November 2011 Weddings

First Look Advice

Hi Ladies!  I'm a November 2012 bride and I wanted to thank you all for the advice posted in your sticky.  It was all VERY helpful.  In fact, we actually booked a DOC based on your advice.  I will definitely continue to refer back to your sticky as it gets closer to our wedding day!

One thing that we're having a hard time with is the "first look," so I figured I would come here for some more advice.  Some of you commented on it in advice sticky, but I wanted to hear a little bit more about it.

My initial reaction to a "first look" was that it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony.  Absolutely not doing it.  However, we keep hearing so many good things about it, that we're thinking about doing it.

We obviously still have plenty of time to decide, but I was wondering if you ladies could please give me your input.
- Did you do a "first look?"
- What made you decide to do it or not do it?
- Do you regret doing it or not doing it?
- If you did a "first look," did it make that moment when you started walking down the aisle any less special?

Thank you so much!
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Re: First Look Advice

  • edited January 2012
    - Did you do a "first look?"
    Nope, we waited until after the ceremony to have our pictures done.

    - What made you decide to do it or not do it?
    It was DH who didn't want to do it.  I sort of wanted to do it mainly for logistical purposes (get all the pictures out of the way before the actual wedding).  DH wanted to follow tradition, though, so we didn't do it.

    - Do you regret doing it or not doing it?
    I sort of regret not doing it because we missed part of our reception and much of the food because we were stuck taking pictures.  I also specifically asked our photogs to get a picture of DH's reaction to me walking down the aisle, which they did not.  A first look would have captured his reaction.

    On the other hand, I don't regret not doing it because it felt like the whole day was that much more exciting.  Like I had butterflies in my tummy (in a good way) because I couldn't wait to see him.
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  • I didn't do a first look because I always imagined seeing the groom for the first time when the doors of the ceremony space were opened and H felt the same.  No regrets at all. 

    We did do a first touch though.  Which I liked, and it made for some nice pics.
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  • I think it would have calmed my nerves if I did it... so I'm glad I didn't. Even though I don't like crying in public, I just loved the raw emotion of H and I both shedding tears as I walked down the aisle. 

    However, I can understand how it's a time-saver for photos!
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  • - Did you do a "first look?"

    Yes I did.

    - What made you decide to do it or not do it?

    Mostly, practical reasons. We wanted outside pictures and it would have been dark after the ceremony.
    - Do you regret doing it or not doing it?

    Not at all. We got fabulous pictures, and it was such a special moment to have just H and I together before the ceremony, so he could see me and tell me how beautiful I looked and we could kiss and hug and just have that time together.
    - If you did a "first look," did it make that moment when you started walking down the aisle any less special?

    Not at all. It is still a big moment. You are walking down the aisle to get married. Nothing can make that less special. And honestly, I think neither of us would have been able to appreciate each other's attire at that moment with so much else going on.
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  • I, personally, didn't want to do a first look because of tradition. 

    We did exchange our e-pic session for a "week" after session which I highly recommend.  We got our photog for over 3 hours, it was fun to get dressed up again and just be ourselves...not have to worry about being ready by x time because of the ceremony time.  It was just awesome!
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  • - Did you do a "first look?"
    Yes
    - What made you decide to do it or not do it?
    Mostly logistical - we got married at sunset and we wanted to get outdoor pictures of us. It also worked well for us because we are pretty private, and we got to have the emotions of seeing each other with many fewer people.
    - Do you regret doing it or not doing it?
    It was perfect. The pictures of H seeing me for the first time are some of my favorites. 
    - If you did a "first look," did it make that moment when you started walking down the aisle any less special?
    No. It reduced the stress for me overall. We were still really excited to see achotehr and get married. We also got married outdoors, so there was no church door for me to appear through or anything.

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  • - Did you do a "first look?"
    Yes, I didn't have a problem with it. H didn't want to at 1st because of tradition but the photographer promised him he would make it special.
    - What made you decide to do it or not do it?
    Logistically the way our venue was set up and how long pictures took, etc. It made more sense to do a 1st look and take all the pictures before hand. Our photographer was the only one in the room besides H when we had our 1st look. We did do the traditional not seeing eachother from the night before till the 1st look. H had his back turned at the front of the room and as I approached from down the aisle, I tapped him on the shoulder that he could turn around. The picture froms the look are amazing.
    - Do you regret doing it or not doing it?
    Absolutely not. Even H is now happy we did it. Everything went so much more smoothly with our timeline and we got to take all the pictures we wanted without a time crunch.

    - If you did a "first look," did it make that moment when you started walking down the aisle any less special?
    Not at all. There is nothing more special than seeing him at the alter with all our friends and family in their seats, music playing, getting ready for the big moment of actually getting married. I don't think the 1st look took away from it at all. And even H who was hesistant at first agrees.
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  • - Did you do a "first look?"
    Yes (I have pics in my married bio)

    - What made you decide to do it or not do it?
    Our photography timeline.  Our photographer did a sample timeline both ways and if we'd waited to see each other until the ceremony, it would have given us less than 10 minutes to take pictures of just the two of us.  Pictures were one of our highest priorities, and I figured I'd rather have good pictures than doing it the traditional way.

    - Do you regret doing it or not doing it?
    I don't regret it at all.  I was great seeing each other and being able to hug, kiss, talk, show him the back of my dress, etc because we wouldn't have been able to at the altar.  Plus, it made taking pictures a lot less stressful.

