January 30, 2017
There is nothing I love more than documenting love – the real, the raw, the unscripted. Lucky for me, wedding days are full of this glorious stuff. One of my favorite things to witness is when a bride and groom see each other for the first time!
Sometimes this happens organically, as the bride is walking down the aisle, and other times it’s a little more pre-conceived.
While I prefer to leave this decision up to the couple, I try to make sure they understand the perks of having a first look!
Having a first look guarantees time for couples portraits. Period. Even if you’re running behind, we’ll be able to squeeze in a few minutes for just the two of you after you’ve seen each other and had a few minutes to soak it all in.
That said, I still always try to sneak my couples away from the reception for a few minutes for a quick set of romantic sunset photos, but I’ll be honest – it doesn’t always work out. Sometimes we miss the sunset (sometimes the weather takes a turn for the worse). Sometimes you’re just done with photos by this point.
When things don’t go as planned, bride & groom portraits always seem to take the hit, which is super unfortunate.
This is more of my own personal reasoning for a first look – but it could matter to you, too, so I’m including it!
That beautiful shaded area outside of the church, a gorgeous clearing near your favorite hiking trail, the cafe where you both met… You pick the sentiment and the general location, and I handle the technicalities 🙂
Not that there’s anything wrong with the location you might have chosen to marry at. It’s just sometimes I have to work within a venue’s set parameters (“no flash” being a pretty common one) which can really affect photos in a dark, indoor setting, for example.
Guess what? If you don’t see each other until the ceremony, that means your family formals & wedding party photos have to wait until after the ceremony, too.
These portraits can take up quite a chunk of time, especially if we’re staging multiple large groups. I usually tell my couples to plan on 10 minutes for each group of 8 or more, and 5 minutes for every grouping with less than 8. This can add up quickly with large families and wedding parties!
Even if cocktail hour isn’t on your radar, you might find there’s somewhere else you’d like to go in between your ceremony and your reception.
As much as you’ll probably want to please everyone else on your wedding day, the day is really about the two of you starting your lives together. The more photos you have that tell THAT story, the happier you’ll be down the road.
Trust me. It’s no less special if you’ve already seen each other! If you’re really worried about it though, you can always separate for the hour before the ceremony to build that anticipation back up.
In all honesty, I want my couples to follow their hearts. Not just with whether or not they should see each other before the ceremony or not, but in all aspects of their wedding planning. You only get the day together once. If your heart is set on waiting to see each other, wait. Don’t be pressured to go against your gut feelings – not by me, not by buzz-feed or Pinterest, nor well meaning family and friends. Just do your thing, G.
– Chelsea 🙂