First off, I'd like to say that there is no right decision, do not feel pressured in anyway to change what you want to do for your wedding. It is your day and you should have it your way. Everyone is different and I strongly believe that weddings should reflect the character and personality of the bride and groom, even down to how they lay out the day. Believe me, I've heard both extreme sides of the argument. One one side, I've talked with people who believe it's bad luck, wedding blasphemy and that I'm crazy for even suggesting it. On the other side of the spectrum, I've talked with people who find it old-fashioned and want nothing to do with the tradition.
I respect the brides I meet who have envisioned that walk down the aisle to see their groom for the first time since they were a child. But, from my perspective,as a photographer and as someone who's seen the in's and out's of many weddings, here are a few reasons to consider seeing each other before the ceremony.
1. You still get the aisle experience. Most bride's main concern is losing the wow factor of her groom seeing her for the first time as she walks down the aisle. But the magic of that moment isn't lost. You're about to get married. The moment is HUGE. You are walking down the aisle to your future. Whether he's seen you in your dress or not has nothing to do with the magic of the moment. You can see it and feel it, the emotion is still there. At some weddings, the bride and groom still teared up even though they had been with each other for party of the day already.
2. Nerves. Most people I've talked to after their wedding say that they were so nervous and anxious until the moment they saw each other and the butterflies all went away, regardless of whether that moment was at the alter or a couple of hours before. You suddenly have your other half and you can begin processing the day with them.
3. Enjoy the moment alone together. Think about it, if you see each other for the first time at the end of the aisle you can't talk or kiss, you can hardly touch and you'll have somewhere between 5 and 500 of your closest friends, family, co-workers and their random dates watching you. OR, you can set up a romantic moment that you can really enjoy. Laugh, hug, kiss, cry - you don't have to hold anything back because you don't have to worry about anyone watching. AND, the moment usually makes for sweet pictures. This is also why, if a first look is chosen, I ask that it is private. Yes, your family wants to see his reaction...that's what the photos are for. It gives you time to soak in the moment and enjoy the day.
4. Get to the party sooner. Seeing each other beforehand and getting pictures done means that once you're done with the ceremony, you're ready to head straight to the reception with nothing else to worry about except dancing with your friends. If you are doing pictures afterwards, you'll have a lot less time and all of your guests will be waiting. There will also be a lot more distractions for the me as the photographer, having to ask guests to please not take photos of the poses and asking people to step out of the photos.
5. Photos. If you list photos as one of the most important thing to you on your wedding day, I'd highly recommend shooting before the ceremony. It really expands your options for what you're able to do. You're able to schedule in extra time to drive to a great location, time to get a wider variety of shots and just have a more relaxed photo shoot.
6. Spend the day with each other. Really, when you think about it, a wedding reception is a big party that the bride and groom are hosting. Everyone wants to talk to them, congratulate them, dance with them, etc. Yes, you'll probably spend most of the reception side by side, but you'll be talking to everyone else.
7. Get away from the stress. The few hours before the wedding is when parents, florists, friends helping to set up, etc. begin stressing over little details and begin to come and ask the bride for answers and you hear questions like these: "Do you want the flowers here, or six inches to the left?" or "We can't find the cake! Oh wait... we found it." All things that can work themselves out and if you're not available because you're off taking pictures, you never have to know, saving yourself a lot of stress!
I would like to repeat, in no way do I intend to ever talk a bride out of doing an aisle first look. If that's what you want for your wedding, that is what we will do. I am a very flexible photographer, and will shoot the wedding in whatever manner you choose.
It’s your love story. Brag a little.™
Bethany Melvin Photography is a Sioux Falls, SD wedding photographer who specializes in capturing love stories. Bethany Melvin Photography is based in the Midwest, but is available nationwide and for destination weddings. Have a question or want more information on booking? Contact Bethany today at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bethanymelvin.com