If a photographer had told me all of this when I got married 5 years ago, I would’ve said “no way Jose,” because I had always dreamt of that magical moment when I walked down the aisle and was revealed for the first time as a bride. I wanted the big wooden doors to swing open, a big “ooh, ahh” to rush across the crowd, and Ryan’s jaw to drop as he saw me for the first time.
But the thing is… as someone who has witnessed close to 100 ceremonies, I genuinely don’t know that anything could take away from the gravity of that moment.
I don’t think that Ryan seeing me beforehand would’ve made it any less overwhelming to him that his bride was walking down the aisle to become one with him for the rest of his life. I don’t think we would’ve cried less, or been any less nervous or excited, just because he had already seen me in my dress.
And plus, it was still the first time that 150 of my closest friends and family were seeing me as a bride.
And the reason why I think it’s worth thinking about those things is because a first look can totally change the game in terms of your stress level on a wedding day, and the amount of time we have to take the photos you really care about.
Couples hire us for different reasons, but I’d wager to say that the biggest one is the style and quality of our photos. Us and you both do our best work when we aren’t quite so rushed, and can take time before the ceremony to shoot some of those portraits and actually breathe as we do them.
It’s important to us that we capture how you’re feeling in the moment – and if you’re (understandably) worried about all of your guests waiting on you (and their dinner) while we have you out in a field somewhere taking photos, it’ll be much harder for you to feel those giddy newlywed feelings, and for us to capture them in camera.
Plus, if we’re running behind on the schedule (like 9 out of 10 weddings ever), the first thing to go is always photo time. Any good planner will try to keep us on track and make up time, but it’s definitely a bummer when we have to shorten portraits during cocktail hour so that the reception can start on time.
And it isn’t the bridal party or family photos that’ll get cut – it’s the ones of you and your new husband.
But if any of those photos have already been taken before the ceremony, time is usually on our side during cocktail hour!
I really encourage you to give yourself the freedom and peace of mind that comes with a first look – you’ll have less stress, a potentially bigger photo gallery, and time to create more diversity across your portraits, and we promise that every moment will feel just as special as it would if you didn’t do one. :)