by Marlise Jay of Studio Jay Photography
What will go into making you such a beautiful bride? The perfect fit of the perfect dress, the perfect shoes, the jewelry, the mani and pedi, the hair, the make-up. All the details come together to create the most stunning you. You will be gorgeous inside and out. You will glow!
That romantic, sweet moment of anticipation when the love of your life sees you for the first time is what has been termed “the first look.” When and where will that first look occur? A private moment in a private place, just the two of you sharing a special moment. Or, as you come into view of each other when you walk down the aisle, a special gaze shared with your loved ones, family and friends.
There’s a bit of an argument whether that first look should be private or shared by all. A recent article in the Huffington Post suggested that the “private” first look is stupid, noting that the private moment isn’t private at all. It’s manipulated and posed by the photographer and the author protests that the wedding is more than about YOU, the bride, and the first look is an expression everyone is entitled to see.
Tom and I at Studio Jay disagree with that huffy Huffington article and generally encourage brides and grooms to enjoy that first look well before the wedding ceremony. As a wedding photographer, it’s a bit scary to know you are pressured to capture the first look images as the bride comes into view of the groom and guests. Is she looking at the groom when he catches the first glimpse of her? Or is she listening to a few tender words her dad is sharing or seeing grandma for the first time in years or wondering to herself if her veil is just right or, or any number of things that might be crossing her mind as she walks down the aisle. Is the groom studying and appreciating his beautiful bride or is he nervous, hoping he won’t drop the ring, or rehearsing in his mind the words he has prepared for her? Friends and family will stand as the bride enters and will the photographer capture the bride and groom in the same frame?
What if that first look is set up beforehand and staged by the bride and groom and wedding photographer? A pretty and quiet site is selected where the bride can walk towards the groom and have him turn to see his beautiful bride for the first time, allowing the camera to capture some of those special images. This is away from family and friends and allows the couple privacy to spend some time alone together to hug and kiss and share a smile and laugh, perhaps a tear of love and joy. Even though the photographer is present, this may be the only time all day that the bride and groom have a few moments to themselves. With the first look before the wedding ceremony, that also means the wedding couple can pose for their formal and fun images with their wedding party and family prior to the ceremony. That may add hours to your pre-wedding day but translates into hours you gain later, available to enjoy the cocktail hour, visit with guests, and dance the night away without having to be pulled off for formal portraits while friends party without the guests of honor.
A goal for Studio Jay as a professional wedding photography service is to do everything in our power to alleviate stress on wedding day and allow the bride and groom to experience their dream. The first look alone is unhurried and helps make that possible.
What do you think about first looks? Did you have one at your wedding? Do you wish you would have had one? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear about your first look experiences!