It seems to be a big debate within the bridal community. Should a bride and groom see each other before the ceremony? And although I am old fashioned when it comes to some traditions, I have to say, I love, love, love it when a bride and groom opts to see each other before the wedding ceremony.
First, I have to say, that for my wedding, I opted to see my groom before the ceremony. Even though all the reasons thrown at me were more for logistical reasons, it was the emotional reasons that made me completely satisfied why I made that choice. A First Look is an intimate moment, just for the bride and groom. It's a private, relaxed moment for each of you to soak in and be there together. Just you two. It may be the only moment you two have together and alone the entire day. It's set aside where there are no distractions to take you away from the day's most precious factor. The factor of you two committing yourselves to each other.
After my First Look, I was much more calm walking down the aisle, arm and arm with both my parents. I was able to appreciate the true moment of my parents giving me away, even though I was still focused on my groom. All those guests whom had their eyes on me, I was able to acknowledge them and take in the entire moment without too much stress. I feel as if I made the right choice for me, on that day.
Of corse there are logistical reasons for having a First Look, a much smoother timeline for formal family pictures, cocktail hour, and sunset pictures of the bride and groom. If a bride and groom select for a First Look, I will often suggest family pictures and bridal pictures ahead of time too. This frees everyone to catch up and mingle with loved ones attending the wedding during the cocktail hour. And it's the perfect opportunity for the bride and groom to spend some quality time with their guests, especially since there are so many scheduled events during the reception as well.
Although I prefer a bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony, it really does not make a difference to me one way or another. The most important goal of the day is to capture stunning photography, and do what I can so that the bride and groom are happy. It's my job to present the options, and let the bride and groom make the choice that is right for them.
Here's some images of a First Look from Brett & Mallory's wedding in Minneapolis.