard someone say “wow, I really wish I hadn’t done a first look” however, we have heard couples regret not doing one due to the wave of emotions they experienced on their day. Ultimately, whatever you decide, your day will be amazing because it will be YOURS!
Have you been married? Did you share a first look? Or did you skip it? What would your advice be to a future couple? Share in our comments!