To do the first look before the ceremony, or at the ceremony… that is the question! Most couples don’t know what to do because, well, they haven’t done it before!
I love engaging my couples in a conversation about when to have the first look. It’s super relevant to the ceremony. Always I tell the story of what happened to me. Personal stories are the best, aren’t they? I was strangely insistent that Dan not see me until I began my walk down the aisle. Not sure why exactly. It seemed like the thing to do. But larger forces were at work.
The highway to our wedding venue was closed for several hours due to an accident (no, not one of our guests) and all our peeps but for the wedding party/parents etc were going to be very delayed. With the window for photos before dinner rapidly evaporating, I had to make a decision.
Do all the photos we’d planned for after the ceremony now, while we and the photographer were twiddling our thumbs… or wait and risk having very few taken after the ceremony.The whole thing hinged on the first look. Well, of course, I ixnayed doing it at the ceremony. And you know what? IT WAS AWESOME!!!
Our photographer and planner directed Dan to wait for me under a beautiful old growth tree. From some distance, I walked out to my beloved. Both of us still choke up about those moments. In many ways, I feel that THAT is when we actually became Husband and Wife. Our wonderful planner made sure we were utterly alone, and honestly we didn’t notice our photographer at all. Either he wore an invisibility cloak or had a very long lens.
Our first look at each other in our wedding finery was a private one, just us. We could look at each other as long as we wanted without people watching us, or having to rush. It was one of THE best moments of my life. Unlike any other. And like I said, we didn’t have to share it. It is our memory to keep.
I know it’s a long held tradition for the couple not to see each other until the wedding ceremony. But personally, I think beforehand is incredibly powerful.
Celebrant Michele Davidson, Principal of Modern Celebrant