    - If you did a "first look," did it make that moment when you started walking down the aisle any less special?
    I don't think so because I still got that 'moment' of him seeing me for the first time, it was just during our first look.  Also, none of our guests had seen me, so it was still a surprise to them.  It was also nice to be able to actually look into H's eyes and be so excited when walking down the aisle instead of trying to take him all in (he looked damn good in his tux)
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  • We didn't. I was for it, but H is very traditional and didn't want to see me beforehand. In the end I'm glad we didn't. I think it would have made me more nervous the day of. Plus I was able to sleep in a bit more and spend somewhat leisurely time with my girls beforehand getting ready. 


  • - Did you do a "first look?" YES
    - What made you decide to do it or not do it? I got married Nov 2011. Our ceremony started at 615. It is dark for almost an hour by then. SO we would not have time for pictures at a park, or what not
    - Do you regret doing it or not doing it? Not at all...
    - If you did a "first look," did it make that moment when you started walking down the aisle any less special? Yes it did. BtUT-we still had that moment. The moment was during the "first look" My theory is...as long as you get it, it doesn't matter when. 
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  • - Did you do a "first look?" Yes

    - What made you decide to do it or not do it? 
    Again because it's November and our ceremony was at 6pm, we wanted to get all our pictures done beforehand. Also I love first look photos that I've seen in blogs and from friends and think it's capturing a special moment. I also didn't want to miss out time from the cocktail hour and seeing my guests.

    - Do you regret doing it or not doing it? 
    I am definitely happy we did! Capturing his face seeing me for the first time is priceless, and I think it's easier to capture on film when you're able to have the photographer right there, vs. walking down the aisle I think it can be difficult to capture that moment. Also we got to spend the whole day together and have fun taking photos with our wedding party together and with our families. We were much more relaxed.

    - If you did a "first look," did it make that moment when you started walking down the aisle any less special? 
     It was still special because it was the REAL moment of walking with my father to meet my future husband to be married. I still cried and I still loved looking into his eyes and coming up to meet him. The moment was still special and amazing and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
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  • We did not.  We didn't want to break tradition.  Which it all ended up working out because when we did talk about doing it, I was signing papers on our house. Haha. Aside from that, I'm glad we didn't because all I saw was him looking at me when I walked down the aisle and it distracted me from my nerves.  I don't regret a thing.
  • - Did you do a "first look?"
    YES

    - What made you decide to do it or not do it?
    We had our cermeony and reception at one location back to back and did not want to mis sour cocktail hour

    - Do you regret doing it or not doing it?
    Not one bit

    - If you did a "first look," did it make that moment when you started walking down the aisle any less special?
    Honestly, no. . . for some reason I was nervous with all the people staring at me down the aisle and I didn't have time to think about looking at H but was more worried about tripping (which I almost did on thre stupid stupid runner). We did a cool entrance where my H stood at the bottom of the stairs, I walked down the stairs and tapped him on the shoulder and he turned around to see me for the first time -  we caught the moment on camera and video and we were able to have a moment in semi-private way. It was actually super special.
  • edited January 2012
    We didn't do a first look, and we both don't regret it.  I don't even think that we considered it.  I wanted traditional.  And I will forever be grateful that we didn't.  His most precious reaction is on our video.  He was miked up for the ceremony, and when I turned that corner and he saw me, you don't see his face, but you hear him exclaim Oh WOW, Nice!  and then once everyone moved to look at me you hear him frantically say I can't see her!  It is such a precious moment for me, and I'm so happy that we have it on video.  

    We had our Ceremony at 6:30 and our Reception at the same location, just different rooms.  For us, we did photos after the ceremony and didn't feel like we had missed out at all on our reception.  It was cocktail hour and we were served where we were doing photos while our guests mingled in the ballroom.  

    I think that it's personal opinion and there are pros to both options, I don't think you can really go wrong here, it just comes down to a matter of preference.  If you're going to do photos before, just keep in mind the time and daylight savings... we were married on the 11th of November and it was dark by 4:30, if we were to have done photos outside, we would have to had finished our photos by 4 I would assume and that would have left 2.5 hours till the ceremony.  
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  • Thank you all so much!  This is such great advice and it's so nice to see all the different views on the subject.  After reading all of your posts last night, FI and I talked about it and I'm pretty sure we're going to do a first look.  

    Thanks again!
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  • We didn't do one because we wanted to stay traditional. Although, I WISH we had done something along the lines of not seeing eachother, but have been able to "meet" before the ceremony. Like he stands on one side of a door slightly ajar, and I could have held his hand. I think it would have helped with our nerves. I learned later that he had to be given a Xanax before the ceremony.



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  • - Did you do a "first look?"
    Yes
    - What made you decide to do it or not do it?
    Like a lot of the ladies here, we were concerned about light. We got married 11.11.11 and the ceremony started at 7pm. Part of the reason we chose the chapel we did was the beautiful neighborhood, so it just made sense to do it first.
    - Do you regret doing it or not doing it?
    Not one bit. For one thing, I absolutely LOVE the pictures we got from it. The look on H's face while he's waiting for me to tap him is awesome.
    Also, I wasn't nervous getting ready or leading up to the wedding. The only time I did get nervous was right before we did the first look. I'm glad that was out of the way before the ceremony started and everyone was staring at me.
    - If you did a "first look," did it make that moment when you started walking down the aisle any less special?
    H and I did a non traditional aisle walk. We walked together. He did meet me at the bottom of the staircase though, so there was every opportunity to surprise him there instead. Since we'd already seen each other, there was no anxiety, but the walk was special, of course, because we were about to get married.


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  • If you do them, just make sure your rings are on. I've seen A LOT of first look pictures and neither of them are wearing their wedding bands, and I wouldn't want all of my wedding pictures with no wedding rings.
  • i did a first look and i wouldn't change a thing. it was one of my favorite parts of the day and I highly recommend it.
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