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Considering the First Look.

5/10/13

Way back in the days of pre-arranged marriages – when marriage was a business deal between families – brides and grooms were never allowed to see each other before the wedding. This was so the groom wouldn’t have time to back out of the wedding if he changed his mind! Over the years, the tradition of the ‘bride in hiding’ changed into a superstition, and seeing each other before the wedding was considered to be ‘bad luck’. Now days though, this ‘tradition’ is quite outdated! More and more brides and grooms are opting to see each other before the ceremony – which always makes for amazing, emotional photographs.

How does a First Look work?

The bride and groom get ready separately. When both are ready, I arrange for the groom to be at a certain place at a specific time. The bride will walk towards the groom, who has his back turned, and when she gets closer, he will turn around to see her. A special moment that you share together.

Why should we consider a First Look?

– We will have more time for amazing, natural light photographs. This is especially important if your wedding ceremony is later in the day, or in winter, because there will be a limited amount of natural light left after the ceremony.

– You will get to spend more time with your guests. After the ceremony, most of your guest will probably stay around a while, then head over to the reception venue. You’ll be excited to see them, and might even feel bad for leaving everyone waiting while you have your photographs.

– There is less time pressure getting some (if not all) of the photographs done before the ceremony when nobody is waiting for you.  

Below are some questions that Amy & Shane answered about their decision to have a First Look on their wedding day.

How did you feel when you saw Shane for the first time? Would it have changed the way you felt during waiting to see him at the ceremony?

Shane stood with his back to me with his eyes closed and I walked up behind him.  I was so excited to see him that I practically ran to him!  When I saw Shane for the first time, I was overcome with love for him.  That feeling would never have changed had I been waiting to see him at the ceremony, but one of the best things about the first look was that the feeling I had when I saw him for the first time was uninterrupted and free from all the distractions you get when walking down the aisle.  I could just concentrate on him knowing that it was just us there. Yering Station, Yarra Valley, Kate Robinson Photography

Are you glad you decided to see each other before the wedding?

Absolutely!  It was a truly special moment and, amongst other things, it really helped to settle our nerves!  It allowed us to get (most of) the tears out of the way and to make our ceremony a rather relaxed affair full of laughs and smiles that better reflected the type of couple we are.

What was your favorite thing about having a first look?

There is so much anticipation that builds during your day.  I was constantly thinking: I wonder what he’s doing now, I wonder if he’s nervous or excited or a little of both, I wonder if he’s there already. My favourite thing about having the first look is that just when I thought my anticipation was going to burst, we were able to share that feeling privately.  Just the two of us.  It gave us time to be together, hold one another, laugh and say to one another “can you believe we’re doing this?”, “I love you” and “now let’s go get married!”  Things that we would never have been able to do had we seen one another for the first time at the ceremony.

Is there anything you suggest for future bride and grooms when considering this?

To think carefully about it – you will only see one another for the first time on your wedding day once and a first look is not for everyone.  When Kate mentioned it to Shane and I as an option we thought it was a little unorthodox and I was worried that we would lose that very special moment of walking down the aisle.  But we ended up deciding to have a first look because we were keen to settle the nerves and create a relaxed atmosphere at our wedding and I think the first look really helped us with that.  It ended up giving us so much more though.

What made your first look so special?

That it was just the two of us – we didn’t have to be anywhere, see anyone or include anyone.  It was just me and Shane and so we were able to react to seeing one another openly, honestly and completely uninhibited.

Why was this important to you?

Because we’ve always been a couple that values our private time together.  When i’m not with him, I want to be with him and so it would have killed me if we didn’t have this moment because you never get a moment just to yourselves the whole day!

Would you suggest this to other bride and grooms?

Suggest?  I’d absolutely recommend it!  It was one of the best decisions we made about our day and I would not change it for the world!  Even more so because we have beautiful photos capturing the moment.  

Erin and Will had another beautiful First Look, here’s what they had to say:

What was your favorite thing about having a first look?

It was really nice to have some time with Will before the wedding and such a personal intimate time before the wedding. It was such an emotional time for us both during the first look as it really brought home that we were actually getting married. I loved just having a bit of quiet time before everything got started, as it made you remember the importance and significance of the day with each other. Heide Museum of Modern Art Wedding, Melbourne

Are you glad you decided to see each other before the wedding?

