I’ve been photographing weddings for years now and surprisingly, haven’t photographed many first looks. A first look is when the couple decide to see each other before the traditional walk down the aisle (can I hear the traditionalists and older generations GASP).
Some couples decide to do it to make less of a gap in between the ceremony and their reception (which would normally be time for photos). Some would rather have a more intimate moment with their love. There are many pros to doing a first look, and many variations. Another idea/variation would be to be on opposite sides of a door or corner, and to read a love letter to each other before the ceremony starts. This builds the excitement to see each other while also calming those pre-wedding nerves so many couples face.
As a wedding photographer, I’m experienced in photographing ceremonies. I always have a second photographer with me to get multiple angles, but mainly to get photos of the groom’s reaction as I focus on the bride’s walk down the aisle. I find a lot of groom’s are sentimental, but are always holding it back because people are watching, or it’s overwhelming having someone photographing your reaction as it’s happening. This sometimes makes me sad, because in the little time knowing the groom, I know they feel these emotions so purely and truly, and are holding it back. Once in awhile there will be a groom who hides nothing, and those tend to be the best photos. They show their emotion and for years to come I think that will be admired. Now, I’m all for the traditional walk down the aisle, I even did that for my wedding! But First looks can be so beneficial. The groom would feel less pressure to hold back emotions, as you would be sharing those moments privately, and it gets rid of a lot of those nerves.
Emotions are going to be high no matter what you choose, so make your time and money work for you and your unique and personal day. One lesson I learned throughout the wedding planning process, is you don’t HAVE to do anything you don’t want to. At the end of the day, all I wanted for my ceremony was to look hot, be outside, share our personally written vows to each other, and to be married surrounded by friends and family. Halfway through the wedding planning, eloping sounded really enticing haha… There’s so many unnecessary expectations placed on us by ourselves or the opinions of others and society. Don’t want to do a cake or dessert? That’s totally fine. Just make sure you feed your photographer! Lol. But for reals. Please feed me. Don’t want a flower girl or ring bearer? Also your choice. It’s your day! Don’t forget that (crazy to even have to say that but it’s valid).
I hope you enjoy these first look images with Shannon and Chris. Images taken while second shooting for Kylie of Hue of Blue Photography.