Our production assistant, Patrice, is recently married and reflecting on her wedding planning journey. Check back for more real-life wedding planning insights – or follow along here!
When I went into the wedding planning process, one of the things I was sure of was that I did not want to do a first look. I had dreamed of my wedding day since I was a little girl, and I had always imagined seeing my husband for the first time as I walked down the aisle with my Dad on my arm. That being said, it was also one of the things that I very quickly changed my mind about. As we started planning and talking with photographers, my feelings shifted. And now that we are on the other side of the wedding, I genuinely think it was the best decision I made while planning our wedding, period. Here’s why:
1. You’ll look your best before the ceremony
We got married outside in August in 95 degree heat with sprinkles of rain and smoky skies. One photographer explained that if we do a first look before the ceremony, we would be looking our best – fresh makeup, no sweating. By doing a first look before the ceremony, we could get in a few couples portraits before we were covered in sweat and tears.
2. It works better with the timeline.
People aren’t kidding when they say your wedding day will fly by. In fact, if you told me that it had never happened and it was all a dream, I would totally believe you! With everything happening so quickly, you’ll want to take advantage of every moment possible to visit with your guests and have fun with your new spouse. That time before the ceremony was absolutely perfect for checking off all the pictures on your “must have list.” Once we had done our first look and couple portraits, we were able to get wedding party photos and family photos done, saving us so much of the actual wedding time.
3. It helps with the nerves.
My husband and I dated for 8 years before we got married, so I’m not kidding when I say he is “my person.” He’s my best friend and someone that I want to share every single experience with. Because we are together all the time, spending the morning of the wedding apart was really difficult for us! Surprisingly, he was way more anxious than I was and neither of us had a ton of fun getting ready or on the limo ride up to our venue. The second we did our first look, all of those anxieties melted away. At the suggestion of our photographer, we read letters to each other during our first look time, which really helped with reading our custom vows during the ceremony. We were really able to relax and enjoy the rest of the day!
4. You can make it work for you.
I think one of the main reasons I didn’t want to do a first look was because I really didn’t love the typical “tap on the shoulder” first look. It always felt like you were too close and you didn’t get the dramatic feel of when you first see each other walking down the aisle. So, I explained this to my photographer and told her I would rather do something with some distance and that I trusted her to find the perfect spot. She definitely delivered with an amazing setting in the vineyard and we kind of got the best of both worlds with a first look AND a special walk towards one another.
5. It was so. special.
Our first look was my favorite moment of the day. As I walked out to the vineyard chit-chatting with the photographer’s assistant, I spotted my soon-to-be husband standing amongst the grapes. He had been told to wait for a signal from the photographer to turn around, but as soon as he heard my voice he turned, his eyes already full of tears. The feeling we both had in that moment was something I will never forget.
6. Walking down the aisle was still amazing.
Doing a first look didn’t take away from my walk down the aisle one bit. He had a huge smile on his face and we both felt just a bit more relaxed. If anything, I would say our first look actually enhanced the walk down the aisle because I was feeling so excited and so in love and I just couldn’t wait to reach the end and make this thing official.