Demystifying the “First Look” | Boston wedding photographer

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One current wedding trend that is gaining popularity is the “first look.”  Lots of people are talking about it, but many couples I meet with ask, “What is it anyway?”  Allow me to demystify the first look.

Traditionally, the bride and the groom don’t see each other before the wedding ceremony until she is walking down the aisle about to be “given away.” This superstition dates back to a time when arranged marriages were the norm.  The fear was that if the couple saw each other too early, they’d change their mind about the wedding.  Hence the element of last minute surprise.

But couples today aren’t typically in arranged marriages.  There may not be a bride AND a groom.  No one is being “given away.”  And there may not even be an aisle to walk down.  For these and a variety of other reasons, more couples are opting to see each other before the ceremony and enjoy some time together.  Hence the “first look.”

Often, the first look is a scripted photo op where one person has their back turned and the other approaches quietly and then, surprise! they see each other.  This is cute, but not necessary, so if you’re not into it, don’t stress.  You can just see each other, unceremoniously.  Your day will be replete with photo ops and grand ceremony, trust me.

I am one to love a good photo op, however.  For that and a few other reasons, I encourage couples to do a first look.  Here’s why:

1.  It helps dull the nerves and anxiety of the day.  You’re likely to be nervous on your wedding day – wouldn’t it make you feel better to be with your one-and-only?  I always see couples relax as soon as they are together.

2.  It allows you to get some or all of your formal photos done before the ceremony.  This frees up your cocktail hour and gets one of the more stressful parts of the day over with early.

3.  It gives you much needed time together, alone.  With your photographer.  (‘Cuz I go where you go.)  Seriously, once that ceremony begins there will be 100 or more people clamoring for your attention.  Do yourself a favor and spend 20 minutes with that person you’re marrying.  You’ll be surprised how much time you DON’T get to spend together on your wedding day.

In summary, the first look is a chance to be together towards the start of your wedding day, before the really emotional and fun and wild parts of the day begin.  Embrace it as special time with your spouse-to-be and let your photographer worry about how to make it a great photo op.

Got more questions about planning for your wedding day photography?  Send me an email and I’d be happy to help!

couple pose for a photo outside before a fall wedding in Vermont

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