The church doors swing open to reveal an ethereal, tulle-clad bride clutching a bouquet of white flowers on the arm of her father. A select few guests turn their heads around to sneak a peek of the groom’s reaction: overwhelmed by seeing her bridal beauty for the very first time, his mouth falls open and his eyes begin to well up in front of attendees; his expression causes the bride to start crying as well. It’s a beautiful, sentimental moment – though her makeup is most likely muddled.
The days of this practice are slowly fading due to the introduction of the “first look” trend. If couples choose to participate, the “first look” occurs before the ceremony. It’s a chance for the pair to see one another in their wedding attire and share in a private moment – save for the presence of the photographer – prior to the nuptials. It rivals the superstition that it’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding; however, today’s events are notoriously jam-packed with numerous “to-dos” on the day’s itinerary that newlyweds can often get so invested in the schedule, they barely have any time for each other.
If you’re willing to disregard smaller customs, want a few minutes with your love before you say “I do,” and know you’ll need a touch-up on your maquillage preceding your stroll down the aisle, this may be a great option for you. Additionally, it can also cut down the time during cocktail hour dedicated to taking bridal party photos since these images can now be captured prior to the ceremony. Some couples find “first looks” unnecessary, as the emotion during the service will be present either way. Others mention that it may be unfair to deprive your guests of watching the first moment you two get to lock eyes.
Whatever your personal style might be, making this choice is an important aspect of the modern wedding-planning process. If you and your sweetheart want to reserve the moment and gaze upon each others’ visages for all your friends and family to see, tradition welcomes it. If you’d prefer to embrace your beloved with an air of privacy, the option is open to you. It’s very easy to get caught up in the opinions of others, but this is your wedding day – when it comes down to it, you and your future spouse need to make decisions that work best for you as a couple.
Opening photo by Victor Sizemore Photography