On Our Wedding Day
I still wasn’t convinced this was a good idea. Standing there in the middle of a park with my back to the parking lot I looked out at…nothing. In front of me stood some trees and beyond that a lake but in general, there was nothing for me to be looking at in the direction I was facing. To my right, there was a white vintage couch looking completely out of place among the green grass and the hot June sun. The sun was beating down on my face and my body was starting to get warm. There was a cool breeze in the air but it wasn’t making its way under my charcoal grey Banana Republic blazer. But there I stood in the middle of Millennium Park feeling a little foolish and more than a little nervous. Quietly, I intensely stared straight ahead, not spoil the moment. The moment when I saw my bride, my wife-to-be and my partner in all things, for the first time. The moment that was to be our First Look on our wedding day.
Flash Forward To The Future
Much time has passed since we did our First Look. Now, as a husband and wife wedding photographer team, we are often asked about the First Look. Would we recommend it? Why should you do it? Will it ruin the wedding day? All of these are good questions and we considered writing a post to answer them all. “The 5 Benefits of A First Look” we would call it. But in a way that would feel selfish. Of course, as Michigan wedding photographers, we would recommend a First Look. It gives our brides and grooms more time in front of our cameras. But while that is a reason, it isn’t THE ONLY reason. There is a much bigger reason why we recommend the First Look on your wedding day…
I Was Unsure About A First Look
Now as a groom I wasn’t completely sold on the First Look. In fact, standing there just seconds before the actual First Look was about to take place, I STILL wasn’t sure. But I had agreed to it willingly because Leidy, my beloved wanted to do one. She had explained her reasons for wanting to do one. Then again, I might not have even asked. Our discussion regarding it was brief. She told me she wanted to do a first look. I told her I was worried it would ruin the walking down the aisle moment. She said we were going to do one anyway. I said okay.
You see I was like most guys and most guys are traditional. Unlike you girls, we don’t spend our entire childhood dreaming up our perfect wedding day. Okay, well I didn’t anyway, some guys probably spent more time thinking about it and that’s okay! But for me and most guys, while we might not know what a charger plate is, we have a vague idea of how things are supposed to go. Our wedding vision goes something like this:
Groom’s Wedding Day Itinerary
1. Wake up, meet with guys
2. Beer with guys (but not too much because she said don’t get drunk)
3. 15 minutes before we are supposed to get ready – shower/shave/dress/brush teeth/do something to hair/”Hey, does anyone know how to tie a tie?”
4. Pictures or something
5. Stand up by the altar thingy and wait for her
6. Oh my goodness she’s coming down the aisle
7. Say “I do.”
8. More pictures?
But What About The Coming Down The Aisle Moment?
So when Leidy told me we were going to do a First Look my first thought was, “Wait! That will ruin step 6 coming down the aisle moment!”. A valid argument, right? And it’s probably one that every guy makes. So as I stood there in Millennium Park wondering what step 6 will be like now we were doing a First Look, I still wasn’t sure this was the right decision. Right up until I hear the words…
“Hey, baby…..it’s me.”
My heart stopped. The cool breeze stopped. The heat stopped. The bead of sweat rolling down my back stopped. Time stopped. Everything in that moment was frozen.
“Should I turn around?”, I thought. “Did I just hear her say that or did I imagine it? I should probably say something.”
“Baby? Can I turn around?”, I said out loud.
“Yes!” Leidy said excitedly. And I slowly turned around. And there she was. Radiantly beautiful looking absolutely incredible. Better than I could have ever imagined in her wedding dress that was both elegant yet so her. The dress she was so excited about and wanted so badly to show it to me. Her hair and makeup done perfectly and so many little details I tried to take it all in at once.
“Do you like my dress?” she asked?
“Yes, it is beautiful. You look beautiful. I am so glad you are here.” I replied.
“I am so glad we are doing this.” I thought.
My Favorite Moment From Our Wedding Day
What followed was my favorite memory from our wedding day. Just her and I, in a park, laughing, kissing, celebrating with each other. We kept telling each other “It’s here baby, we are getting married! Finally, we are doing it!”. It was the most intimate moment of our whole wedding day. And we had photographers there taking pictures. Something I completely forgot about until we started our portrait session.
I can still remember every detail of that moment with crystal clarity today and I am not sure I would remember it as well otherwise. Standing up at the altar there was so much going. The officiant was speaking, music was playing, everyone I have ever known was sitting in front of me, my dad was behind me, there was just a lot to take in. If that was my first moment seeing Leidy I think I would have been in a state of shock. I wouldn’t remember all those details as well. But in a way, the First Look made the coming down the aisle moment even better. Because we had a First Look, I wasn’t in a state of shock. I could focus on her and take in our wedding ceremony the way I always imagined I would.
Glad We Decided To Do A First Look
As a result, I was so glad that we decided to do a First Look and felt like I could relax and just by myself with the woman I love. Leidy got a more genuine reaction of me seeing her for the first time. While I am very comfortable around my family a part of me was still emotionally guarded in front of my extended family, my co-workers, my friends. I didn’t think that would be the case until standing up there at the altar. And the argument that it will ruin the coming down the aisle moment is a lie! Just like this one.
So that is what it was like to have a First Look. I could list all the benefits here of having a First Look, there are several. But for us and what we find for most of our brides and grooms, the First Look turns out to be some of your best memories from the wedding day. Yes, you will end up with some of your favorites pictures from your wedding day. Above all, you won’t regret it.
Your Best Wedding Day
We are big believers in having a First Look at your wedding. And that isn’t simply because we are Grand Rapids wedding photographers. That being said, Leidy and I always respect the decisions of our brides and grooms. We want to create the BEST possible experience NO MATTER WHAT they decided. We respect everyone’s opinions but we are often asked if a First Look is right for them so we wanted to share our experience with our own First Look. No matter what we want your wedding to be as stress-free as possible! If you would like to learn more about why we think a First Look is important, shoot us a message or leave a comment below! We would love to connect with you.