Traditionally, it’s considered bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony. However, many couples are opting to skip this practice in favor of taking First Look photos. These photos allow the couple to see each other for the first time in an intimate setting before the ceremony and the moment is captured by their photographer.
From a coordinator’s perspective, I love First Look photos. The practice greatly cuts down on photo stress after the ceremony. In a traditional wedding timeline, all photographs take place during cocktails (the time between the ceremony and reception). This time window is typically anywhere from 30-60 minutes long, which seems like plenty of time until you realize you have to squeeze bride and groom portraits, wedding party photos, and family photos all into that time frame!
When I got married, my husband and I opted to take First Look photos and I’m so happy we did! At the advice of our wonderful photographers, Ben & Sophia, we scheduled these photos about an hour before we expected guests to arrive. When I rounded the corner, my husband was waiting with his back facing me. I approached and tapped him on the shoulder and got to see his face up close as he turned around and saw me in my wedding dress for the first time. After sharing our special moment and taking a few portraits together, we met up with our wedding party who was waiting patiently nearby and took photos with them as well. After our ceremony we took photos with our family and a had time for a few more bride and groom photos before heading to the reception. I feel that it allowed me to take a deep breath and really soak in the precious moments of our day. We did not feel rushed at all and my face didn’t get too stuck in a “picture smile” from taking so many photos back to back!
While there is nothing wrong with sticking with tradition, I strongly suggest considering First Look photos for your wedding day. If you know the practice just isn’t for you, be sure to talk with your photographers and get their advice on how to make the most of your wedding photo time window after the ceremony.
Photo Credit: Ben & Sophia Photography
Location: York River State Park, Williamsburg, VA