Hello Beautiful Brides,
A popular modern trend for weddings today is doing a "first look" between the bride and the groom. Many of our brides are indecisive about whether to do a first look or a cocktail hour to allow them to take pictures after the wedding without taking away the moment of their significant other seeing them walk down the aisle for the first time. There are lots of options we have seen our gorgeous brides do, so based on our bridal expertise, here are some options;
1) First look with family members:
- Some of our brides have saved the first time their fiance sees them for the walk down the aisle, and chosen to have the first look experience with the others in their lives they love most! Whether that be dad, mom, siblings, or best friend. This is especially a great option when those family members were not there to help pick out the gown or do not know what your full bridal style looks like. It can be a very special and emotional time to bond with family and friends that have been so integral in your life before the special moment between you and your fiance.
2) Cocktail Hour:
- For those who definitely want to make sure the first time their fiance sees them is during their walk down the aisle, a cocktail hour is a popular option. The cocktail hour immediately follows the ceremony and takes place before the reception. During the cocktail hour guests can have a drink and hors d'oeuvres while the newly wed couple go and take wedding pictures. This does leave a tight timeframe to get pictures done and can make the wedding experience a bit stressful There are ways to make it a little easier!
- Take your bridal portraits early: Wedding pictures include the whole wedding party including the bridesmaids, groomsmen, mothers, fathers, etc. and then single shots of the bride and groom. If you want individual pictures in your gown and bridal style, set up a photoshoot either before the wedding or the day of, before the festivities with everyone else starts. Some brides do it months before and its an excuse to wear your dress twice! Many brides do a hair and makeup trial anyways, so have your photographer (or even a friend with a great camera if on a budget!) take your individual shots then to save time on the real day! Another reason to get dress shopping and alterations done early!
- Have a wedding planner and rehearsal: The best way to alleviate stress from a timeline is to have a plan. Wedding planners are worth it for this reason, they have a set time and place for every part of the wedding, including the photos you will keep forever. Have a rehearsal dinner before to make sure the ceremony goes as planned and on time
- Plan your poses ahead of time: Know how you are going to position your party, who is next to who, and what shots you want to do with your photographer and fiance. You can discuss this ahead of time with your photgrapher and wedding party so everyone knows the plan and pictures do not drag on!
- Take pictures from either side of a door/wall like our bride Hannah seen here! It builds excitement without giving away the moment.
Bride: Hannah Jordan. Did her own hair and makeup
Photographer: Kaitlyn Fellows Photography
Venue: The Day Chapel, State Botanical Gardens in Athens GA
3) Doing a first look; Pros and Cons:
- Many people do no get the photos they want during the walk down the aisle even if they do get the moment with their fiance. It depends on how important photos are to you! Many brides are much more satisfied with the pictures they get during a first look. The location, lighting, etc. is completely planned and there is not a photographer directly in your face during the ceremony or capturing pictures from far away (only two options during a ceremony as it is short and they cannot re-start it for photos) the moment to capture the shots are fleeting. Wedding photographers are trained to capture these shots, but it does disrupt your ceremony in a way and a first look is a way to avoid that.
- It is more private, instead of hundreds of eyes being on you the first time you see each other, it is just between you and your fiance.
- You can go straight to the reception and party! No pausing to take photos, just pure celebration as you go to celebrate being a married couple.
- It can create pressure. It depends on the comfort level of the bride or groom, but a posed shoot for a first look before the wedding can create pressure for the people involved and make them feel they have to have a certain level of emotion/reaction. The expected reaction may not happen in that setting as easily or feel forced
- You'll need to start your wedding day makeup and hair much earlier than usual. Not necessarily a bad thing, with the excitement of the day many like to get ready early anyways, but you will have to maintain your makeup and wedding hair style for longer If it does get emotional, your makeup may need to be reapplied before the ceremony, so keep that in mind as well!
Bride: Ashley Darnell
Photographer: Jennifer Oetting Photography
Venue: Foxhall Resort
Makeup/hair: Vigilante Cosmetics
Florist/decor: Wrennwood Design