The First Look is such a ‘should we?’ question. Is it ok to see each other before the ceremony? Does it break tradition? Is it bad luck? – all these things ran through my head when deciding if we should do it. When speaking to family and friends there were plenty for and against – but the hardest was hearing from my mother being completely against it. I considered doing it without telling anyone – our little secret. But being surrounded by family and the bridal party before the ceremony, I knew there was no chance.

When it came to the actual day I had the nervous giddy excitement of seeing my man at the end of the aisle for the first time it was such a mix bag of emotions. Not just for me but for him also. When I made it to the aisle we spent the first minute telling each other how nice we looked and wasn’t really involved in the ceremony. After the ceremony, the only time we really had together was in the van to and from the wedding photos – time for it to sink in, that this was our wedding day.

Looking back I wish we did do it, made time to do it, despite what everyone’s thoughts and opinions were. Its your day, do it your way is my biggest piece of advice to any Bride.

So to help you in your decision I have brought in the fabulous Leezett Finau from Finau Photography to talk about the ‘First Look’ and the key points to a successful one.

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Last year I wrote a entry for our blog about the First Look concept and introduced some readers for the first time about the benefits it held for couples and photographers..  You  can read our blog here – http://finauphotographyfiji.blogspot.com/2012/03/first-look-why-its-great-idea.html

Since then, its become quite a popular read and helped many couples decide if a First Look is something for them for their special day.

As I am now a veteran at First Looks, I can honestly say that there is lots I have learnt and I thought I would share some insight about this fabulous concept that I love and if you did decide to go ahead, how to have a “Successful” first look for your wedding day.

If you haven’t read the blog above, I strongly suggest at this point in time you do so you understand fully the concept and the benefits it holds.

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Timing is everything to have a successful First Look.

Its ideal to discuss your First look plans with others who are a big part of your wedding day, such as family and friends. They need to support your decision and help you be on time.

Also discuss time frames with your hair and makeup stylist. They may need to start earlier if you have chosen a first look. Don’t forget about your resort wedding coordinator, they too need to understand that its important for you and they need to be given the time frames in order for things to run smoothly, especially if buggies or resort transport is required. I have seen first looks nearly ruined simply because of lack understanding and communication with key people on the big day.

Set aside roughly an hour for the first look and couples portraits. I typically organize the First Look 1.5 hours prior to the ceremony giving the couple time to get refreshed and in position for their big presentation.

If you really want to spend no time away from your guests after the ceremony, then arrange for your bridal party to meet up with you after your first look and during the couples portraits session. Its fun to have a bridal party first look and it makes great candid photos.

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A first look honestly does not rob a couple from that moment when a bride walks toward her groom at the alter or ceremony location.

One of the biggest concerns couples have in choosing a First Look is. Are we going to rob ourselves from that special moment as we come together to say our vows? It certainly helps with nerves, particularly for the groom. But I have never not seen at a wedding ceremony, that emotion in a couples eyes that have just done a first look. The emotions are still there, the feeling of excitement is still there and even though they have seen each other already, that moment of magic is definitely still there. Remember that during the first look, the groom does not watch as the bride approaches. He has his back turned and cannot turn around until she gives him permission to do so. This is done so that the moment of her walking toward him to be his wife is not taken away during the First Look.

Often a bride will make the effort to keep some things aside for the ceremony only and not have it present with her at the First Look such as her bouquet, her veil or headpiece, if there is a train, have it bustled up so that with these added features at the ceremony, she has another surprise installed for her awaiting groom.

I once had a bride whom chose a different outfit and hair style for her first look than what she wore for her wedding ceremony. Hair n Mkp Perfectionist were the stylists for their wedding and it literally took them another 20 mins to have her hair up for the ceremony and dressed in her bridal gown.  It didn’t take much time at all and certainly surprised her groom when she arrived. There are a few things that can be done in order to remove this concern.

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Be open to moving outside the resort to find the perfect location for privacy and photos.

Sometimes resorts are not the most private when it comes to a first look. Couples want to see each other, but don’t want guests seeing them before their big moment. Some resorts are fabulous for privacy, others are smaller and have limited options. Discuss this in advance with your photographer and see if they know your resort well and what suggestions they have for your first look. If you do move off location for your First Look, remember timing is everything and allocate time for transporting to and from your chosen location.

Have no expectations on how the first look is going to happen.

Sometimes there is emotion, sometimes there is giggles and excitement and other times its quiet and no words are needed. Let the moment be what it is and enjoy it for what it is.

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Allow 10 minutes around sunset for those gorgeous sunset shots

Its totally worth it!

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Images by Finau Photography / http://www.finauphotographyfiji.com