First Look Photos

sharing my experience
3 • 21 • 2012  |  Tips & Inspiration
I know this is a topic that many instantly say, "no, we want to only see each other for the first time as I walk down the aisle." I know that is the tradition, and I know it feels like it should be the only way to go, but sometimes, there are issues that a couple needs to work around, and there have to be some decisions made. So, the question is, what is your feeling on seeing each other before the wedding ceremony, and what would be the issues that might change your mind on it? 
 
For some, there are the following challenges that come up that make it necessary to see each other prior: 
 
1) There is a traditional tea ceremony or Jewish signing of the ketubah prior to the ceremony, which makes it difficult not to see each other. 
2) There are some weddings that take place in the dead of winter, and the ceremony may start in the evening when it is already dark, and you want some photos outdoors. 
3) Your photographer has too short of a time window for wedding party/family/couple portraits, and you really want to make sure you get those all in. 
4) You tend to be calmed by your husband or wife to be, and seeing them will calm your nerves prior to the ceremony. 
5) You want to take pictures in a location that is not close by your ceremony or reception location. 
6) You want to spend cocktail hour with everyone and not taking photos. 
 
I will say about 60% of our couples have gone for seeing each other before the ceremony, because one or more of the reasons listed above. For me personally, it was 2, 3, 4 & 6. There are many things that I have taken away from my wedding day, and one of them was how excited I was to meet my husband to be in the Buena Vista Cafe, have a glass of champagne and to calm my tinge of anxiety. The photos and the moments we had alone together are some of my favorites, and I would not have had that moment if we chose to wait until after the ceremony to see each other. I still cried all the way down the aisle when I saw him standing there waiting for me, so it definitely didn't take away from any of the emotion! It is something I will never forget, and feel as if I would have regretted it if we hadn't done it the way we did. 
 
I'm going to share some photos from our wedding and why we did what we did. I always thought that meeting up in a festive cafe like the Buena Vista would be a great setting, and it absolutely was. It was packed with so many people that late Friday afternoon, but we felt as if we were the only ones there. (all photos by Kate Harrison)
It was raining that day, but we still wanted to get all the photos we really wanted, especially in the empty cable car turnaround across the street from the cafe.
Even with the rain, we still thought Aquatic Park was a perfect setting for our wedding party photos, so even though we are all soaking wet, the photos still came out great! (my dress was pretty muddy, but it doesn't show in the photos)
When we finished with photos in the park, we all were transported to Bimbo's, our wedding venue, and we took our family photos in front of the stage while the wedding party all dried off and touched up before the ceremony started. *KEY TIP* Pay the extra money to have your hair and makeup artist stay until right before or right after the ceremony, this was key, especially after being out in the rain. 
 
Immediately after the ceremony we took about 10 minutes of photos outside, as we really wanted a photo under the marquee, and then joined our friends and family back inside for our wonderful cocktail hour. It was so much fun to spend the extra time with everyone. Whether you have 100 guests, or 285 as we did, you really try to make an effort to say hi to each and every person that is there. It is very hard, but with the extra time, I got to spend time with a lot more guests that I would have if we skipped it.
In the end, it should be what feels right to you and your husband or wife to be. Don't force something you know you won't feel comfortable with, but if it isn't a huge issue, weigh out all the options with your planner and/or photographer. I'd love to hear all of your opinions about the subject, and share what you did or are planning to do on your wedding day. 
 
Cheers,

  Kathryn

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