The First Look

When I mention a "first look" to a couple, some of them nod their head in fuzzy recognition that they may or may not know what on earth I'm talking about. If you aren't a bridal magazine addict or a wedding blog daily subscriber, you may not be familiar with the term "first look."

The short and sweet definition is a moment when the groom first lays eyes on the bride in her dress prior to the ceremony. The first look creates an intimate and emotional moment between the couple where they can have a few calm moments together before the craziness of the wedding day begins. Having a hug, kiss, prayer, or loving words with your beloved is a beautiful way to soothe your soul and calm your nerves before the marriage ceremony begins.

The first look is a fairly new trend of the past several years and is slowly becoming a more standard part of the wedding day timeline. It has also become one of the best opportunities to capture raw emotion. The groom might more freely shed tears alone with his bride than at the end of the aisle in front of all guests. Photographers, videographers and couples have creatively expounded on this idea. From stepping down a beautifully adorned hallway, to blindfolding the groom, to peeking around a barn door, the first look can capture one of the most special moments of the day!

While the first look trend is growing, the tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other until the ceremony is just as popular. There is still something special about having the big reveal from behind church doors, around a corner or down a staircase. How does your "average" Gather Together bride opt? We find that it's nearly 50/50, with about half of our brides going the traditional route and half opting to do a first look. Here are some traditional and nontraditional "first looks" between our couples...

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Meredith & Johnathan's sweet embrace during their first look at the church. Pure emotion! - Noelle Studios Photgraphy

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Nisha & Lars share a sweet kiss during their first look - Robin Lin Photography

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Kate is all smiles during her first look with James at Duke Chapel - J.B. Haygood Photography

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Ashley & Lucas opted for an alternative "first look;" they didn't see each other but instead held hands on either side of a door and said a prayer before the ceremony - Shea Halliburton Photography

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Ashley still had some nerves waiting with her dad - Shea Halliburton Photography

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But wow, what do you think of Lucas' face when he finally sees her?! - Shea Halliburton Photography

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Holly shares a sweet moment with her dad; they did their own special "first look" - Millie Holloman Photography

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Holly approaches Doug with a tap on the shoulder. - Millie Holloman Photography

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An emotional embrace, in the most beautiful setting - Millie Holloman Photography

How do you plan to create your first look? Or will you be the blushing bride that stands at the beginning of the aisle, making eye contact for the first time with your betrothed as you walk to your future? Whether before or after the ceremony, the first time the bride and groom see each other is one of the most special moments of the day.

'Til we Gather Together again...

- Samantha