Everybody loves first look photos. It's that moment of anticipation you've both dreamed of for months. It's that dreamy instant when your groom first sets his eyes on his beloved bride and emotions come rushing out. Only, not so much.
That's what a real first look entails. Yes, I agree the photos are gorgeous. But the wedding industry has turned that special candid moment into yet another wedding rite of passage to be endured. I've edited hundreds of wedding videos, so I have the great pleasure of seeing what goes on behind the scenes at these "candid" moments.
This couple is super sweet. They are very happily married. The issue is the whole setup of a first kiss. It's right before the ceremony. He doesn't want to mess up her gorgeous dress or smudge her makeup for the rest of the day. Sometimes the moment does look a bit more natural, but never does it look candid. It can't. It's like those photos where mom says, "1. 2. 3. Say cheese."
1. First look wedding photos are not candid
A candid moment is something magical that happens when you think no one is watching. Like when the bride is walking down the aisle, all eyes are on her, even the photographer. The groom is left to react however he'd like. The truth comes out. Be it tears of joy. Or shock at your gown selection. It's his moment. His and yours. And it's truly candid.
2. They are manipulative
Let's think about this. You just told your man that you scheduled these photos of his "natural reaction" to seeing you in your dress for the first time. There will be a photographer there to "capture his spontaneous reaction". What about this is possibly NOT MANIPULATIVE??? You basically told him, "I spent money on this, so you'd better have a freakin' great reaction!"
3. The wedding is about more than YOU
Your ceremony, your grand entrance is not just about you. It's a culmination of months of effort on the part of friends and family. Your first look is about you seeing him seeing you. And it's about everyone else seeing you seeing him seeing you. They are witnessing magic. Here's a great quote from bride LadyMonk on WeddingWire: "I'm not doing a first look either. Can't sacrifice that excited face and happy expression for just me -- I want everyone to see how happy he looks!"
For my own wedding, I sewed my own gown and in an unforeseen DIY mishap, I made the neckline far more low cut than intended. I will never forget the bug eyes on the face of my groom (who had never seen me in anything low cut) as he saw me walk down that aisle. I saw his eyes pop out of his head. And I grinned. I grinned the smile of a woman who knows, "I gotcha. You're mine. Forever babe." And all our friends and family got to share in that moment with us. I wouldn't sacrifice that moment for a few cute photos.