The music starts, the audience rises to its feet, the doors in the back of the church swing open wide and the beautiful bride starts her walk down the aisle. This is the traditional way most grooms see their blushing bride for the first time on their wedding day.
In the past few years a new trend has started. It is called "The First Look". This is when the bride and groom choose a time before the wedding starts so that they can see each other for the first time. This has evolved from purely time saving and photographic opportunities. Many brides and grooms have been involved in weddings where the photographer took forever with the family and wedding party photos after the ceremony that the wedding couples got cheated out of prime reception time. So to avoid having to stay around the reception area for an extended period of time after the ceremony couples have started requesting having all of their "formal" photos done before the wedding. This gives them more time to enjoy the reception party.
Here is generally what is involved with a "first look". The couple coordinates with their photographer a place to see each other for the first time. Most photographers I talk with love this because they can get creative with this special moment. They can often get better reactions from the couple when they can control where the couple is meeting. If multiple photographers are involved then they can get varying angles of the first look moment. For example, one photographer might be shooting a tight shot of the groom to get his reaction of seeing the bride while the other one is photographing a wider scene of the two reacting to each other. There are several ways to get amazing photos of a staged first look. The main advantage is photographers aren’t constrained to a church aisle with people standing on both sides of them.
Usually after the first look is done and the photographer gives the couple some time to enjoy the moment the rest of the wedding party and family is brought in to get all of the "formal" photos the couple wants. All of this is done 2 to 3 hours before the wedding.
But…what about tradition? What about that moment he see her in front of all of the guests in attendance? Isn’t that (and the kiss) the two most exciting moments of a wedding? That is why the "First Look" is not the norm. In my experience (and this is not scientific at all), I think that one in five of my weddings that I photograph do a "first look".
I would love to know what you think about this evolving wedding trend. Should brides and groom stick with tradition or is it ok to find creative ways to see each other for the first time?
This article is written for Canvas Press. To find out more about Canvas Press’ products visit www.canvaspress.com.