“First Look” Photos Can Make Your Wedding Day More Memorable
I have been photographing weddings since 1980 and when I first started, the majority of the weddings followed the same sequence, the brides house, the ceremony, the park formals and the reception. Traditionally most wedding ceremonies took place in a church or temple separate from the reception which left time to take the formal pictures between the ceremony and reception. Usually if the weather cooperated, the bridal party would stop at a park or some scenic place to take the formal portraits. It was also a long held tradition that the bride and groom should not see each other until the wedding ceremony and that the “first look” should be during the wedding procession.
Over the decades more weddings began having their nuptials take place at the same location as their reception. This created a new problem because, when there used-to be plenty of time between the church and reception to take the formal, is now cramped into a few minutes. One of the alternatives is for the bridal party to miss most of their cocktail hour and worse, to have to gather people up during the reception.
When this started becoming a problem, many photographers suggested taking the formals before the ceremony, this way all formal portraits would be done in advance and the bridal party could enjoy their entire cocktail hour with only candid shots afterwards. Unfortunately, in most cases that idea hit a stone wall with the utterance of the superstition that it was bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding and that they would miss that “first look” coming down the aisle. There was this whole myth about how the “first look” down the aisle was this divine moment between the bride and groom. The reality being, that in most cases the bride and groom would have “butterflies” in their stomachs and the bride would be worrying more about not tripping in the aisle.
As a result, some forward thinking photographers came up with the idea, why can’t bride and grooms have their “first look” moment earlier on before the formal portraits? This is a time when the bride and groom could really experience a quality moment alone together and without the nervousness of a public audience. Then they could even have this precious moment recorded for future memories. By doing it this way the couple can enjoy a better “first look”, get it captured, get their formals done in a relaxed manner ahead of time, get to enjoy their entire cocktail hour, and not have to worry about posed pictures afterwards unless they want to.
Today most professional event planners and maître ds agree that the “first look” is a great idea that enables couples to have a personal precious moment together and helps the whole day to run smoother with less chaos. But most important, it helps create a more natural, enjoyable and memorable wedding day for all.
By Joseph A. Lypowy, Lypowy Studio