I’m sure most brides (and even some grooms) have heard of the ‘First Look’. For the uninitiated, a first look refers to a couple seeing each other prior to the ceremony on their wedding day. It’s often mentioned in magazines and wedding blogs which tout the logistical advantage to seeing your partner before the ceremony. Logistics aside, I think the best reasons to see each other before the ceremony are emotional. Of course, tradition holds that it’s unlucky for a groom to see his bride on their wedding day before the ceremony. For the superstitious there is no shaking that convention, and we can certainly still make everything work out wonderfully well.
The logistical argument for the first look is that it will spare the newlyweds from being removed from their wedding for an hour of photos (at least an hour, I’d say). In the past, most couples had to miss all of their cocktail hour to take photos with their spouse and do those dreaded family photos (more on those in another post). Another logistical point is that sometimes, waiting until after the ceremony means racing the sun as it sets. Also, in wine country sometimes the best place for shots are far removed from the ‘action’ and so, in the interest of getting to dinner on time, we have had to settle for less perfect locations.
All those considerations are well and good, but the best reason to do a first look isn’t just pragmatic. Your partner is just that, your partner. Partner in life, in love, in travel, in joy, …. Why would you want to spend so much of this huge life experience separated from your partner? Sharing time before your ceremony allows you to go forward into your wedding in the way you will go forward in life, together. Tell your groom how your mother is driving you crazy, tell your bride that your best man isn’t hung over he’s just nervous about his speech… Often times that moment of first look packs more emotional bang than waiting for the aisle. My take on this fact is that most people feel a bit self conscious in front of a crowd of 100 or more people, so their emotional reactions will be a bit dampened. I’ve seen way more grooms tear up at the first look than have at the altar.
So the best reasons to do a first look are emotional, but let’s be honest, joining your cocktail hour is a pretty good reason, too.
Are you trying to convince someone to do a first look? I’ll help you! Here’s the bullet point version of the pitch:
- You get to enjoy cocktail hour
- You get to enjoy your wedding day more
- You get to enjoy your time with your husband/wife