You know the moment I’m talking about. The music swells. The doors open. The inhale. There you stand, the most beautiful woman in the room.
You’ve taken his breath away.
I’m not sure there is a moment in the entire wedding day that is quite like this one. The lucky groom savors the beauty walking into his life forever. The glowing bride will cherish the look on his face for a lifetime. Then she gets to the end of the walk. The music stops. The words begin. The moment is over.
Ideally, your photographer was able to capture that moment- despite a sea of guests, precious few minutes, and dark ceremony lighting. If only we could press pause in order to get a perfect shot that will live on your mantle forever. Or slo-mo it to make it last a little longer.
Tell me, have you considered a first-look photo? Many brides balk at this suggestion, but I’m a HUGE fan of moving the first look from the ceremony to a private moment before the chaos of the day, and here are a few big reasons why:
Intimacy. I’m guessing you wouldn’t mind seeing your guy react in a BIG way when he sees you in that gorgeous gown. A little jaw drop, a misty tear, a giant grin, whatever. I’m also guessing that, if your guy is like many men, he would rather eat shoes than cry in front of 150 people. That’s my guess. Or maybe in all the hubbub YOU are the one who will realize you didn’t look at your groom AT ALL until you made it to the end of the aisle. Things like this happen, and there is no rewind button. But when your coordinator and photographer work together to set up a moment with just the two of you, you are completely free to react in whatever way you want. He can fall to his knees. You can cry real happy tears without worrying that your mascara will be running down your cheeks for the rest of the ceremony. You can squeeze each other for dear life, you can kiss without Grandma in the front row, you can just have a moment to breathe together in the middle of the whirlwind of the day. So precious. So priceless.
Technical details. Ceremonies are notoriously bad places to get good photographs. There is always someone standing awkwardly in the background of an otherwise great shot. The lighting is usually poor, and the photographer typically has to work from a distance or at odd angles. In a setting put together for a first-look photo, all those factors are out of play. We can choose a spot with great lighting, naturally making the bride and groom look their best. We can manipulate background objects to create the best possible setting. The privacy eliminates the random bridal party member slouching in the background of an otherwise perfect moment. The best part? The photographer has complete freedom to move all around you, getting the best angles and not missing a single up-close emotion on your faces.
Timing. Question. How many weddings have you been to where you’ve had to wait FOREVER for the bride and groom to join the reception before you could eat? Know where they are? Taking the photographs they couldn’t get before the ceremony. The bridal party is getting hungry (read: grouchy), and everyone has stopped trying to be nice about who-should-stand-where and when-are-we-going-to-be-done-already? With a first-look photo, all those formal shots with the bridal party and family can get out of the way. Sweet ceremony transitions to celebration without delay.
Nothing is lost. Many brides get worried that the walk down the aisle loses it’s impact with a first-look moment. It’s just not so. There is still something about the stillness of the moment, the attention on the bride, that will cause hearts to pound with excitement and make those minutes special. In fact, in many cases, that walk down the aisle is even more precious when the couple has had some time together before the festivities begin.
Let me paint a new picture. You, in your big white dress. Your makeup fresh, your hair perfect. You take some fun photos with the bridesmaids to get warmed up, then it’s time. The moment. You take a deep, shaky breath, and find your beloved. He is simply stunned. You laugh, then cry together, whisper the sweet words of lovers, and the photographer nails every moment. Maybe your parents come in (or maid-of-honor and best man) and the photographer captures even MORE amazing, emotionally charged shots with the VIPs. Then the laughter through the tears as the bridesmaids touch up eye makeup. Things get silly. Formal shots with the bridal party and the family take place while everyone is laughing and caught up in the excitement of what is about to happen: two people joining for a lifetime. Your man can squeeze your hand as many times as he wants to. You catch the other’s eye for a smile while the photographer rearranges mom and dad. The happy families part ways to prepare as the guests are seated for the ceremony. And afterward, when that fun song starts pumping through the sound system announcing man and wife, the whole crowd is ready to party without skipping a beat.
Need more convincing? Check out the photo slideshow over at BridalGuide.com to get a good idea of how special this can be.