Absolutely. It was the best decision that we could have made and it definitely settled the nerves. Again, it was some wonderful intimate and private time to reflect on what was ahead and how excited we were. Obviously there are some real traditionalists out there, but it was absolutely the right decision for us as we purposely designed the whole day to be personal, intimate and relaxed. Heide Museum of Modern Art Wedding, Melbourne

How did you feel when you saw Will for the first time? Would it have changed the way you felt during waiting to see him at the ceremony?

I was so overwhelmed when I first saw Will, both of us had a lot of tears and for a good 10 minutes struggled to even put together a coherent sentence. I can only imagine what I would have been like if I had seen him for the first time walking down the aisle! I don’t think it takes away any of the ‘specialness’ of walking down the aisle and seeing each other again as you’re just about to get married in front of all your family and friends.

Is there anything you suggest for future bride and grooms when considering this?

Think about the structure of your day and what works for you and your guests. We chose to do it and take our photos beforehand because we wanted to spend as much time as possible with our guests and minimise the waiting time before the reception. Weddings are really such a hectic day and before you know it, the day is over and you haven’t really spent anytime with your wife/husband as you’ve been so busy talking to your guests. A first look really allows you to spend some precious private moments together focused on each other and allow you to take each other in.

What made your first look so special?

For me, our first look was the most memorable moment of the day (apart from the kiss!). The anticipation of seeing Will and having some ‘secret’ time to see each other and catch a breath before the ceremony was so incredibly special. The ceremony was such a blur as there was so much going on, that I actually remember our first look and how emotional and happy l I felt seeing Will and having a chat almost more than the actual ceremony.

Why was this important to you?

It was incredibly important to stop and remember the reason for the day. We were really focused on creating a personal and intimate day, so taking the time to spend some time with my best friend and acknowledge our life changing day was so important.

Would you suggest this to other bride and grooms?

  Absolutely, but it has to work for you both and the structure of the day. Weddings are ultimately a day for both of you and more often than not, you don’t actually get a lot of time to spend with each other on the day. It’s such a special period before everything starts, where you get to share your thoughts, a last single kiss and any things before the day gets started and it all goes by in a blur!

Amber + James:

Waiheke Wedding Photographer, Kate Robinson Photography

What was your favorite thing about having a first look?

We both loved that we got to have two ‘first looks’ – one just by ourselves and then our second one as I walked down the aisle. We really enjoyed the time we had as just us two at our first look and the opportunity it gave us to not only enjoy some precious time together on what is such an amazing whirlwind of a day but also that we got to have our main photos of us taken at this time. The day flowed really well time wise because of this and one of the main things for us was that after the ceremony we didn’t leave for 2 hours to have our photos taken. I’ve been at weddings where this happens and although it is expected, as a guest you are often left waiting for the bride and groom to arrive back. Our main photos were already done and we got to enjoy all that time with our guests which for us was what its all about – enjoying your wedding day with all those that you love. A first look really allowed us to maximise not only some time together but also our time with our guests. Waiheke Wedding Photographer, Kate Robinson Photography

Are you glad you decided to see each other before the wedding?

Yes we both are very glad and wouldn’t change it for the world!

How did you feel when you saw James for the first time? Would it have changed the way you felt during waiting to see him at the ceremony?

It was overwhelming emotional and everything I expected it to be! It didn’t change the excitement of seeing him again at the ceremony. It was another big wave of love and emotion all over again which I loved! Double the love? Yes please! Waiheke Wedding Photographer, Kate Robinson Photography

Is there anything you suggest for future bride and grooms when considering this?

Do it! A friend of mine inspired me to consider it as she explained how she felt like she got two ‘first looks’ on her wedding day and each was very special to both her and her husband. Now having experienced it for myself, there’s nothing I wouldn’t recommend more!

What made your first look so special?

That it was just the two of us. This was really the only time we had as just us two that whole day until we left the reception. So it really was very special. Also that we got to have our bridal party join us after awhile and have some time with them and get all those photos taken. Waiheke Wedding Photographer, Kate Robinson Photography

Why was this important to you?

A wedding day is about celebrating your love and commitment to each other and to share a moment of the day as just us two felt like a lovely thing to do. Our relationship is about us two together so it was lovely to honour that with some time alone and then to celebrate it with all our loved ones. Also to spend some time with our bridal party afterwards was also lots of fun and again got alot of our main photos done. All our bridal party agree that it was a great idea.

Would you suggest this to other bride and grooms?

Absolutely! We would both highly recommend it and I already do to anyone I know getting married. Waiheke Wedding Photographer, Kate Robinson Photography

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