Wednesday, March 19, 2014

DIY Wedding #9: Why We Chose a "First Look."

I'm sitting here in our sunny, yellow office watching even more snow fall from the sky, mentally preparing myself to start reading my Humanities textbook. Then I remembered! I promised you an extra post to explain my decision behind having a First Look at our wedding. Huzzah! A reason to put off homework a little longer...

Yesterday I wrote about my perspective as a bride on the topic of Photography & Videography. You can read all about that here--it covers everything from "why it's an investment" to "things to know when hiring."

I didn't want to add in the topic of a First Look because it seems to be it's own controversial topic, and it deserves a bit more space than a sub-paragraph. Plus, who wants to read an overly long blog post? *cough...not that I ever write anything overly long...cough*

Rather than ramble on, I'm going to consolidate my thoughts into 9 bullet points. Before I do that though, I do want to say I'm not on any particular side of this debate--but I DO know that this worked very well for us and I highly recommend it as a result.

Here's why...
  1. It won't ruin the glorious "aisle moment." Before I converted to the "First Look mentality" I was an avid believer in "no looking until everyone else is." I wasn't against the newly-popular trend of "first looking." But I didn't want to ruin that anticipated moment of walking down the aisle and seeing Andrew's face when he saw me for the first time. I imagined an intensely emotional and meaningful moment. But Andrew wanted the first look for the sake of the guests and our own sanity, so I eventually agreed to it. I realized on that day that I didn't miss out on an "aisle moment" rather I gained TWO, unique moments! The First Look was special, just for the two of us to take in the moment and admire each other. But when you walk down the aisle--it's different, because it's all actually happening. It brings about a whole other set of emotions. Not to mention that pictures are even better during a First Look because everyone can be positioned just right to capture your faces when you see each other. If you're still not convinced, read on!
  2. Lose the nerves. There is a certain anticipation and pressure in waiting to see your man on your big day. I felt that same "I just wanna see my man" feeling while getting ready in the morning. I can't imagine having to wait until 6pm that evening to see him--I would have been a mess! Well, probably not. But I'm glad that I got to see him, talk with him, spend the day with him--it helped me to loosen up and enjoy the day. 
  3. Have a special moment, just the two of you. We'll talk more about timing and scheduling later on down the road--but short blurb about giving yourself plenty of time on your wedding day! Extra time allows for you to have special moments with your man and the people that you care about. Schedule a first look as well as 30 minutes after to spend with just the two of you. How great would that be? Too often we cram too much in in attempt to make more happen, but it just get's stressful. Allow extra time to be with the people that you love, forget about the planning--the day is already here. Plus, it would be a great time to exchange wedding gifts! I'll share more about mine later on.
  4. Enjoy the day together. Once you've seen each other, there's no reason to split until you're ready to walk down the aisle. Morning weddings probably change up the timing a bit, but you get the idea. This would be your chance to experience the wedding day together. Who better to spend it with, than your best friend.
  5. Start partying sooner. I LOVE this part about pictures before the ceremony. Almost every wedding that I have been to--I have had to sit for at least 1 1/2 hours waiting to eat, waiting to party, and getting frustrated. It's different if you plan on a few hours in between ceremony & reception so people can change or make the commute in between. But in my experience, that's never been the case. It might be your wedding day--but this is one of those areas that you shouldn't take advantage of your guest's generosity, consider the experience in their shoes, and even perhaps compromise.
  6. Better photos. My second favorite part about having a First Look is that we had tons of time to take great pictures. Again, a timing discussion for later. But plan on extra time for pictures so that you and your photographers won't be rushed through the process. You can get more bang for buck this way. For us, the wedding started at 6pm, we had a light dinner with our wedding party/family around 5:15pm, so we scheduled our First Look at 3pm. We were able to get tons of Bride/Groom, Wedding Party, & family shots--my whole checklist done AND some extra requests with a little time to spare before dinner. That way we didn't need any pictures in between our ceremony & reception--and they turned out great because we weren't rushing and trying to look pretty at the same time.
  7. Your photographers will love you. Did I mention that your photographers will love you? I've never been a pro wedding photographer, but I have friends that are--and they all love hearing the words, "we're doing a First Look." Why? Because that means they have more time to work with to snap the photos that you want. Fair or not, if you don't schedule enough time and your photographer can't get every shot that you had in mind--who will be the one under pressure or blame? Artists need time to work, space to breathe--indulge them, you'll be a happier client as a result. And your photographer won't go grey as soon.
  8. Less stress. I remember being completely at peace on our wedding day, from the moment that I woke up and saw a light drizzle (for our outdoor wedding), to the moment that I was all giddy seeing Andrew for the first time, to when I was holding my Dad's arm to go down the aisle. It helps that I knew that I was marrying the right man. But it also helped knowing that I would see Andrew soon and spend the day with him. I wasn't even thinking of having "stage fright" while everyone and my brother's uncle was watching me say my vows.
  9. Scratch tradition. Tradition isn't always bad. But in this case, let's face it--there's no such thing as "bad luck." So don't let Grandma chide you into following tradition, when this is a moment made for the two of you on YOUR wedding day. Yes, there are some areas of compromise when it comes to the wedding because that's life and weddings involve family & your man. But take it from me, this isn't one of 'em--here you can have free reign.  

In the end, it's all up to you. Each wedding is unique in the way of timing & situations. There is no right or wrong--unless one of your guests dies from starvation or heat stroke. So plan on what works best for your day. Either way, I hope that my experience will help you decide as you consider your options.

Remember, next week's post is on Registry tips! Oh, the joys of shopping and planning your home! I plan on sharing all the new fads and trends that will help you make the most of your registry experience.

Looking forward to seeing you then!

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