What comes to mind for the bride considering this break against tradition is whether or not it’s really worth all the fuss, so let’s take an honest look into the pro’s and con’s of the event and dissect it.
I will say that I’m a little biased toward doing one, and you’ll soon discover why!
The Timeline Saver
It’s no secret that weddings can sometimes run on a TIGHT schedule. I ask my brides to budget their minutes for unforeseen time speed-bumps, but I find in most timelines, that there’s a thick slice between the Getting-Ready and the Ceremony that’s left *unused*. And after the wedding ceremony ends, it becomes a mad-grab for the couple’s valuable time. Time for family, time for eating & dancing, time for photos and video…it can get crazy if it’s not organized, (and if delays happen)!
That slice of time between Getting-Ready and the Ceremony can easily be utilized with other things (it usually is), but what potential to be EFFICIENT with the day! Think about it! Have you ever been to a wedding where the couple was gone taking photos for, well, almost the whole time? One where you felt as though you weren’t really able to congratulate them? It’s a bummer, for sure!
On a typical day, the wedding ceremony concludes, then the family formals immediately follow. After that, the wedding party photos take place. After that, the bride and groom get the spotlight. How long all that takes varies with the size of the family and wedding party, but the general consensus is between 2 and 3 hours, depending on whether there is traveling involved, too.
Most couples miss most or all of their cocktail hour. (Sad face emoji!)
Having a First Look immediately after the Getting-Ready, and following it up with the bride and groom photos, can shave off up to 30 minutes of that time. Even better, following *that* up with the wedding party photos, possibly 2 hours! (This definitely depends on your unique timeline—this is not a 1-size-fits-all number):
Wouldn’t it be nice to get to celebrate and relax for a while before the reception at your cocktail hour?! To make sure you got to say hello and give a big hug to all of the most important people in your lives? Most def!
Factors that can interfere with you (the Bride) and your photographer’s ability to get a clear shot of your sweet Groom’s reaction can be a little eerie. From our beloved cellphones in the aisle, a thick throng of guests crowding in, ceremonial restrictions, and potentially sharing the limited space with a video team…along with a heaping helping of “what if’s”, ties an uncomfortable amount of risk into the event.
Privacy for You
You don’t have to feel nervous about this special moment—an important note for introverts. You can take a deep breath, and just experience it with the love of your life.
Freedom for your Photographers
Your photographers (and videographers) will be able to place you in the most ideal light, position ourselves in the most perfect places to get not only a perfect shot at the groom’s reaction, but the bride’s, too. We’ll explain the set up, guide you in with quiet cues, then melt into the background.
It gives artistic freedom to your artists to document the moment in the most gorgeous way we can.
And Your Guests will Still React!
I mention later that sometimes Brides and Grooms want their guests to see the “unspoiled” version of the first look during the ceremony. But, your guests didn’t see your reactions because they obviously were not present during your private look, so their reactions will still be sincere! If anything, it allows your photo team to focus a little more on them, too!
Breaking Tradition & ‘Spoiling’ the Moment
Some are uncomfortable with the idea of breaking tradition. Some believe that it’s bad luck to see the bride before the ceremony, and some haven’t really given it much thought and aren’t really sure why they hold onto it. Maybe family pressure, religious reasons… Maybe the couple wants the ceremony to be intact, so their guests see the “unspoiled” version, and some just plain do NOT want to do one! If this is the case for you, that’s completely okay! It’s your wedding, sister! Your photographers will still capture the moment in the best possible way.
First looks loosen up the timeline, shrink a lot of risk, provide privacy for a beautiful moment, along with giving artistic freedom to your photographers & videographers.
And as you might have noticed, there weren’t a whole lot of ‘cons’ to share, because there really aren’t many! The main cons are not wanting to break tradition, avoid ‘bad luck’, family pressures, religious reasons, wanting a ‘unspoiled’ ceremony, or just having a total desire to NOT do one.
And look–we’ve all seen 27 Dresses. It changed the way most people think about wedding ceremonies by shedding light on a beautiful & emotional moment from the Groom, so I totally sympathize with wanting to share an unspoiled version with your guests. So whether it’s done during the ceremony or in private, it’s is a beautiful event that we photographers are SO lucky to witness.
So don’t forget: it’s YOUR wedding! Take all these things into consideration, and remember that the decision is completely up to you!