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Breaking Traditions: The First Look


To many, keeping with their family’s traditions are important. In this day and age, however, new traditions are being formed. Weddings look different than they did in the past. To me, this is exciting! I love seeing how every couple plans their big day! These differences make them so special and unique.

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One tradition that I don’t mind falling by the wayside is the Groom not seeing the Bride until she walks down the aisle. While it is an incredibly special moment to capture, the same can be accomplished – in my opinion, an even more exciting way – during a “First Look.”

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The First Look

The “First Look” – for those who aren’t aware – is a special meeting before the ceremony where the Bride and Groom see each other. The Bride is in her gorgeous gown, make up and hair all done. The Groom is looking dapper in his suit. And this First Look is, of course, captured on camera!

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Why I Love This New Tradition

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• Everyone’s hair, make up and clothing is fresh for photos. There is no messed up makeup from crying through the ceremony or sweaty armpits from standing around in formal attire for hours.

• We can get all the formal portraits done before the ceremony. This means we can take our time instead of trying to squeeze all of the formal portraits into the cocktail hour time. More time and less pressure for portraits = a more relaxed Bride and Groom. They can enjoy the experience rather than checking things off a list.

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• Cocktail hour can actually be an hour long, instead of closer to two hours. Because we take all of the formal photos before everyone arrives, it means guests won’t be left waiting for hours for the bridal party to show up to the reception. And ultimately, dinner. The Bride and Groom could even choose not to have a cocktail hour and go straight from the ceremony into the reception, if they wished.

• If formal portraits are finished early, the Bride and Groom can attend their own cocktail hour! This is an extra hour of socializing with their guests they wouldn’t otherwise have. Or, if they don’t want to go to cocktail hour, they have time to relax, grab some snacks and drinks, and refresh before the reception starts. They could even spend some extra time on portraits of the two of them.

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• This private, intimate moment is reserved only for the couple. No one else is invited! It’s one of the only moments during the day they will get to be alone (minus the photographer, of course)

• When Grooms have 200+ people staring at them, they are more likely to hide their emotions when they see the bride for the first time. I see this almost every time I photograph a wedding where the Bride and Groom don’t have a first look. The Groom doesn’t want to get emotional when all of these people are watching him. He either goes stone faced (which makes him look angry in the photos) or he hides his face or turns away. This means I can’t get a good photo of his expression. The Groom’s face when he see’s the Bride for the first time is the #1 photo requested from my Brides. It’s very disappointing when they get a photo of an angry looking groom or the back of his head.

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• The first look photos take all the pressure off of the Bride and Groom. Emotions are more candid because no one is watching. They can hug, kiss, laugh, cry, smack booties, or whatever else tickles their fancy.

• As mentioned before, weddings don’t really allow the Bride and Groom to actually spend time together. The low pressure and alone time during the first look allow them to spend time together, take it all in, and set the tone (of LOVE) for the day.

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It just makes perfect sense to me! What do you think?

~ Shillawna

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