Mr. Palm Tree and I decided to have a first look very early on in wedding planning. It was right after we had decided on The Fez as our venue for both our ceremony and our reception. I had begun to think through the logistics of the day, and truthfully the thought of leaving the space to try to cram in all of the pictures I wanted during the cocktail hour only to return to the same space for the reception started to overwhelm me. I didn’t want to feel rushed because pictures were really important to me. I didn’t want to miss out on any of the must-have shots that I had been lusting over for what felt like forever. Furthermore, all of my wanted Pittsburgh-y locations were a no-go due to the travel time. I remember the dinner during which I discussed this with Mr. Palm Tree, and I remember him surprising me (for the first of many times when it came to our wedding) with his insight (after I explained to him what a first look even was, for the record). “Your reasoning makes sense, but I don’t want you to miss out on something you’ve always wanted because of logistics. You’ve always talked about me having that look when I see you for the first time.”
He was right. I HAD always talked about that look. Truthfully, Weddingbee was what helped changed my mind. When I first began to weigh the pros and cons of a first look, I began to obsess over blogger bees’ first-look posts. I think it was Mrs. Honey’s “Sweet First Look.” That had me a goner.
Long story short, despite the initial surprise (and not even from just Mr. PT—our photographers and BM Y were both taken aback at first), it was something we both gave a lot of thought to before deciding that it was the best for us. Spoiler alert: I do not regret it even a smidge. It was one of my favorite parts of the day. (Who am I kidding? The entire day was my favorite.) I’m hesitant to use this word, but guys, our first look was perfect.
I briefly mentioned that the location for our first look came to me rather last-minute the day before our wedding. When we had discussed picture locale previously, I just said “Oakland”—it’s home to PITT, it’s home to my alma mater, Carlow, and, most importantly, it’s home to us. Plus, it’s a pretty big/famed part of Pittsburgh and we hadn’t yet “used” it for any of our pictures. I figured we’d use Schenley Plaza, the Cathedral of Learning, and maybe even the steps of the Carnegie Library, but I had completely overlooked the carousel until that bright-ass light bulb turned on as I was getting ready for our rehearsal.
As DOC/Friend E and I followed Dawn to the carousel, I remember saying to her, “I just don’t think it will feel REALLY real until I see him, you know?” When we arrived, Dawn had us stay in the car until she found Jimmy and we sorted out the logistics. I got my first sight of Mr. PT from far away and swooned. My handsome man stood, right by the carousel, waiting for his bride—and that was me.
*all photos courtesy of Limelight-Images
DOC/Friend E walked me about halfway, fluffed my train, gave me a hug, and left to tend to her other duties. I sported the cheesiest grin as I made my way around the carousel, to Mr. Palm Tree.
First, I went the wrong way and Jimmy had to whisper-direct me to the other side. Such a Miss Palm Tree move.
I was so freaking excited for us to see each other, you guys. I remember these feelings so vividly. I was very EEEEEEEEEEEEEE! and also eerily calm.
So close, so close, so close!
Me: “Guess who…” I’m so original, I don’t even know how to take myself.
When he turned around, I lost my shit. Completely.
You know, you spend nine years with someone and for the majority of it, at least in the back of your mind, you’re thinking about this day. You’re daydreaming about your colors and you’re Pinteresting for inspiration and you think through every moment, imagining your feelings and thoughts. Then, when it finally arrives, it catches you completely off guard and any possible preparation flies out the window—even if it’s just for a second—because you realize: this is it. The person I love more than anyone in this world, the person I want to share the rest of my life with, is seeing me for the first time as his bride and our forever starts today.
Mr. PT telling me to breathe and me saying that this is the first time that I really cried that day.
Me: OK, I’m going to get my shit together.
Up next: Mr. Palm Tree and I share some quality time, both on and off the carousel. You didn’t think we’d use it as a backdrop only, did you?!