For a while now, I’ve wanted to share a bit on the topic of ‘should i see my groom at the ceremony’ or ‘see him before the ceremony’ – and to weigh in on the topic, two planners also share their take!
Seeing one another before the ceremony is often a favorite part of the day for my clients. While I follow your preference, I feel as though it’s helpful to have some information about why couples might choose to see one another before the ceremony.
* more time is available for photographs (and there’s more flexibility with which locations are available because time isn’t as limited)
* photos are done when clothes and make-up are at their freshest (if you tend to tear up, sometimes right after that isn’t the best time for lots of photos…particularly the most important ones with your groom!)
* it may work better with the schedule and allows you to enjoy the day in a more natural way – rather than leaving the guests that have come to celebrate with you, you can join them for a portion of the cocktail hour
* you don’t want to spend all day apart :)
* grooms have mentioned they love having a chance to have you walk down the aisle *and* have a first look because they feel like they get a special moment twice
* you can have your first look with your groom wherever you like (in the same spot or somewhere else and exchange letters or a gift) and talk for a bit (not something you’ll be able to do if it’s during the ceremony)
From Mackenzie Spalding of One Fine Day
I think the first look is so important because it:
*Allows the groom to express his full emotion without the watchful eye of guests, his buddies, his family etc. He doesn’t have to hold back his tears, or feelings and he can give you a giant hug and a kiss or drop to his knee and ask you to marry him all over again- it’s a wonderful moment full of emotion and how great for that moment to be just for the 2 of you and capture those emotions with a photographer at a near distance.
*Often times my clients who have been undecided in the beginning but then ultimately decided to see each other in advance have said that moment was hands down their favorite moment of the day and most romantic too and then getting to be with their best friend the rest of the day was the icing on the cake.
*Walking down the aisle during your ceremony is a huge moment- special for so many reasons. Seeing your groom, having all of your guests see you the bride all dressed up and having that special moment with your father of which he has probably dreamed of from the time you were a baby girl–I think it’s important to nurture each of those moments and often times if you haven’t seen the groom before the ceremony during a first look then your thoughts about the special moment with your dad aren’t as important as wondering what your groom thinks of how you look. And I like to make each moment special and separate if at all possible. It lowers the stress and seems to please everyone.
*Often times the details of the reception are a very important photo opportunity for the bride- seeing the ballroom or the tent without it being full of guests are what many people see featured in the magazines and that is an important photo they want to see but the timing seems near impossible if the photographs are after the ceremony while guests are in cocktail hour and you are getting photographs completed. I’m not saying it’s impossible- it’s just very tight and difficult to get the full effect of photographs prior to the ceremony of the ballroom because the lighting and candlelight and place settings are not complete or what it would be at the time of the reception.
* Along with what you said about the makeup, hair & dresses are at their freshest–as are the flowers. Often times the sun and heat can wilt the flowers a bit and boutonnieres and bouquets after the ceremony are not as picture perfect as prior to the ceremony when you’ll want to remember them.
*It’s also beneficial for the bride & grooms photos of them as a couple–there is more time for those to go to different locations on a property with different backdrops and scenery. Whereas if you are hurrying to get to the reception it’s often a quick few in one or two locations and not a natural relaxed environment. The investment of photography for a wedding should be used to its fullest and let the photographers creativity to create beautiful images happen rather than rushing their artistic ability.
*Your guests will thank you. Having you be one of the first guests at the reception to greet them as the hostess with the mostess makes your guests feel special and loved that you value spending time with them as an area of huge importance. They are there to celebrate with you not without you.
* It makes everyone relaxed. Not just the couple but also the parents, wedding party, and the photographer. That way you are sure to get the photographer’s best work. After seeing each other for the first time, it takes away a lot of anxiety helping the Bride and Groom to smile easily, allowing for better pictures in the end.
From Wesley Swafford of Wesley Swafford Events
The “first look” has evolved from a rather taboo nontraditional approach to minimizing time line management, to a precious quiet moment shared only by the bride and groom. What would otherwise be a rushed sentiment has developed into a warm instant where time slows down.
As a planner, I often reflect on events and weddings passed and find myself with a heavy heart; it seems these once in a lifetime celebrations suffer the most from Father Time. The “first look” capitalizes on the privacy of devoted hearts and the sanctity of marriage. It’s a rare glimpse of love with its purest intentions, and photographing these emotions is invaluable.
Aside from contributing to a fluent and well managed event, the ‘first look’ is probably the only option to partake in a secluded and intimate exchange between bride and groom. Some darling “first look” moments::
groom surprising unsuspecting bride with cherished gift
bride setting up surprise photo session with props and other genuine mementos
MOB and MOG providing unpredicted champagne toast with yummy treats
bride and groom exchanging private notes
See why I love planners? I so appreciate their insight into weddings! Hope this helps brides make an informed decision about what is the best personal fit for them! warmly, -melanie-