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First Looks: What to Expect from the Brides | Wedding Planning

May 1, 2019

I feel like I’ve been really into sharing “real advice from real CKP couples” recently, but I just can’t help myself! CKP Couples are my literal experts, and they really do have the greatest advice! They’ve done this whole wedding and marriage thing… while I haven’t! While I can offer as much advice as I can from the perspective of a wedding photographer, I’m not able to offer advice from the point of view of a bride or groom on their wedding day! (Which is where my panel of experts come in!!)

I’ve talked a lot about first looks here on the blog (see here, here & here to name a few!), but never before have I shared from the perspective of a bride and groom! I personally feel that it is SO important to hear, first hand, how a first look can feel and can have an impact on your wedding day! For that reason, am SO excited for today’s blog post because it really does take you into the minds of people that have been in your shoes before! What did they think about first looks while they were wedding planning? Did their opinions shift after their wedding day? What was the biggest DRAWBACK about having a first look? Was their walk down the aisle still special?! We’re diving into it ALL in this two-part mini-series!

There is nothing that makes me happier than knowing that these sweet people are interested in helping other CKP Couples plan their wedding days! This week, we’re hearing from the brides, and next week, you get to hear from the grooms! I just loved having a chance to chat with each couple about what they were really thinking after their wedding days!

Let’s get started…

Kait and Dan

How did you feel about your first look before your wedding day?

Kait: “I was nervous because in a traditional Catholic wedding, the first look is when you walk down the aisle. But I knew I wanted all our pictures before the ceremony, so I was happy to do a first look in order to make it happen.” (These two tied the knot in January, and the sun set very early!)
After having one, how do you now feel about first looks?
Kait: “I LOVE THEM! It’s so amazing to actually have a moment on that day where it’s just the two of you. It’s so special and intimate to see each other for the first time without all of your guests staring at you. Also, Dan had such an amazing reaction and I love that it was captured on film forever…. You’ll be so much less stressed and be able to enjoy your ceremony even more! Plus, you’ll get a lot of time to react to how AMAZING you both look! Also, it’s a more honest reaction when it’s the two of you rather than in front of hundreds of guests.”
What was walking down the aisle like, after your first look?
Kait: “It was still just as amazing as I thought it would be. I was still walked down by my dad and Dan was still waiting at the end of it. Except I felt less nervous because we had already spent some time together that day during our first look and prior to the ceremony. It’s still magical to look down the aisle and see your future husband, even if you’ve already seen each other. For us, I think it made it more special.”

Katie and Charlie

How did you feel about your first look before your wedding day?
Katie: “I initially didn’t want to do a first look. I wanted to experience that special moment walking down the aisle. I then realized that walking in front of 200 people staring at me sounded very intimidating and I wanted to be able to have a more intimate moment with my groom.”
After having one, how do you now feel about first looks?
Katie: “LOVE! I am so happy we did a first look. It was one of the best parts of my day. I was euphoric all morning getting ready with my girls, but couldn’t wait to share that amazing feeling with Charlie.”
What do you think was the biggest benefit of doing a first look? Were there any drawbacks?
Katie: “I didn’t realize how anxious I would be about the actual ceremony and having already had some private time with Charlie definitely eased my emotions.”
What was walking down the aisle like, after your first look?
Katie: “Walking down the aisle, it was like we already had this perfect, untold story of that day that only we were a part of. It’s hard to explain this feeling, but it added to the beauty of the day.”

Megan and Ryan

How did you feel about your first look before your wedding day?

Megan: “To be honest, I wasn’t sure – I knew it was what was best for our schedule, and I knew I loved looking at other people’s first look photos! But, I am a staunch traditionalist raised by staunch traditionalists, and it was months before my parents came around to the advantages of scheduling it this way. I was nervous that it wouldn’t feel as special as the “big reveal” moment in all the movies, as the woman steps to the back of the aisle and everyone is emotional.”

