One of the most memorable moments in a wedding is the first time the groom lays eyes on his bride. While some brides dream of having the big reveal as she walks down the aisle, others are choosing to make it a special and intimate time between the couple. Whether intimacy or practicality, first looks are getting a great deal of attention from brides.
Scheduling plays a huge role in whether or not a couple chooses to have a first look. As a courtesy to keep guests from waiting at the reception, couples often take pictures before the ceremony. When asked about her decision to see her soon-to-be husband before the aisle, one bride said, “Having a first look and getting all of the wedding portraits done ahead of time makes the day run so much smoother. Plus, after the ceremony there won’t be good natural lighting for outdoor pictures.” Many brides have come to this same consensus, wanting to have their photos taken when the lighting is best and the time is less rushed, allowing them to get to the reception sooner.
Aside from practicality, earlier first looks provide the bride and groom with an intimate moment before their guests arrive. A wedding is a whirlwind event so having time alone gives the couple a moment to breathe. As another bride noted, “Weddings happen so fast. You blink and the day is over. There are so many people, opinions, expectations, and rushing from one place to the next that it’s just overwhelming. I needed that special moment alone with my fiancé to pause, take a deep breath, and remember that our marriage is why we’re doing all of this.”
Some brides, however, are sticking to the traditional way and seeing their grooms at the end of the aisle for the first time. That experience can be just as emotional and intimate as an earlier first look. There might be a crowd of people, but the groom’s eyes will be glued on the bride as she makes her way down the aisle. “Personally I thought it was more emotional and had more of an impact for him to first see me at the end of the aisle. I thought it was a special scene versus seeing me a second time down the aisle,” said one bride about her decision to wait. Waiting until after the ceremony to take pictures can be planned into the schedule. Cocktail hours are a great opportunity to give guests a moment to walk around the venue, sign the guest book, eat, drink, and socialize while the couple sneaks off for photos.
There are plenty of compromises if you can’t decide whether an earlier first look is for you. Some couples will stand with a wall between them or blindfold the groom while they talk before the wedding. This gives couples the opportunity to communicate and calm their nerves before they walk down the aisle without breaking traditions.
Couples weighing their options will want to check the flexibility of their photographer and other aspects of the schedule. However, don’t let the schedule of the day dictate everything. The most beautiful weddings spring from beautiful marriages and that should be the focus of your big day. Deciding whether or not to have a first look can be tricky. But regardless of timing, the moment a bride and groom see each other will be a moment full of magic, emotion, and love.
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