Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wedding Wednesdays : The First Look

Since I recently got hitched, and have all the photos from the big day, I thought it would be fun to start a weekly series sharing my favorite images and memories, and maybe a few tips and resources along the way. This is the third installment. If you're planning a wedding, make sure to check out "The Credits" at the end. Enjoy!

My husband and I decided to do a first look on our wedding day, but it took a bit of convincing on his part before coming to an enthusiastic decision. Initially, when I said I wanted to do a first look, GT agreed because he is the kind of guy that would give his fiance whatever she wanted on her wedding day. But, being the kind of girl I am, I wanted to make sure he was truly happy and comfortable with the decision.

After talking about it, I found that he, being a typical dude and not up with wedding trends, was more familiar with the traditional idea of seeing his bride for the first time as she walked down the aisle. And the more we talked about it, he wasn't so sure he wanted to give that moment up. GT wasn't sure if seeing each other before the ceremony, during a private "first look," would steal the joy from the ceremony. That seeing me walk down the aisle wouldn't be as emotional, as exhilarating, if he had already seen me, in my dress.

I admitted to him that I was a little worried about that as well but that I was more inclined to believe that the ceremony entrance would still be just as exciting, for him and for me, even if we did a first look. The only thing that might be lessened would be our nerves. Plus, it would give us more time for photos and we'd spend less time after the ceremony away from our guests because we would have gotten most of the bride-and-groom portraits out of the way.

Perhaps most importantly, I liked the idea of seeing each other for the first time in a private setting where we could talk, take a breath, and just be for a few minutes, before getting swept up in the flurry that is the wedding. I could hug him, kiss him, tell him how handsome he looked and he could tell me what he thought of my dress. We could laugh about how nervous we were, but then in that laughter we would exhale all that anxiety and let only happiness take its place. Seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony, you're in a formal setting and you simply can't express all those emotions, at least not immediately and definitely not privately.

Once I explained the benefits of a first look to GT, he moved from "OK, I'll do it for you" to "That sounds like a good idea." And after the fact, we both have no regrets.

Our first look was a special moment. Following a stressful morning, for both of us, it felt like crossing a finish line. The wedding planning was over; we were finally getting married.

It was a bit humorous, our first look, or at least getting there. Walking up a long flight of wood-plank stairs, my dress, built on a fine tulle netting, kept getting caught on jagged edges and nailsas well as the straps of my shoes, of all things! (Scotch tape came to the rescue later.) No damage was done but it did provide some comic relief. Walking up those stairs, knowing GT was waiting for me at the top, my eyes started to well with tears untilsnag! I had to stop and unhook myself. This happened a couple times before I just picked up my entire skirt and train and finished my ascent, aesthetics be damned.

GT, who is generally a gregarious guy, surprised me with a quiet reaction after I tapped his shoulder and he turned around. He didn't say anything at first; he simply smiled but when I looked in his eyes I could tell he was struggling to hold back the tears. It was a sweet moment. We hugged and kissed. I told him how handsome he looked in his uniform and he said I looked beautiful. My dress was nothing he ever expected (success!), he told me, but he loved it. We confided how nervous we felt, laughed and then, just as I had hoped, we let that anxiety go. We were able to just enjoy each other and the day that was about to unfold.

All that being said, the photos tell the story best...

How do you feel about first looks? Did you do one? Would you?


BRIDE'S STYLE: Theia Wedding Dress and Untamed Petals Aimee Sash, both from Lovely Bride Los Angeles | Alfani Women's Kyrah Wedge Sandals in Dusty Rose (looks like they are no longer available) | Necklace and bracelets made by bride | Gemstone Dangle Earrings by Delezhen

FLORALS: Modern Bouquet
MAKEUP (Cheriene) and HAIR (Nicolette): Beauti on the Go
VENUE: (near) Martin Johnson House
PHOTOGRAPHY: heidi-o-photo


  1. We did a first look too and I definitely think that's the way to go. This way we were able to get the majority of photos done before the ceremony and afterwards just had to take the ones with extended family. Plus technically in Judaism the groom sees the bride before the ceremony to put on her veil to make sure he's marrying the right person, so we didn't even break tradition, or at least my tradition, by doing so!

    1. I didn't know that about Jewish weddings! How interesting! Thanks for sharing :)


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