He was all dressed and ready to go - clothes freshly ironed, tie expertly done by his brother, shoes all shined up. Ben couldn’t remember the last time he was dressed so sharp. He stood nervously, playing with his cufflinks as we waited for Sarah, his bride. He occasionally glanced over at people nearby milling about.
Suddenly, a gentle pressure moved along both sides of his waist, and just as he looked down to see a pair of hands equipped with French manicures, he felt a gentle breeze rub his ear wrapped in Sarah’s voice.
“Hey”, she whispered gently.
Ben turned around, and a rush of gratitude and amazement filled his gut almost instantly. His eyes did a quick scan of Sarah in her wedding gown and they finally stopped at her green eyes. This was the best day of his life so far…
The first look has become more and more popular over the last few years. I think it may have been borne out of a logistical need on the busy wedding day. And though it may have it’s functional property, it definitely fills an emotional need also. Note that I’m not proposing that the first look is a “better” option, but rather would like to explain it of those planning their wedding day as it could be a viable choice in scheduling.
“But Ryan, what is a first look?” To explain the first look, let’s look at the traditional structure of the western style North American wedding:
1) Getting ready —> 2) ceremony —> 3) photo session (2 hours) —> 4) cocktail hour —> 5) reception
Limitations with the traditional structure
The First Look-structured day
1) Getting ready —> 2) The First Look + photo session (2 hours) —> 3) ceremony —> 4) cocktail hour —> 5) reception
"But he’s going to see me before the ceremony"
Yes… but isn’t he going to see you at some point anyway? Why does it have to be at the ceremony? Let’s not let superstition govern the way we plan our weddings? I’m referring to the saying, “it’s bad luck to see the bride before the ceremony”.
“But Ryan, I want to see his face as I walk down the aisle and he sees me for the first time.”
Right, but with the first look you still get to see his face (and from much closer) and you get the feedback about how you look that you’ve been waiting months for. In addition to that, you get to just “be” with each other and catch your breathe together before the day goes into full swing.
You might be reading this and are thinking to yourself, “There’s no way I’m giving up a chance to see him cry as I walk down the aisle.”
And to that I say, “Amen; if that’s what you want, do it.”
He may not get as emotional as you hope or he may still cry when you’re walking down the aisle even after doing a first look!
Here are a couple advantages to doing a first look, some of which I’ve already alluded to above:
Don’t get me wrong: I’m for either day structure (traditional or first look) as long as the right time is allocated. Some more conservative couples might want to be "legal" before they get too comfortable with each other.
If you’re considering a first look, it might be good for you if at least one of the situations below apply to you:
With all that being said, my hope is to educate and help you have a smoother day so your story can be captured in the most natural, most enjoyable and classiest way possible. That starts with great planning.
If you know someone starting their wedding planning or someone who might benefit from a first look, please share this post with them. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!
As we narrate together!
Ryan Walters, the founder and operator of Aperture Lane. Look forward to sharing great stories with you!