We know traditions are an ongoing topic (and sometimes an argument) between you, your significant other, and your family. Was the father of the bride asked for her hand in marriage? Did the bride get her something borrowed, something blue? Are we breaking plates? Cutting cakes?
What seems to be the most important wedding tradition is whether or not the bride and groom see each other before they walk down the aisle.
Lets hope not, right? It’s bad luck!
Or is it?
Since this blog is focused on “first looks” and we were also intrigued by this tradition and its existence, we did a little research. What we found was pretty interesting. According to our findings, the reason why people today, in 2014, still think it is bad luck to see the bride before the wedding day is because a few centuries ago, when weddings were arranged rather than chosen, when they were a business deal as opposed to a life path of love, the families of the bride were afraid that if the husband-to-be were to see his future wife and was not satisfied by her appearance, then he might decide not to marry her.
This reason alone is why most people in America believe that bad luck will strike if husband and wife accidentally sneak a peek at each other before they walk down the aisle.
Nowadays, since arranged marriages are not as common and fiancés have most likely seen each other before the wedding, there is no need to worry about runaway spouses. There is, however, need to worry whether or not your photographer captures that special moment when you see each other for the first time. Photos of your wedding will always be important, tradition or no tradition. You will be looking at them for the rest of your life.
Because of this fact, we are proposing a new tradition. It’s called a “first look”. Although we did not come up with this idea, it’s sudden popularity and the benefits of its practice have motivated us to spread the word about it.
It’s simple: the bride and groom take a moment before the ceremony, before everyone has had anything (or at least, not as much) to drink, to be alone. The groom waits at a special place for the bride, who taps him on the shoulder and asks him to turn around. This is the moment that they get to see each other for the first time, without hundreds of eyes gazing upon them. This stress-free, genuine, beautiful moment will be documented by your photographer. After this authentic, love-filled, emotional moment is when all of the family photos can be done, leaving plenty of relaxed, precious time between ceremony and reception to exchange hello’s, thank you’s, and I love you’s.
Of course, we don’t blame anyone for wanting to stick with tradition. After all, it is your wedding, your special day. However, just to make sure you are able to make the most well-thought-out decision possible, lets cover all of your bases and take a look at all of the things that get missed when couples wait to see each other until the ceremony:
1. Getting that first look on camera is extremely important and special. When you pay a photographer a lot of money to capture every precious moment, you want to get your money and memory’s worth. If a relative accidentally gets in the way of your first kiss, the lighting in your venue makes it difficult to see, or if any other incident occurs that may keep the photographer from capturing your special moments, remember, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to recreate them.
2. After the ceremony, when you want to get all the photos with your family, you will find yourself looking all over the place for them, wasting precious reception time. Everyone scatters to find the bar or a long-lost relative after the ceremony. Most likely, nobody is thinking about pictures. It can be very stressful and time consuming to try and find everyone you need for all of the family shots, and, a lot of the time, even when you find them, they might (and usually do) drift off. Why stress about anything on your wedding day? Why waste any valuable time?
3. And what happens when your family takes forever to be found? It gets dark quickly, and the best photos are the ones in natural light. That light disappears quicker than you’d imagine, and when it’s gone, there’s no getting it back until tomorrow. So what will you do when the sun goes down and the lighting is gone? Or when the lighting is orange because of the setting sun and everyone looks like tangerines, all because it took forever to find everyone for photos?
4. In our opinion, the most unfortunate thing that can happen from waiting until the ceremony to do a first look is authenticity. Sure, you may think that everyone and everything around you will melt away as your stare into the eyes of your soulmate at the alter, but what if someone turned up missing before the ceremony? What if the DJ puts on the wrong song? What if Uncle Chris is shouting things that you really wish he wouldn’t shout? Like life, weddings can fall off plan, and it isn’t always a bad thing. If your photographer is a professional, he or she will be trained to capture all of your silly, beautiful candid moments without flaw. But if you are stressed out because something went wrong in your ceremony and you have to try and and pretend like you are happy come family photo time, believe us, fake smiles are the easiest thing to spot. Is that really what you want to remember?
Capturing the moment when your first see each other, your “first look”, is essential for your photo album. It’s the one you will be staring at for the rest of your life, saying, “Wow, that is truly love.” Isn’t that what you had in mind when you decided to hire a photographer? So why not get what you’re paying for and participate in a new kind of a first look.
There is a lot to gain when deciding to participate in a first look, such as:
1. It’s the one time the bride and groom will really get to be alone at their wedding. The entire ceremony and reception requires will be crowded with people. People they love, of course, and want to be around, but trust us, there will be that time that you wish you could spend with just the two of you besides just at the alter.
2. Like we said about authenticity, the most genuine moment of your wedding will absolutely result from doing a first look. This is because of the precious alone time you will have, an uncensored moment of seeing each other for the first time without the nerves of knowing so many people are watching you. Not that we expect that you will be focused on those people during your ceremony, but we know from experience that the first look creates a different, more intimate kind of feeling that we guarantee you will want digitally documented.
3. Of course, first looks require preparation. You will have to make sure that your family/bridal party will be assembled and ready to take family photos before the ceremony (and what better time than right after they just got their hair and make-up done?) You
will also have to make sure that everything is ready to go by the time you participate in your first look because the ceremony should happen right after. However, how rewarding and relaxing would it feel to know that family photos will be taken care of before the ceremony even begins, that everyone will be there on time (exceptions being cases of life not going according to plan, missed flights, traffic jams, but we would hope that everyone you care about would be at the wedding at least 15 minutes before the ceremony anyway), beautiful lighting for your wedding photos, and having so much precious time to mingle with family and friends immediately after the ceremony? Sounds pretty rewarding and relaxing to us! Best of all, your photographer will have all that time to focus on all those great candid shots during the wedding and reception.
Tradition is a beautiful thing. It reminds you of your roots and makes you feel as if you are participating in something older than your great-great grandparents. But have you ever considered what you might be missing when you participate in something you know nothing about? What is more important to you: following tradition or getting the best photos and eliminating as much stress from your special day as possible?
Lets start a new tradition, one based out of love and appreciation! Lets do a first look!
Written by April Welker
Photography by Family Art Photography + Printing