Do or Don’t: First Look

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This weekend we shot Kari & Andrews wedding at Historic Smithonia Farms and it was so beautiful. I hadn’t met Kari or Andrew before but I knew family members of theirs and I had worked with their wedding planner before so I knew it was hands down going to be a great day. A few days before the wedding we were finalizing everything with the timeline and I was talking to Kari about their decision to not do a First Look. She was resolved that they wouldn’t see each other until after the ceremony but asked what my opinion on the matter was and so I wrote her an email and offered my perspective on our couples seeing each other before their wedding ceremony. Kari is SO kind and easy going and after I sent her the email she simply replied, “Lets do the First Look! I talked to Andrew about it and he agrees!”

When I walked into the bridal suite where Kari and all of her bridesmaids were doing final touch ups, she came up to me and hugged my neck and told me that the words in my email painted a beautiful picture for her and Andrew and that they trusted me and were so so excited for us to be there. BEST.WORDS TO HEAR.EVER. I can speak vary candidly and tell you that the reconsideration of having a First Look for these two was the best decision ever. When Kari was with me in front my camera she was happy and so so stunning…but she was also really nervous. Andrew was the same with Elizabeth, my fabulous 2nd. When they saw each other and exchanged tears and a few sweet kisses, they were both at ease and it made for the most gorgeous photographs of them together….these two killed it all day and it was all so worth it!

I don’t know if my opinion of whether or not to do a First Look will help anyone else…but I wanted to post it anyway. Just in case you are feeling insecure with your decision to see your bride/groom-to-be before the ceremony on your wedding day…this may help. Let me also add this in for our couples…we want your hearts to be happy…not just “happy” but over-the-moon, totally blissed out, head-over-heels, happy on the day of your wedding. Sometimes that means holding fast to traditions and a First Look just isn’t in the books for you…and that it totally ok. Rest in knowing that your decisions will be respected and that we will make crazy beautiful images for you no matter what. You all matter to us.  Here is a condensed version of what I wrote to Kari:

“I feel like the number one reservation that our couples have when it comes to doing a First Look is that they want the first time they see each other to be emotional, exciting, and to contain that element of surprise you read about it story books. For our couples who have choosen to do a First Look, we have realized that the time we give them to spend together before we jump right into pictures is really sweet and the end result is that our grooms watch their beautiful brides walk down the aisle to them and still get just as emotional and excited as if it were the first time they were seeing her for the day. Rather than just focusing on the surprise and excitement of a pretty gown and stunning hair and make up, there is a deep breath…a big sigh…and his thoughts go from “Wow, she looks beautiful!” to “Wow…that’s MY wife…she’s mine..and Im hers forever!” Rest in knowing that your groom will be anxiously waiting for you whether its at a location we’ve selected to give you a few moments together alone before the chaos of the day sets in…or at the end of the alter before you commit your life to him forever.”