Weddings are riddled with many traditions and rituals, some for luck, and some out of traditional habit.
One of the oldest rules in the book, when it comes to weddings, is the idea that the groom and bride must not see each other right before the wedding. So the first time they see each other, in their wedding attire, is when they meet at the altar.
However, more and more people have started to incorporate the first look into their wedding day, with now half the amount of couples, on average, choosing to do this. And although it defies that old tradition, it is slowly becoming a new tradition in itself!
But what exactly is a first look, and should you do it? We can tell you all about it!
What is a first look?
The first look is an intimate and solemn moment, in which the bride and groom meet up (usually alone, with a photographer, or with just a few close friends), in order to see each other right before the wedding ceremony.
Most often, this will be done with a photographer so that the beautiful moment can be captured.
You might have seen videos and photos of the first look. Usually, either the groom or the bride is standing, backs turned, and then the other person walks in, taps them on the shoulder, and there’s a big reveal!
It’s a way of capturing the first time the groom sees his bride, in a more intimate environment, so that there’s less pressure from the multitude of guests, and so that they have a few moments to connect and be with each other before the big moment.
It’s also a great opportunity for getting some beautiful photos and videos, while they enjoy a moment alone and away from the crowd.
Are first looks bad luck?
Okay, so a first look is having the bride and groom meet in an intimate setting, right before the wedding ceremony takes place. But isn’t this bad luck?
Traditionally, it was considered bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other right before the wedding ceremony. This is why the most common practice is to have the bride and groom get ready in separate places, and for the wedding dress to be kept a secret until it is revealed in a big surprise when the bride walks down the aisle.
So traditionally speaking, the groom doesn’t get to see the bride in her dress until she walks down the aisle and they meet at the altar. And to do otherwise was considered to be bad luck, and is still considered bad luck by many nowadays.
However, this tradition actually originates from arranged marriages, in which the bride and groom often didn’t even know each other until they met at the altar on the day. It was thought that to keep the arranged marriage intact, they couldn’t meet beforehand, just in case one of them backed out and the arrangement was ruined.
Of course, nowadays most marriages are completely consensual, and the bride and groom know each other pretty well before the big day takes place. So really, what is the point of avoiding that first luck?
It can’t really be bad luck, because the bride and groom already know each other and have willingly decided to commit to one another, so there is no danger of one of them backing out after seeing what the other looks like. (Although you can get the occasional runaway bride! But that’s usually not down to looks, you pretty much already know what your groom-to-be looks like…)
If you want to keep things traditional, then sure, it’s “bad luck”. But if you look at it from a modern perspective, the wedding has nothing to do with luck, and all to do with love.
Pros and cons of a first look
Whether you do a first look or not, is completely up to you and your fiance. However, to help you decide, here are the main pros and cons:
Pros of a first look:
- It’s a beautiful and intimate moment, and a great opportunity for the bride and groom to help calm each other down before the big moment.
- It’s a great opportunity for getting plenty of couple photos and videos, with the official photographer, before everything gets chaotic and full of people. It’s a chance to take your time with the couple-photos, and not have the pressure of guests hanging around.
- It saves you time with the photos so that you can focus on enjoying the company of guests and celebrations after the ceremony.
- It gets the crying out of the way. A lot of the time, the first look causes the groom to get teary-eyed, from seeing the bride in the dress for the first time. Doing it in an intimate setting allows for emotions to be more open and honest, and it means you’re not crying and ruining your makeup in front of absolutely everyone.
Cons of a first look:
- You miss out on the dramatic moment of getting that first look at the altar, in front of everyone, when you’re literally about to get married.
- You have to schedule it so that it fits in before the wedding ceremony. This means that you might have to get up extra early or get ready quicker.
- Some people believe that it is bad luck to have a first look, which stems from more traditional wedding values.
So, a first look is when the bride and groom meet up before the wedding ceremony, in a more intimate setting, in order to see each other before the getting married moment.
This moment is usually captured by a professional photographer, and it can take place in many different ways, however the couple-to-be desires.
The idea of it being bad luck comes from the old wedding tradition of not seeing each other before the wedding, to avoid the bride or groom from backing out. However, nowadays, marriage should only ever be for love, so what’s the harm in seeing each other for a few moments beforehand? The choice, of course, is completely up to the couple!