Happy Wednesday, everyone! (I’ve started feeling like this introduction is a bit of a copout, but I wish everyone Happy *insert day* so often that I can’t do anything else.) I hope you’re having a lovely week — the past few days have been a bit harder than expected for me, but so many of you have reached out to offer your prayers and given words of support. I don’t have the words for how much that means to me and my family, so thank you.
I wanted to lighten things up a little with my second-ever #WeddingWednesday post! This is my favorite blog series ever, so I’m excited. (This is also my only blog series ever, but I digress.) I brainstormed so many topics as I was planning these posts and knew one of my first wedding blogs would have to be about wedding first looks. People feel so strongly about them that it’s actually become pretty divisive!
When my husband told me he didn’t want to do a wedding first look, I told him we’d respect his wishes, since he didn’t have many wedding-related opinions. I don’t think Vagner fits the “bored male fiancé” trope that’s so common — he was just so busy with school and work when we got engaged that I was happy to do the bulk of planning. But after one conversation with our photographers, I realized that not doing a first look would make it majorly hard for us to get all of the pictures we wanted.
I can’t lie, I was disappointed. I wanted to give Vagner the freedom to make decisions during the planning process, and it was important to him that he didn’t see me before the ceremony. But doing a first look ended up being one of the best wedding decisions we made. In fact, it was Vagner’s favorite part of the whole day!
I seriously couldn’t pick a favorite because I love all of the pictures so much. I mentioned this on Instagram, but our first look was featured on BuzzFeed Weddings, which is pretty much the coolest I’ll ever get. But more importantly than that, it had tangible benefits!
1. It Saves You Time
If you want to spend cocktail hour drinking and eating hors d’oeuvres with the people you love, a first look will come in clutch. You’ll be able to get in extra pictures before the ceremony, which means your guests won’t be hungrily awaiting your arrival once the reception starts. We gained an hour of shooting time beforehand thanks to our first look and got even more use out of our photographers.
2. You’ll Feel Less Nervous
I wasn’t nervous leading up to our wedding, but Vagner hates being in the spotlight. One of the most incredible things about our first look is that we left feeling so excited for the actual wedding. All of my worries about whether I’d cry off my makeup (spoiler: I did) faded, and I could only focus on the incredible man I was marrying!
3. It Makes Things Even More Emotional
One of the most common concerns I hear is that it’ll make the walk down the aisle less special or the couple won’t cry the second time around. You don’t have to cry for it to be meaningful, but if you want to cry, you should remember that you don’t have a well of tears that will run out. You’ll have plenty of time to start feeling emotional again before the ceremony.
4. You Can Surprise Your Spouse
This sweet guy wrote me AN ENTIRE SONG for our first look, and I was shook. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so happy and loved in my entire life, and it was so special that no one else was there except for our photo and video vendors. I wouldn’t have been comfortable with Vagner singing to me in front of 160 wedding guests, so it was the perfect surprise for me.
5. The Pictures Are To Die For
Y’all probably guessed that I’m big on pictures based on the whole blog thing, but I have to emphasize just how meaningful our first look pictures are. We’re both super expressive, but we wouldn’t have shown this much emotion with a ton of people watching us.
And if I still haven’t convinced you to do a first look with your soon-to-be spouse, spring for a first look with your dad! It was another highlight.
Ayana Lage is a fashion and lifestyle blogger based in Tampa, Florida with a background in digital media and content marketing. She’s worked for Bustle, the Tampa Bay Times, the Miami Herald, and numerous freelance clients. As a blogger, she’s worked with 50+ lifestyle, fashion, travel and food brands. When she’s not blogging, she’s focused on her day job in digital marketing, watching Queer Eye, or laughing aloud at tweets from @dril.