Wedding Ideas

Wedding Photography: The First Look

Posted on August 12, 2014 by New Jersey Bride

THE FIRST MOMENT YOU SEE YOUR SOON-TO-BE SPOUSE ON YOUR WEDDING DAY is one of the most exhilarating. Tradition dictates that this occasion should occur just as the bride reaches the end of the aisle, as her groom awaits on the altar. It can be beautiful, but some couples buckle to nerves and appear stiff in photos. Enter “the First Look,” a pre-wedding photo session that captures the couple in their wedding garb—just the two of them completely alone, with their photographer, of course. “When you’re walking down the aisle, you don’t always have time to stop and say, ‘Wow, you look amazing,’” says Marie Papp of Marie Papp Photography in Hoboken. “The first look is great because you get to savor each other. It’s just the couple in a private moment.”

Liberty House First Look
Marie Papp Photography.
Bucking the superstition that a bride and groom must not see each other before the ceremony, the first look has grown in popularity in recent years. The quiet moment allows photographers to snap plenty of shots of the happy couple radiating their pre-ceremony excitement and devotion. Aside from the fantastically candid photos the shoot produces, the first look is an efficient use of time for couples who want to get the most out of their wedding. Often wedding photos are taken in the time between the ceremony and reception—meaning newlyweds and bridal-party members can miss out on the spread at the cocktail hour. It’s hard to stare devotedly at your new husband while dreaming of crab cakes and scallops wrapped in bacon. Not to mention, the cocktail hour is the ideal time to make the rounds with the guests.
Lauren Kearns Photography. First Look.
Lauren Kearns Photography.
“If a couple is getting married on site and their cocktail hour is right away, there’s not a lot of time for photos in between,” Papp adds. “The other option is to take them during the cocktail hour, which is not preferred. If you get your photos out of the way, you can still attend your cocktail hour and mingle more with your guests.” The moment is also great for jittery brides (and grooms!) who may not have a genuine emotional reaction in front of hundreds of their friends and family. Plus, couples appear “fresher” at the beginning of the day, before the normal wear-and-tear of the event (sweat, tears, make-up smears, spots of dirt or food stains) causes the bride to look less than the absolute picture of bridal perfection.
First Look.
Marie Papp Photography.
“This takes the edge off,” Papp says. “If you do the photos beforehand, the couple hasn’t been kissed and hugged by hundreds of guests.” But what of the pearl-clutching traditionalists, who believe a marriage is doomed if the pair sees each other before vows are exchanged? Papp says she doesn’t pay much attention to that folklore. “The superstition is silly,” she says with a laugh. “We’re definitely way past that.”