If I were to give one piece of advice to a couple it would be to strongly consider doing a First Look. I am all about tradition but the more weddings I photograph, the more I realize that maybe this tradition is meant to be broken.
A first look is when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, have a few moments alone, and get portraits done before-hand. There are several ways to do this, but a lot of the time, the groom will go away from the craziness and get set up in a certain location and the bride will then come to him and either tap on his shoulder or say his name for him to turn around, or they’ll close their eyes and face each other and do the big reveal together..you get the idea.
Why do I recommend this? Because weddings go by SO fast, I feel like it’s the one time the couple can slow down and be alone together. It’s such a special moment—I’ve seen couples pray together, say their vows or affirm each other, exchange gifts. This private moment alone really sets the tone for the rest of the day, calms nerves, and gives the couple a chance to connect before the moment they are standing at the altar together. Doing a First Look really frees you up and allows you to relax during cocktail hour or mingle with your guests. If you’re having a lot of friends and family coming in from out of state, this is definitely something you’ll want to consider. Most importantly, you want to feel like your married. You don’t want a photographer or a coordinator rushing you along in order to keep you on time. You want your day to be enjoyable and smooth and for that, getting as much done before hand is ALWAYS helpful.
I totally get the tradition of waiting until the bride walks down the aisle..but if you’re prone to stress or anxiety especially, the First Look can be a calming and tone-setting alternative.