After having one, how do you now feel about first looks?

Megan: “Now, I feel that first looks are important to a lot of people. I realized the power of having an intimate moment together before the wedding, and it really did calm my nerves (and I had so many!). I still don’t think it’s for everyone, necessarily, but I really appreciate the way it gives an opportunity for a quiet moment together and some fun pictures. Not to mention getting to the party faster after the ceremony – that’s a major bonus!”

What was walking down the aisle like, after your first look?

Megan: “Honestly, it was different! I still felt special but I took more time to celebrate and appreciate the loved ones who gathered to share this day with us, and less about looking at Ryan. I have dreamed about my dad walking me down the aisle for my whole life (big Father of the Bride fan over here) and I just tried to focus on that. Ryan and I already had our moment.”

What would you tell other brides that are on the fence about doing a first look?

Megan: “You have to do what’s right for YOU. No one else! Even though it’s trendy and convenient to do a first look, if it makes you uncomfortable or you want to do the more traditional option, that’s okay too! It does change how you feel when you walk down the aisle (I assume since I only did it once) and so you have to want it. Overall, I recommend it – I loved having a private moment together, and it calmed my nerves and reminded me how much I wanted to be there. But you have to feel comfortable with the change to tradition, and know that you want alone time with your soon-to-be spouse.”

Carolina and Brandon

How did you feel about your first look before your wedding day?

Carolina: “I was already looking forward to doing a first look! Many of our already-married friends had recommended doing one, and I knew that seeing my groom would be an instant nerve-calmer for me.”

What do you think was the biggest benefit of doing a first look? Were there any drawbacks?

Carolina: “The biggest benefit was having private time together, just the two of us and our wonderful photographers, before the guests started arriving. It also allowed us to get pictures as a couple and with our bridal party out of the way before our ceremony and gave us time to eat and relax during our cocktail hour. Had we waited until after the ceremony to take most of our photos, the logistics and timing would have been rushed and hurried. I think this would have left us feeling much more stressed.

The only drawback was that we had to be ready a bit earlier so we could do our first look. This meant that I had to start hair/makeup earlier, but that was no problem!”

What was walking down the aisle like, after your first look?

Carolina: “It was still extremely emotional, but at the same time, I felt like I was able to look around and focus on all of the people that were gathered there (not just my groom). I know it allowed me to be more present and definitely less overwhelmed.”

What would you tell other brides that are on the fence about doing a first look?

Carolina: “Think of how wonderful it is to see your partner on a crazy, hectic day, and think of how great it would be to have that same feeling on your wedding day!”

Anything else you would like to add or would like other couples to know?

Carolina: “Even if you’re on the fence about doing one, make sure you ask about first look options when touring potential venues!”

Molly and Kyle

How did you feel about your first look before your wedding day?

Molly: “I really liked the idea of it but I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out with our timeline. After it happened, I realized how it was a special moment that Kyle and I were able to have before the craziness of the rest of the wedding day and I highly recommend it to other brides. It was a very nice, PRIVATE moment, and I am SO glad that I decided to do one.”

What do you think was the biggest benefit of doing a first look? Were there any drawbacks?

“Having a private moment between the two of us was so important. The rest of the day we spent greeting guests and entertaining, so having one moment with just the two of us was great. The only drawback was that my mom is SUPER traditional and didn’t like the idea of a first look, but she got over it quickly.”

What was walking down the aisle like, after your first look?

Molly: “Since my wedding is not the traditional “walk down the aisle” and I walk down with my husband, I think the first look actually made it more special (i.e. we had more of a moment with it).” (Molly & Kyle had an amazing Russian Orthodox wedding ceremony! In these traditional ceremonies, the bride and groom actually meet in the back of the church before processing as a couple down the aisle!)
Anything else you would like to add or would like other brides to know?
Molly: “As a bride, I really liked having my veil off for the first look and then on for the ceremony and married portraits; it made the looks slightly different and exciting.”

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