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Arianna & Dakota are both near and dear to my heart. Their wedding was a beautiful reflection of the love they have for one another, while also showing their heart for the Lord. Tissues needed, come prepared.
Riikka & Khalil's COastal Finland Wedding
Riikka & Khalil had the most dreamy wedding, complete with lush forests, gorgeous shots of the coast, a dreamy sunset, and love abounding. This was my first international wedding, and I'm excited to share it with you!
August 1, 2019
If you’ve been around for a while, you already know I’m a RUHL big fan of doing a first look. If you’re just now looking for a wedding photographer in North Carolina and you happened upon my website…
Girl, we need to talk. I can pretty much guarantee that if you do a first look, you will not regret it!
It’s also possible you’re wondering, what IS a first look? A first look on your wedding day refers to a specifically scheduled time for you and your hubby-to-be to see each other for the first time BEFORE the actual ceremony. This is typically done in private, with just the couple and the photographer (and videographer) present. There, straightforward enough, don’t you think?
Let me break down the many, many reasons I encourage brides to do a first look at their wedding.
Well, it’s like this. Back in the day, marriages were arranged transactions between families with the simple purpose of increasing a family’s wealth, power or social standing. Brides and grooms were not introduced ahead of time out of fear that if the couple met before the wedding, they might try to get out of the arrangement if the other was super old or unattractive. As such, the bride and groom were kept apart from one another for as long as possible.
(For transparency’s sake, this is also why brides traditionally wore veils covering their faces down the aisle. BUT. Please keep those loooong stunners coming! Long veils make for some ridiculously gorgeous photos! K thanks.)
I learned all this during the engagement session of one of my October 2019 brides, and I just remember feeling suuuper ucky. I mean, I get it… but I’m also really thankful that we can marry for love now! (Can I get an AMEN?) Anyhow, this info was enough to make my bride shirk tradition and have a first look.
Still not convinced? No worries. Let’s keep going.
Are you an introvert? This rationale may be all it takes for you, then.
Traditionally, a groom sees his bride for the first time as she is escorted by her father down the aisle. Cue the waterworks and lots of gushing from the bridesmaids while literally EVERYONE watches. Not the most romantic, eh?
A first look gives you a special moment to feel all the feels without the attention of every guest attending your wedding. Not to mention, you get the chance to talk to your love, which you won’t get to do at the altar (I mean, aside from vows n’ such)! It’s also a sweet time to exchange letters or prayers.
If you’re worried that it makes that aisle moment feel any less special, I’ve had countless brides assure me that the first look didn’t change how they felt when they glanced their betrothed down the aisle. They loved seeing their hubby-to-be before the ceremony, but the ceremony still remains the most important part of the day! All the excitement will still overflow–you just won’t feel so exposed.
Sooo… I’ve had brides throw up out of nervousness and anxiety before the wedding. BrideS, plural. With an s.
Even though you know without an ounce of doubt in your mind that you and your groom are meant to be, weddings can be hugely stressful and overwhelming. I don’t know about you (where my anxiety sufferers at?!), but when I feel overwhelmed, the only person I wanna see is my husband. Not my mom, not Great Aunt Gladys, not my sister. My husband. If that’s you, too, then a first look is just what the doctor ordered!
Imagine finally seeing your hubby-to-be during your first look, and having those worries melt away. Oh, the relief! It just feels good to see your person, doesn’t it? Why should you deny yourself that comfort on the biggest day of your life? Obviously, you shouldn’t. Don’t do that to yourself.
Oh, and those brides who threw up? After their first looks, they were like new people. A little quiet time together is all it took. <3
If you’re one of my past brides, you can speak to this.
About a month before your wedding (when you have all the major planning and details ironed out), I’ll send your a big, honkin’ questionnaire. Using that questionnaire, I will develop a photography timeline for your day, so that you know what to expect and when from your photographers.
Now, let me be honest here. Timelines can be prettttttty tight, and running late on your wedding day just sucks. It’s stressful for you, and it often results in compromises you weren’t ready to make on your wedding day!
Typically, having a first look enables you to complete all your newlywed portraits, and even some bridal party portraits, BEFORE the ceremony. This means that after the ceremony, you’ll be able to spend less time on portraits and more time at the reception! After all, while I know you’re pumped for some beautiful images, you’re really here to celebrate with family and friends! We don’t want to cut into that time if things are running late, ya know? Doing a first look will significantly open up your timeline. It’s seriously magical.
If you don’t want to see each other, it can be nice just getting to hear each other’s voices, hold hands, and pray.
I’m gonna be real honest–when I got married, I was adamantly opposed to doing a first look. I somehow felt like it wouldn’t be a real, Christian wedding if I had a first look. Looking back, quite frankly, I have no clue why I felt that way. Especially since my husband and I had already gotten married in Lebanon a week or two before (uhh… that’s a story for another post).
The Bible says absolutely nothing about whether or not a bride is to see her groom before the ceremony, and the whole “bad luck” dealio is a complete non-start for Christians. So, if adherence to tradition is what is preventing you from doing a first look, maybe consider what it is that is truly holding you back. If it’s unreasonable and obstructing your joy, is it really worth it?
To be fair, we will obviously make it work if you opt not to have a first look. Don’t even worry for a second! I just personally think that the advantages and pros outweigh the cons, tenfold.
Your wedding day will be absolutely beautiful, no matter what you choose or how the day unfolds. And ya know what? I’m even willing to bet that your marriage will be far more beautiful than your wedding. And that’s cause for rejoicing.
"...I found him whom my soul loves."
-Song of Solomon 3:4
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