Monday, November 1, 2010

First Looks

I used to be really against the first look.  But as I look back on the day, I really wish we had done it.  Because here is the thing - as I made my way down the aisle, flanked by my parents, looking around at all of the people in the world who loved us enough to come out to a woodsy wedding on a Sunday afternoon, I wished that I wasn't on display like that in front of everyone all at once.  I also felt overwhelmed by how many people were there, smiling at me, as I walked down with my parents.  I loved all of these people so much, but I didn't really like having Mark be another face in that crowd of people who hadn't seen me yet.  And I think that if we had seen each other, I would have been a little calmer and a little less overwhelmed.
The first look would also have forced us to push up the timeline, discover problems like forgetting my makeup at the hotel and issues with bridesmaids dresses and bouquets earlier.  We wouldn't have been running quite so late and I think it would have calmed us down.  We also probably would have had time to do actual bridal portraits, which we didn't do.
These are as close as we got to bridal portraits.
I really wish we had thought to do a few more.

Also, our cocktail hour was supposedly delicious, and we missed the entire thing.  Our family pictures were also rushed, and it would have been really good to get those out of the way beforehand, because it would have reduced stress during the cocktail hour and Mark's dad hunting down other members of his family.

Another thing that I will say is this, which I wasn't expecting because I'm not a really private person (see how I plastered my face all over the internet?)  When you are getting married and the most important person to you is not going to be the first person to see you all dressed up, you don't really want them to be the last person that sees you.  I was surprised that I wanted the moment where Mark saw me to be more private, more special than it was.  Not that it wasn't special, but I think a first look could have really worked out for us, and not doing one is probably going to remain my biggest regret.

Also, if we had done a first look, I think it would have gone a bit like this.

What are your feelings on first looks? If you're married, did they change after the wedding?


  1. We're seeing each other before the wedding, because I'll be too nervous not to and we'd like to have a lot of time for pictures. But I'm not sure we'll do a "first look" the way it is normally done. Less staged, more hey there you are, damn don't you look hot.

    You guys could always do a after shoot to get those bridal portraits you want. Weren't you already thinking about doing a TTD?

  2. I discovered your blog on accident two weeks before our wedding. You and I married our husbands on the same day and although I don't know you, I feel your emotions in this post. I feel the same way about some things that happened on our wedding day. I'm still fighting with the regrets and reconciling that with the joy, too.

    Big Spoon and I decided to see each other before the wedding because a) we didn't want people waiting on us to do after-ceremony pictures b) we live together. there really is no mystery when you share a bathroom the morning of your wedding and c) he's the only person who can calm me down and as it turns out, I really needed that.

    Everything was a whirlwind anyway and I can't imagine having NOT seen him before our wedding. With that knowledge, I am sending you a big, virtual hug.

    Real weddings seldom look like the productions we see on all these popular blogs. They're expensive, obsessive-compulsively planned out and there was probably more time spent thinking "how is this going to look online" than "I'm so in love with you and happy you people are here!" ... I know that doesn't change how you feel because it doesn't change how I feel either (and I haven't seen my pictures yet!) ... but I hope one bride to another, just knowing someone else out there understands your feelings helps you in a small way.


    Little Spoon

  3. Oh, by the way, I think you looked beautiful :)

  4. We did a first look of sorts, and I'm very glad we did for a ton of reasons, not least to reduce the overwhelmed-ness that you refer to. Also, although we did photos before the ceremony with wedding party and our closest family, we did still do some extended family pictures after the ceremony that took about half the cocktail hour. I'm glad we have those pictures as I think they are some of the only pictures people will look at in 20, 50 or more years down the line, and we couldn't have done them before the ceremony because there was no way we could have gotten all those aunts and uncles and cousins to agree to come a couple of hours early for them. But I'm also sad I missed most of my cocktail hour (really all, because I spent the rest talking to my great aunt and uncle, but that was a worthy sacrifice).

  5. "When you are getting married and the most important person to you is not going to be the first person to see you all dressed up, you don't really want them to be the last person that sees you."

    What a great point. I don't think I ever thought of it that way.

    Well, my husband and I stayed in the same b&b (separate rooms b/c of conservative parents and me wanting to stay with my girlfriends) the night before our wedding, ate breakfast together with our friends in the morning, got ready together, and then did all of our posed pictures (the ones of the two of us and our family posed shots) before the wedding. We also chose to greet people as they arrived before the ceremony, which surprised a lot of people! It was a great way to keep on timeline on time and kept us relaxed and excited about the ceremony. So while we didn't do an official "first look," I really loved what we chose to do. The hour of pictures with the two of us before the ceremony was really special and so grounding, and gave us time to reflect on what we were doing that day.

  6. I had wanted to do a first look, but my wedding morning was so stressful that no one thought about it. My hubs was supposed to get ready at a friend's place, and totally got ready at ours with me and the girls. I guess it doesn't matter that much, but I think I would have liked more of a reveal so I could see his reaction.