first look: a bride and groom’s perspective II

It has been over a year since I’ve written a blogpost about a first look, so I asked Julieta and Phillip if they’d share their first hand impressions from doing a first look on their wedding day. For those of you who may not be familiar with what this is, a first look is when the bride and groom facilitate an intimate moment to see each other for the first time on their wedding day before the ceremony.

Similar to Tiffany and Trevor’s story, Julieta and Philip were not sold on the first look at our initial consultation. And that was okay. I always tell my clients that I talk about first looks to let people know their options, as some brides and grooms do not know that they CAN break tradition and see each other before the wedding ceremony without their marriage being cursed with bad luck. I want clients to know that they don’t have to see each other for the first time in front of 300 onlookers. I want clients to know that if they’d like naturally lit, sunny bride-groom portraits (you know, the ones you’ll actually frame and display in your home) AND an evening ceremony they CAN have both.

Here is a bit of Julieta and Phillip’s first look story, (told mostly by Julieta,  as she is the professional journalist of the two — Dallas Morning News, what!what!):

Julieta: “We wanted to go the traditional route and wait to see each other until the ceremony. Phillip and I were concerned it would detract from the sacredness of the walk down the aisle and the wait at the altar. We didn’t want to gamble with those moments.”

 “As the wedding approached and we worked out the logistics of the day, it became obvious that we would have little time to squeeze in our bride-and-groom portraits, wedding party shots and family portraits between the ceremony and the reception. I read every blog post and testimonial I could find about the first look. As I studied the first-look photos of other couples, I was moved by the joy and anticipation captured in those images. I also read that it helped some couples with wedding-day jitters, so I talked to Phillip, and we informed Jillian about our change of heart.”

Julieta: “When my brother drove me to the Stockyards for the first look, I had a pounding headache. It was anxiety, but it wasn’t about the first look; it was the weight of the whole day. But as I walked to Phillip with his back turned to me, I forgot about it all.”

Julieta: “It was rewarding to see his reaction to me up close and without the pressure of everyone’s eyes on us. Phillip and I are awkward and self-conscious photo subjects. Yet when Jillian asked us to smile, or laugh or kiss for our portraits [following the initial candid first look moments], I was just waiting for permission to unleash my giddiness.”

(Photographer insert: I believe this photo above shows the moment when Phillip said something along the lines of him feeling like he shouldn’t even touch her because she looked so perfect. Sweet, sweet Phillip.)

I was particularly glad that Phillip chimed in when it came to how the first look affected how he felt during the ceremony, as I feel like that might be what most groom’s are concerned about.

Phillip: “Seeing (Julieta) in the church was like the first look all over again. It was the same rush. I think it felt new again just because of the environment. Everyone was there and it was time to do this thing for real.”

Julieta:  “As I tightened the hook around my father’s arm and saw the chapel doors in front of us slide open, I was overwhelmed by love. That magic I was afraid we’d lose with the first look was very much still there.”

 Julieta: “I smiled wide all the way down the aisle, even when my train got hooked in one of the pews and a friend had to come to the rescue. I resumed the walk, and Phillip was smiling back at me. It was perfect.”

Phillip said he would definitely recommend a first look to others:  “I think it paid off greatly. They’re some of the best photos in our album.”

To see the full blogpost from Julieta and Phillip’s wedding day, click here. Thank you both for sharing your experiences with blog readers!

I am personally always giddy when couples decide that a first look is the right option for them.  I chose to do a first look when I was a bride and absolutely loved every second of it, especially James’ enthusiastic facial expressions and embrace upon first seeing me on our wedding day. Those up close and personal photos of James seeing me for the first time in my wedding dress in an atmosphere where his reaction could be completely uninhibited are my absolute favorites of my groom from our entire wedding day. It was a good choice for us.

I hope this post helps educate future brides and grooms on their wedding day options so that they can make informed decisions as to what sort of wedding day layout will be the best fit for their day — whether it be first locking eyes when the bride walks down the aisle or if it be in the midst of a first look set-up.

6 Responses to “first look: a bride and groom’s perspective II”
  1. Dani Dillig says:

    Joe and I always planned on a first look! Seeing all the grooms’ reactions to their brides is so cute and amazing, I wanted to have that with Joe. PLUS we got a ton of pictures BEFORE the ceremony, which helped us get to the reception sooner (despite our DJ taking FOREVER to set up)!
    I didn’t have any nervousness until late night before the wedding. I felt like I could never catch my breath, my heart was constantly racing, and I really felt the weight of the day. When I finally got to tap Joe’s shoulder to turn him around, all that stress and anxiety was gone. I felt SO MUCH BETTER! And his reaction to me in my dress was pretty awesome too!
    For any bride who is still deciding on a first look-GO WITH YOUR GUT! I did, and I’m so happy with my decision! I can’t wait to see how our photos by Jillian and James turned out!

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