multiple perspectives from a few traditional couples

In case you missed it, I put together a blog post with multiple perspectives from a few clients who opted for a "first look" on their wedding day. The response was overwhelming that seeing each other before the ceremony was a POSITIVE experience, but I also wanted to provide some positive experiences from clients who didn't see each other until the walk down the aisle.

There are a few situations that make it a great idea to wait until the ceremony to see each other:

ONE: If you're planning a wedding in the peak of Summer.
The peak of Summer is mid-July to mid-August. Let's say your ceremony is at a typical time (anywhere from 4:30-5:30pm). Even after the ceremony is over, we still have 3 hours of beautiful light to use for photos. In this case, doing a first look isn't really necessary (from a photography perspective).

TWO: If you've arranged to have a second shooter for your wedding day.
If you're having an outdoor ceremony AND you have a second shooter, you can feel comfortable knowing that your walk down the aisle will be documented beautifully and completely. While I document your entrance, the second shooter would be able to capture your groom's reaction. 

THREE: If your ceremony is early.
I love brunch weddings (it's a fact), and if this is what you're planning, it doesn't make sense to be ready 2 hours before an already early ceremony. In this case, I would suggest a traditional ceremony where you don't see each other before :)

But don't just take it from me! Here are a few perspectives from clients who chose not to do a first look:

KIM + JEREMY // married in Ottawa, ON // May 2014

"Originally, I wanted to do a first look. I love seeing the photos. It’s amazing seeing them turn around, and one or both cry, they hug, they are so happy to see each other. After some thought and discussion we decided not to, and I am glad for that.

The reasons we didn’t: 

- My husband is traditional, and wanted to see me walk down the aisle towards him – this was #1.
- I personally feel like the ‘first look’ could go two ways. Awesome, or perhaps not the look on his face I was hoping for. My husband has a nervous smile, and isn’t the most photogenic all the time. I was worried that the look on his face wouldn’t be what I had expected – or look anything like the amazing images I have seen of other couples.
- We aren’t ‘lovey dovey’ type people when it comes to body language. We say it like it is, sit on opposite sides of dinner parties, etc. We’ve never been the couple that cry out of excitement, or joy. The thought and stress of having that exact moment not go as planned is something that I didn’t really want to think about.

The reasons I am glad we didn’t:

- The anticipation of waiting in the room before walking out. I had butterflies. So nervous, but excited.
- All of our friends and family got to experience the moment with us. This is why they are there! It was special and I wanted to share it."

DANIELLE + MARK // married in Calabogie, ON // July 2014

"After years of dreaming up my wedding on Pinterest I had the entire thing planned- before I even became engaged. I pinned about ten 'first look photos' determined that I would do the same when my day came. 

When I did become engaged I told Mark about the first look idea and he HATED it- and all my pinterest perfect wedding dreams were crushed (hehe). He expressed that he really wanted a traditional first look at me as I was coming down the aisle. After a few weeks of talking about it I came to realize he had a point- I would be giving up on a special moment between us. 

As I walked down the aisle towards him on our wedding day I knew I made the right decision- we couldn't take our eyes off of each other the entire time. 

The emotions that came out of the ceremony  may not have been as strong or genuine if we had seen one another beforehand (and Mark himself admits he probably wouldn't have shed a few tears if he had seen me ahead of time). 

I would, however, highly recommend having a first look with your father and bridesmaids. I loved being able to see the expression on my girls faces when they opened the door to see me for the first time in my dress. 

The first look with my dad was also one of the best moments of the day- it was such a private moment between us and it gave us a moment to hug, talk and to shed a few more tears without everyone watching us (on that note I was so happy I got a suite that had a private bedroom- so much more privacy and it really kept me calm)" 

LAURA + RYAN // married in Punta Cana, DR // November 2012

"I am fairly traditional: I insisted Laura wear a white dress (that I hadn’t seen before the wedding day); I insisted we spend the night before the wedding apart; and I insisted that the first time I was to see her on our wedding day, it would be as she walked down the aisle.

From the time I left her the night before, until the time I saw her that day, I was filled with anticipation.  I spent the entire morning just imagining how beautiful she was going to look, how angelic, but nothing could have prepared me for that moment when I saw her. 

I wanted that moment, which I had spent so long anticipating, to carry as much weight and significance as possible, and I was absolutely overcome.  I feel blessed to have shared that with my best man, standing up there with me, and with my family all around.  For a guy who isn’t always comfortable during photo shoots, having this incredible moment documented during the actual wedding, instead of a separate time set aside for photos, was particularly valuable.  

I can look back on these photos now and remember all the emotion and beauty of that moment without worrying about whether I was being awkward in front of the camera.

These are the reasons why I pushed for not having a first look. The reasons why my wife obliged me are likely because the setting of our wedding resulted in incredible first look photos anyway – an outdoor, sunny gazebo that allowed our photographer unrestricted access; as well as a wedding day schedule that left tons of time for photos after the ceremony.  For us, it made sense." 

(our wedding photos were taken by the talented Lauren Wakefield)

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