The New Ritual: Facts of the 'First Look'
Many people think the reason newlyweds-to-be avoid seeing each other on the day of the wedding (until the bride walks down the aisle, natch) is to prevent “bad luck.” However, the tradition actually hails from the time of arranged marriages when couples might not even know each other before they said “I do.”
While plenty of modern couples retain the ritual because they feel it amps up the excitement, more and more are instead opting to first see each other in all their finery in a planned pre-ceremony moment known as the “First Look”
In the experience of Christina Millikin, owner of San Francisco-based Glow Event Design, only the photographers and perhaps videographers are present for this occasion. Normally photographers will scout a quiet/secluded area on the venue property, she says, away from the guests. “It’s always a private, out-of-the-way moment when possible, and oh-so-very sweet,” says Michèle Waite, a Seattle-based photographer. “It’s one of the only set-aside times during the whole day for the couple to interact.” After the couple has their private photo session, they typically join up with family and the wedding party for the group portraits.
Not only is this timeline more conducive to the popular editorial-style wedding photography, says Waite, there’s no pulling the couple away from the party they have been planning for a year and making guests wait, no scrambling to beat the changing light, and no having to wrangle family members who beelined for the bar.
In addition, “sometimes the build-up before walking down the aisle can be a little overwhelming,” says Millikin. “Seeing each other beforehand helps get the jitters out.”
While Waite has done First Looks for most of her 18-year career, she says that it became standard practice in the last two to three. “There are no longer any ‘rules’ that couples have to follow,” says Millikin, “so people are open to trying new things and getting creative.”
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