To peek, or not to peek...
While weddings remain traditional in many senses of the word, they are constantly evolving and new traditions emerge almost every year at this point. Did you know the bouquets carried by ancient Greeks were mostly fragrant herbs said to ward off evil spirits? It wasn't until Victorian times that flowers were introduced by Queen Victoria herself. Or how about tossing rice at the couple for prosperity and fertility? Over the years it's been everything from confetti, to bubbles, to the now popular sparkler exits. The idea of not seeing each other before the wedding day actually traces back to arranged marriages, when families wouldn't allow the partners to see each other for fear of not finding the other attractive enough! A lot of wedding traditions can be super fun, but they can also be hideously outdated.
Now I firmly believe a wedding is your day your way, so this post simply serves to offer a short and sweet comparison about what makes a first look special, and what makes saving it for the aisle special <3
Pros for a first look
- You get a quiet moment to yourselves before all the excitement of the ceremony kicks off
- You can choose a location with even more significance to the two of you (if you're not already having your ceremony at such a spot)
- You can do portraits together while your hair and makeup is *perfect* instead of sweating it away waiting for the ceremony to begin
- You can enjoy your cocktail hour and mingling with guests if your pictures are already out of the way!
Pros for an aisle look
- You get a more dramatic glimpse of each other from all the way down the aisle with all your guests looking on
- The anticipation of seeing each other in that moment can make the experience feel more romantic, or I like to say cinematic because its "just like the movies"
- You don't need to schedule extra time ahead of the wedding ceremony for a first look
My personal thoughts
For my own wedding, we opted to see each other at the altar first. This was 10 years ago and I don't remember "first looks" really even being a thing then. Maybe they were but they certainly hadn't caught on yet like they have in recent years. We did see each other that morning so we weren't strictly "traditional" that way either. It's definitely something I would consider now as I love the idea of an intimate moment together before you head into the official ceremony. Speaking as a photographer, I love the story telling aspect. When you look back at your album years later and it starts with just the two of you before all the guests and ceremony begin, swoon. As I've said before, my heart belongs to elopements, so to me a first look gives you that feeling of an elopement even if you've planned a full sized wedding. But like I've also said, this is entirely your choice! I can easily romanticize a first look, but if you've always dreamed of saving your first eyes on your partner walking down that ceremony aisle, then you absolutely stick to that. It's still such a beautiful moment filled with so much emotion heightened by the reactions of all your guests seeing you both together as well. Talk to your partner and see how you both feel about it, and then move forward together. That's what marriage is all about after all <3