Deciding whether to have a first look is a foundational part of the timeline for your wedding day. While the choice is ultimately up to you and your future spouse today I’m sharing a few of the pros and cons of having a first look on your wedding day.
We have all heard the superstition that it’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding, ever wonder why this became a saying? The tradition has less-than-romantic origins. Arranged marriages used to be the norm, serving more like a business deal between families than a love match. In fact, the couple didn’t just spend the morning of the wedding apart: There was a time when it was totally normal (and even expected) for the couple to have never seen one another before the wedding at all!
The deal was usually made by the bride’s father, who wanted his daughter to marry rich to help his own family. However, he might worry that if the groom saw the bride before the ceremony, he might not find her attractive and could call off the wedding—leading to serious shame for the bride and her family. Talk about bad luck! So to avoid risking the family’s reputation, the tradition that the couple didn’t see each other until the ceremony.
I’m going to assume you are not partaking in an arranged marriage, so I feel like we can put a rest to this superstition. But if that isn’t reason enough to have a first look I have a few more things to share with you.
A first look is just the bride, the groom, and the photographers. Without the added pressure of all your friends and family watching you see your spouse for the first time you can relax and take in the entire experience.
With a first look, you are able to take your time. Your groom can see you in your wedding dress, have time to take it all in. You are not rushed to get right into the ceremony after you see your spouse for the first time! Couples are able to share a prayer or letter together, exchange gifts, or just embrace and take in the first time seeing each other on their wedding day.
Couples who choose to have a first look end up with about 40% more photos on their wedding day. We are able to take bridal party photos, the bride and groom photos, as well as family formals before the ceremony. This means you can take advantage of sunset photos!
By having a first look you are able to get to your reception quicker, and not leave guests wondering when you will show up. You also get more time to enjoy your reception.
By having a first look you are giving yourself the freedom to spread things out a bit. This will leave you feeling less rushed and more relaxed on your wedding day. You will have more time to visit with guests from out of town. You are also able to take a moment to soak it all in. Brides are often surprised just how fast the day goes by.
Brides who are leaning towards the more “traditional” way and wanting to hold off on having a first look are not really worried about the bad luck superstition, but more concerned with getting a reaction from the groom. Those who are not interested in a first look usually worry that the first look will take away part of that reaction. They also assume that a first look won’t be as intimate as seeing each other for the first time when they walk down the aisle, which couldn’t be further from the fact.
We all know that the wedding day can be stressful for both the bride and the groom. The morning of the wedding the groom might be playing golf somewhere, and the gravity of the ceremony and wedding day starts to sink in. As the day goes on the groom gets dressed, and sits in a little room somewhere waiting for the wedding coordinator to tell him it’s go time. He’s starting to feel a little anxious. Finally, it’s time for him to walk to the front of the ceremony space where he finds 80-300 people staring at him. Why because everyone has expectations and anticipations as to what his reaction will be to seeing his bride walk down the aisle. This is a far cry from a private or intimate moment. Yes, it’s powerful wonderful and magical, but from my own wedding… Justin wasn’t a nervous wreck. He had spent the morning with me and our best friends and the pressure was off.
By the time the ceremony rolled around, we were both ready to ENJOY our beautiful day. Nerves were gone and when nerves are gone true emotions are free to be expressed.