What is a private first look?

Time dedicated and scheduled out prior to the hustle and bustle of the ceremony & celebration ahead. This is the moment in time to enjoy the photo process with your partner. To be able to slow down, relieve any overwhelming feelings of anticipation of waiting, and to remove most pressures of time constraints that are typically followed by the ceremony.

Wedding Venue: Cobb Hill Estate, Harrisville, New Hampshire

Why are private first looks becoming important?

As weddings have developed over the decades, we are beginning to lose sight of the importance of timing and scheduling out formal photos. What does this mean? With the pressures of societal demands, the yip-yapping of family & friends, ever-changing trends, and overall noise of the wedding industry, excitement for photos can be extremely daunting and rushed. Private first looks give the couple opportunities to relax, take their time, and meet nearly all photographic needs prior to the busy events that will soon follow.

Wedding Venue: Granite Rose by Wedgewood Weddings, Hampstead, New Hampshire
Wedding Venue: Cobb Hill Estate, Harrisville, New Hampshire

The Common Misconceptions pt. 1

"It's going to ruin the surprise/the moment right before the aisle."

Well, ask yourselves, "why would it?"

Why would seeing your partner prior to the ceremony ruin the "surprise?" It does not. The anticipation, the excitement, the thrill of being able to marry your partner remains true, even after seeing them for the "first" time in their wedding attire.

The Common Misconceptions pt. 2

"It's considered bad luck to see each other prior!"

Let us go back to where that notion came from...

Pre-18th century times, marriages were arranged and in attempt to keep the “groom” from getting cold feet (or in other words, canceling due to any dissatisfaction of...ahem...visual aspects of their partner to be), it was stressed that it would be “bad luck” for the couple to see each other before the big day. The “bad luck” being if the marriage falls through, so does the deal the families have pre-arranged. 

These aren’t those times anymore, and nothing is going to happen if you plan to see each other prior. In fact, it could help with the nauseating feelings of anxiety and stage fright.

private vs public emotions

Over the years of photographing weddings and events, there are a few things I have learned about people. People will either have created a public mask where their emotions are hidden behind it, due to fear of potential public scrutiny. Or people will crumble into a blob of jello the moment they see sight of their love. Either the case, displaying a person in a public setting with raw feelings, often causes people to feel vulnerable. We often target that vulnerability and want to expose it, by hoping that the receiving end of the aisle will shed tears.

what am I getting at?

Most people are not taught to be comfortable with emotional settings or their own emotions for that matter. Hence the mention of a public mask. Having a private first look diminishes the pressures of prying eyes, leaving the couple to be alone and swim together any emotions they both may be experiencing. This increases chances of releasing anything pent up, such as tears of happiness.

"But I want that special moment in front of our friends and family!"

Ah, that is a conversation to be had between couples. It is not for everybody, nor is it natural to put onself in a group of people (regardless if that people are family and friends) and be expectant to cry. Just as private first looks is not for everybody, together people must come to a decision to do what is most comfortable.

What are the benefits?

Other than getting the chances to get photos done with your partner, here are a few reasons why setting time aside before the ceremony may be beneficial:

  • ease of nerves
  • immediate family photos can be done
  • wedding party photos could be taken care of
  • private reading of vows
  • private first looks with parent(s)/children/pets
  • being able to include your pet in photos
  • more time to enjoy cocktail hour later
  • & more!

It's all up to you two.

Whether or not you do a first look or opt out of it, it's never going to change this one thing... you're going to be marrying the person that makes you happiest in this world, your comfort for life. Do not let the outside noise push you into doing something that does not feel right to you and your partner.