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

May 8, 2019

This is part two of a mini-series I’ve been working on with my CKP Couples (Get caught up on Part One HERE!) all about what is REALLY like to do a first look.

As a wedding photographer, I love first looks… they are such a sweet moment, yes, but they also allow couples to enjoy their wedding day, well, together! Wedding days fly by, there’s no secret there, and I think it is so sweet when clients are able to spend their days together. First looks really do allow for additional flexibility, but in addition to that, they also do wonders for bringing peace to the bride and groom during some pretty intense moments!

To me, I’ve always thought that one of the most valuable things that a first look provides is an opportunity for a couple to see each other for the very first time with far less pressure. I think, as a society, we’ve come to place so much pressure on grooms for a specific reaction when they see their partner for the first time… will they cry? Fist pump? High five their best man? Smile with pride? So many eyes are on him as he stands up at the altar, waiting for his bride. The pressure to react in a certain way could inhibit his true emotions or personal experience of seeing his partner for the first time on his wedding day.

During a first look, I personally feel like the pressure isn’t so much there. The moment is private… the couple, me, my second photographer, and any videography teams are the only ones there to witness. The couple can react how they would like to react. They can take the time to complement each other’s look… to cry, dance, laugh, embrace… the moment is theirs, and I always iterate this to my couples, again and again: they can take whatever time they need. With all that being said though, is that really how a groom feels about his first look?!

I’ll never be able to answer that question, so I consulted the experts. Last week, we heard from the ladies, and this week, we get to hear from the guys!

A HUGE thank you to all of the CKP Couples that have made this week’s post and last week‘s post possible. (They’re just the best!)

Kait and Dan

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

Dan: “I was on board for the first look, I was just nervous that she was going to prank me!”

After having one, how do you now feel about first looks?
Dan: “I think it’s good to have a moment with your SO in the middle of all the day’s insanity. I don’t think it at all took away from the procession in the ceremony. Some of our best pictures came from those moments together!”
What do you think was the biggest benefit of doing a first look? Were there any drawbacks?
Dan: “It helped calm me down. It can be a little jarring to be waiting up on the altar alone, and having an idea of what’s coming gave me an anchor and let me enjoy the moment more… If you have the time for [a first look] in your schedule, I definitely recommend it.”

Katie and Charlie

How did you feel about your first look before your wedding day?
Charlie: “I was more so inclined to the traditional seeing her for the first time when she is walking down the aisle as opposed to doing the first look.”
After having one, how do you now feel about first looks?
Charlie: “After doing the first look, I was very happy that we chose to do one.”
What would you tell other grooms that are on the fence about doing a first look?
Charlie: “I would tell them that I was initially on the fence as well, but the excitement of the moment and the small escape to have that moment with just you and your bride is worth it in the otherwise crazy day.”

Megan and Ryan

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

Ryan: “I felt like it was the best thing to do for our day – I didn’t necessarily feel strongly one way or the other, but I liked the idea better than walking down the aisle as our “first look” because I thought it would get the pressure of everyone looking for my reaction out of the way.”

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

Ryan: “I think we made the right decision. However, I do think that location is really important – our location was a semi-private area with few bystanders, but depending on where you set up your first look, it could end up being less private than you want.”

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

Ryan: “The biggest benefit for me was taking the anticipation of seeing the bride from a public scenario to a private one. No drawbacks for me, as I personally felt that there was a huge weight off of my shoulders before the actual ceremony, getting to physically talk to her before the ceremony started. We were able to share the entire day more because we were together earlier.”

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

Ryan: “I highly recommend that grooms do it because I know how I felt prior to the first look, and I know how I felt afterward, and I truly couldn’t imagine feeling that pent-up anticipation waiting for her to walk down the aisle. It’s such a weight lifted off your shoulders, and I was able to enjoy the moment more.”

Molly and Kyle

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

Kyle: “Neutral. I wanted to do it.”

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

Kyle: “Your wife will like it, do it.”

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

Kyle: “Having pictures; no drawbacks.”

Lindsey and Zak

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

Zak: “I think there can be unnecessary pressure put on grooms to react a certain way when they see their partner walk down the aisle. When I found out we could see each other before the wedding, talk, and she could see my reaction without all eyes on me, I was all for it.”

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

Zak: “I liked being able to tell Lindsey how beautiful she looked and share some alone time before the day really got started.”

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

Zak: “Talk to your fiancé and figure out what is most important to you. We wanted more time to celebrate with our families and friends without having to worry about a strict timeline–the first look was the only option for us.”

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

From both Lindsey and Zak (This is SO important for all couples to remember!): “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Ask questions if you’re confused. Don’t feel like you need to do something you’re not comfortable with just because its ‘tradition.’ Have fun!”

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