Saying “No” to a First Look

These days, it seems like everyone is doing a first look. Everybody wants to get a million photos, so they do the first look thing and then have all the photos done before the ceremony. I totally get it. I want to have a million photos, too. And I don’t want to spend hours between the ceremony and reception taking them. BUT, neither my fiance nor I want to do a first look. Why?

For one, we want the moment when I walk down the aisle to be extra special. I know, I know, everyone says it’s still super magical even if you have done a first look. Sorry. I don’t believe you. [Edit: This came out wrong. What I should have said is, "I don't believe that would be true for me."  I trust you all when you say that your own moments were quite magical.]

Second, I’m going to go out on a limb here and admit that I just don’t really like the photos that come out of those sessions. The girl taps the guy on the shoulder. He turns around, does the sort-of surprised face. They have an awkward hug (has another actually hugged their significant other like that before? Why do they always look so weird?). And then they kiss and the rest of the photo shoot commences. (I am purposefully not posting any pictures here, because that would just be rude. There will be no dissing of any specific wedding photos.)

Really, reason numbers one and two should probably be enough for anyone to understand why we’re not doing a first look. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to tell you about the third reason. I know I’m going to be nervous on my wedding day. I know Mr. Whale will also be nervous. And when I get nervous, I start talking about all kinds of random things, especially the things that I’m worried about.

http://www.weddingbee.com/

Except I’m not all cute like she is. (Image from Never a Dull Moment with Missy)

And when he gets nervous, he doesn’t know how to handle my nervousness. I might end up telling him about how I’m not entirely sure how our food is going to taste, because I once read a review that said it wasn’t good. And then he’ll say, “Why didn’t you tell me that?? Now our reception will be ruined!” Or I might say, “Do you like my dress? I almost bought this other one, but then I really liked this one. But I wonder if you would have like the other one.” And then he’d say, “That other dress sounds amazing. Why didn’t you buy it? You should have bought it!”

Seriously. Those responses are not an over-exaggeration. When he gets nervous, he plummets head-first off the slippery slope into a sea of impending doom if anything seems like it might go wrong.

So that is how I envision our first look going, which really doesn’t sound like the perfect romantic encounter, does it? No, I didn’t think so either.

Somehow, I almost got convinced early on in planning that I might want to do a first look when I thought about how we could take soooo many pictures before the ceremony. But Mr. Whale got me back on track when he said there was no way he was going to see me before the ceremony. That basically settled it.

The strangest part about not doing the first look is feeling like we’re bucking the trend. I thought that not having a first look was supposed to be more traditional, but these days, people think you’re crazy if you don’t do one.

Any other brides breaking this new tradition by staying traditional and not having a first look? Why did you decide one way or the other?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Blue Whale

Location:
College Park, MD
Wedding Date:
May 2013

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  1. Member
    paw 871 posts, Busy bee @ 10:48 am

    I am glad you seem to have taken some of the criticism to heart on here for future posts. When I was reading this post, my eyes honestly grew very wide at your opinions of other people’s choices. I was honestly offended by your opinions here even though I chose not to have a first look, and it was completely the right choice for us.

  2. Member
    pinkmoon 10748 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 11:30 am

    Won’t be doing one. Pretty much for the same reasons as you!

  3. Member
    radishtime 316 posts, Helper bee @ 12:45 pm

    I’m also skipping the first look
    For one, because I don’t like the tap and turn around pictures, but also because I know I’m going to be nervous before the ceremony. and that will show in my photos. trust me. I dont want them to look like FI and I’s prom pictures (It was our first date and we are very visibly nervous in the photos)

    I want our wedding photos to show us as calm, happy, and relaxed as we will be to finally be an actual married couple!for more laid back people, they could probably feel that way and look that way before the wedding too. But i know for us, having the ceremony done will be a huge release and a huge joy, and I want to see that joy on our faces

  4. Member
    Hippos 1639 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:30 am

    My husband and I decided against it…well actually he didn’t want it. Of all the things he could’ve said anything about with our wedding the one thing he truly cared about was not to see me before I walk down the aisle. He didn’t even want to know what my dress looked like, how I was going to wear my hair etc.

  5. Member
    althomas188 6 posts, Newbee @ 9:30 am

    I LOVE this post! When I first started wedding planning several months ago, trying to find “the” photographer was my number one priority. My man, dress, and pictures will be the only things I physically take away from the day, so I find them most important. After talking with the photographer, who I was sure I wanted to use, I was so discouraged and saddened. She kept bashing me for not wanting to see each other before the wedding. She went on and on about how “your guests will get tired of waiting, and just leave.” After talking to a few others who had the same opinion, I set out on a different journey – to find a photographer who wanted what I wanted, and realized it was OUR day and not a performance for our guests. I get it, our guests are important, but I thought this was a day to celebrate us, and not them. So, go against the grain, and stay away from it. Do what you want, and just think about how exciting it will be to see each other the first time you walk down the aisle?!

  6. Member
    mrshollinger 1000 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:55 am

    We are not doing a first look either.

    I would like to, but my groom is very traditional and wants to see me for the first time that day walking down the aisle.

  7. Member
    manatee 31 posts, Newbee @ 10:09 am

    I’m so glad you wrote this post! I’ve always thought first look pictures looked awkward and staged as well, although I’m sure its quite intense for the couples involved in them. We’re both very traditional in this aspect and want the first time we see each other that day to be on the aisle! We’re not spending the night together the night before and we’re even limiting contact the day before! Hoping to build up the butterflies as much as possible :)

  8. Member
    vanillarani 8 posts, Newbee @ 6:36 pm

    It’s totally a personal preference that’s for sure. And your reasons totally work for you and your fiance :)

    We are actually doing a first look, but I totally don’t want it to be like the staged ones with the shoulder tap, etc. I have a good photographer so I’m sure she’ll come up with something special. We are bucking tradition and walking down the aisle together (*gasp*) and so him getting his first look at me walking down the aisle doesn’t quite work!

  9. Member
    msfox 1635 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:27 am

    We did a first look, oddly enough, exactly *for* one of the reasons you mentioned (and it wasn’t to get a lot of pictures!). We both tend to be big balls of nerves, and we definitely were on our wedding day. Seeing each other before hand is what calmed us both down – and for us, absolutely nothing was taken away from seeing each other before the ceremony. Heck, i was still nervous and oh-so-giddy for my walk down the aisle later!!

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Liz, Guest @ 7:36 pm

    We are not doing a first look for a few different reasons than those mentioned. One: My fiance and I will be spending the night before together and probably most of the morning. I want there to be an extra specialness and anticipation before he gets to see me ‘transformed’ into a bride. Two: It’s about the pictures, but not that I don’t like first look pictures or getting more pictures. It’s about the fact that all of our couple shots, we won’t be “married” yet. We will have more engaged pictures instead in my mind. Three: We are on a tight timeline. While I hate to miss out on our cocktail hour, which is a more flexible deadline: getting to dinner at the same time as everyone else, or starting the ceremony late? I would be so stressed out about everything coming together in time for the ceremony versus after the ceremony, I think I’ll be a lot more “whatever happens, happens”.

    Fortunately, my photographer is in the no-first-look camp, and loves capturing those “blissed out” moments right after.

  11. Member
    sarahbeth_ 152 posts, Blushing bee @ 2:13 pm

    haha! i love this post. we arent doing a first look either because we think it will be much more exciting when i’m walking down the isle. i love how honest you are — it can’t be as exciting if you see each other first. it just cant be. case closed.

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