I had the pleasure of having drinks with midwest wedding photographer, Christa Hitchcock, recently. Though newer to the Indy scene, she is no stranger to capturing the beauty of weddings and new beginnings. A recent bride herself, Christa can tell you first hand just how many choices you’ll have to make as you plan your wedding. Venue, catering, photography, entertainment, a dress, the list goes on and on. Christa, so kindly, is sharing her thoughts on one of the biggest decisions you’ll inevitably have to make.
Congratulations! You’re engaged! Once you’ve accepted your sparkly new ring and said yes to the man of your dreams, the wedding planning is officially underway. And speaking from experience, it won’t be long from now that someone (probably your photographer or your wedding planner) will confront you with the choice of a first look.
If you’re unfamiliar, a first look is simply as it sounds. It’s a chance for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony in a private, more intimate setting. Now I realize that some of you are already apprehensive- isn’t this breaking tradition? Perhaps, but as first looks become more and more popular, it’s almost the new tradition. And here’s why:
Calm Your Nerves
You probably don’t realize how nervous you will be on your wedding day- I certainly didn’t! After months and months of planning, there is a lot of anticipation that can easily turn into some pre-ceremony jitters. It’s easy to imagine a wedding day where the suspense is building, the pews are filling up, and you’re finding it harder and harder to stay present. The beauty of a first look is that it cuts this tension with a beautiful, intimate moment for you and your groom. It gives you a chance to redirect your nervous energy and connect with one another before the craziness begins! Once the pressure is off, it is so much easier to slow down your thoughts and take it all in.
Extend Your Day
If you’re planning an evening ceremony, it could easily be 5 or 6pm before you see your groom at all! For as much as you dream of your perfect wedding day, isn’t it a little ironic to not even see your fiance until most of the day has gone by? Even if you see your groom at the end of the aisle it won’t be until half an hour later that you get to actually give him a kiss or exchange any words. A first look pushes up your timeline so you get to extend your day by a few hours, allowing you to spend more time with the guy this day is all about!
Enjoy Your Cocktail Hour
Speaking of timelines, one of the biggest benefits of a first look is that it allows you to finish all of your bridal party portraits before the ceremony! This means that there’s no stress after the big “I do’s” and you’re free to enjoy your own cocktail hour without chasing down bridesmaids and groomsmen. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this sweet opportunity to greet your guests and kick off the reception. You’d be amazed at how many brides & grooms never even get one of their own hors d'oeuvres!
And the best part? A first look in no way detracts from your walk down the aisle- I promise! It’s such an iconic moment that you’ve been dreaming of your whole life, and the emotion is still just as consuming. In fact, I found the walk down the aisle after a first look to be even sweeter because I was calm enough to really focus, and there was less pressure on my reaction! Of course this decision is totally a personal one, but I wanted to share what all the hype is about!