The Ultimate Guide to First Look Wedding Tradition 

*Photo by Carly Rae Hobbins on Unsplash

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The first look wedding tradition is a relatively modern and increasingly popular practice.

It involves the bride and groom seeing each other in their wedding attire before the actual ceremony takes place. First look tradition is believed to have its roots in a desire for more intimate and authentic wedding experiences. It is, indeed, a response to old traditions where the groom was not supposed to see the bride before the ceremony. A first look usually takes place one or two hours before the guests arrive and might last half an hour. It includes only the bride and groom, and sometimes family members could join later.

Top Reasons to Have a First Look

First look - Minstrel Court
*Photo by James Owen on Unsplash

An Intimate Moment Together

The first look provides the bride and groom with a precious private moment to connect with each other on their wedding day. In the first look moment, only the bride and groom will be present, and no family member will be there.

One mistake some couples make is choosing a busy place for the first look. Instead, it is better to find a secure location where you can truly enjoy each other’s company. In fact, the only other people present there would be the photographer, or possibly the wedding planner.

Capturing Genuine Reactions

From a photography and videography perspective, the first look wedding tradition is perfect for capturing genuine and unfiltered emotions. First Look moments are incredibly authentic and make for some of the most cherished wedding photos and videos.

Talk to your photographer about your vision so that you are on the same page. Go through the timing, lighting, and positioning together to make sure they can get the ideal photos. For first look moments, candid shots are the key, and you need to be as unaware of the camera as possible. Go through this with your photographer too, and make them capture photos from a distance with a long lens. 

Calming Your Nerves

The first look offers a chance for the couple to soothe their nerves. Seeing each other before the ceremony allows them to share their excitement, reassure each other, and offer emotional support.

It is vital to avoid things that add to your anxiety. For instance, the photography crew should be at a distance. Also, your family and friends should leave this private moment to you and not get involved. 

Time Efficiency

The first look can help streamline the schedule by allowing the couple to take many of their pre-ceremony photos and portraits in advance. This means they can join their guests more quickly after the ceremony.

The first look opens up a lot of time for the photographer and eases the pressure. Moreover, you won’t need the gap that comes between ceremony and reception. You and your guests, as a result, can jump right into the cocktail hour.

Some First Look Downsides

first look tradition - Minstrel Court
*Photo by Andres Molina on Unsplash

You Have to Get Up Earlier

Adding a first look session to the schedule means that the bride and groom may need to wake up earlier than they would if they were following a more traditional timeline. They need to schedule their time so they don’t feel rushed and stressed out. It is also good to leave some wiggle room for possible extra activities like hair and makeup.

For some couples, this can be a drawback, as it can lead to a longer and potentially more tiring day. With enough planning, however, there is little to worry about.

Some Say It’s Bad Luck

Some people believe that seeing the bride or groom before the ceremony brings bad luck. This superstition has its roots in older customs that believed the couple should not see each other to avoid any last-minute doubts or changes of heart. This was more common in arranged marriages, where this possible change of heart would bring shame to the bride’s family.

Concerns for More Traditional Couples

There can be pressure from family members or cultural expectations to adhere to a more traditional wedding timeline. Some may also be concerned that the first look will eliminate the surprise factor when they meet down the aisle. In such cases, couples may choose to stick to the traditional practice to honour their heritage and maintain family harmony. Some also opt for a father-daughter first look instead. 

First Look Photoshoot Ideas

back to back holding hands - Minstrel Court
*Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Guess Who

The groom stands with his back turned towards the bride. The bride approaches him and gently taps or places her hand on his shoulder, and the groom has to guess who she is without turning around. This photoshoot idea is both fun and powerful, as it creates a genuine reaction.

Blindfold Surprise

As the groom stands in anticipation, the bride removes the blindfold, revealing herself to him. The groom’s reaction when he finally sees his bride can be incredibly emotional and candid. An alternative is when both of you are blindfolded, holding each other’s hands, or even sharing a kiss.

Veil Reveal

If the bride is wearing a veil, it may not be necessary for the groom to have his back to her. The bride can move towards the groom, who is looking on. She can then lift the veil, revealing her face and creating a dramatic and visually stunning moment.

Tears of Joy

Close-up shots of the bride and groom’s teary eyes, smiles, and emotional expressions can beautifully convey the depth of their love and excitement. This kind of photo is a bit tricky for the photographer, as they have to capture a candid private moment while making it look as natural as possible.

Groomsmen Prank

As the groom is waiting for the bride to enter and share a first look, groomsmen can try to pull a prank on him. They can dress like brides, and when the groom turns around, he sees the groomsman in an uncanny wedding dress. The laughter and joy that ensue make for perfect photo opportunities.

Staircase Moment

One of the most beautiful photoshoot ideas is on a staircase.  The bride can descend the staircase, and the groom can await her at the bottom. It is a great opportunity, especially if the photoshoot is taking place in a beautiful historical venue with stone steps.

Back-to-Back Holding Hands

For a more traditional and intimate “first look,” have the bride and groom stand back-to-back and hold hands without seeing each other. Then they turn around and see their other half.

The first look wedding tradition is gaining popularity across the world, partly because of its photo opportunities. For this purpose, Minstrel Court is perfect, as you can make use of different grounds on the property and find locations with peace and quiet for a genuine first look moment.

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