A few weeks ago I shot Ryan and Holly’s wedding on Main street in Santa Monica. They decided before we met for the first time to discuss their wedding that they wanted a “first look” photo shoot. For those of you unfamiliar with the first look is; it breaks the old tradition of the groom not seeing the bride before the ceremony. During a recenty seminar someone commented that the tradition of not seeing the bride before the ceremony dated back to arranged marriages where in many case the bride an groom had never met before. I guess you can’t bail on a wedding if you meet the bride at the alter?
So why break tradition and see each other before the ceremony? It serves a couple purposes. First and foremost it allows the bride and groom to share a very tender moment together; and by together I mean not 50 feet away from each other. In this case the first time Ryan saw his soon-to-be bride in her wedding dress they were surrounded by their friends and family and he got to appreciate and acknowledge how special a moment it really was. The first time I saw my wife Robin on our wedding day she was about 100 feet away and I didn’t get much time to appreciate how great she looked. By the time she was standing next to me at the alter I was too busy trying not to cry and then it was time to get married. With Holly and Ryan we planned to document the moment and for them to have some time to enjoy it.
With Holly and Ryan I wanted to make sure that I could get Ryan into position, blindfold him and then have Holly remove the blindfold. It worked like a charm. The photos speak for themselves.
The other main reason to do this is to better enjoy your wedding. This is your big day; this is the party and celebration you have spent months planning; these are your closest friends and family. When a bride and groom see each other before the ceremony I typically shoot a lot of the formal bridal portraits after the first look. This saves time after the ceremony and allows the bridal party enjoy part of the cocktail hour.