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When I got married in 1999, there was no such thing as The First Look. The first time my fiancé saw me in my dress was as I walked down the aisle on our wedding day. Now, if I do say so myself, I was looking pretty amazing that day. All of those months I spent envisioning my dress, my hair and makeup, my jewelry and shoes, all of the details that I secretly fantasized about, had all come together and I felt truly beautiful. I imagined his reaction and my heart fluttered in anticipation as I began my walk toward my groom.

But, all I got was a big smile. A smile is nice and everything, but with a grand total of 3.5 seconds before the ceremony began, there wasn’t time for him to really appreciate how stunning (he later told me) I looked. The officiant began speaking and before we knew it we were headed back up the aisle, quickly enveloped into the loving arms of all 125 guests. And then the martinis started flowing and the dance floor was buzzing and suddenly it was 3am, at which point, we fell on the bed of our hotel room, exhausted. And I remember asking him, “so, did you like my dress?”

Let’s face it. Every girl dreams of her wedding and how she will look as a bride. She wants to be THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN THE WORLD, for just one night. She imagines every last detail down to the row of buttons on the back of her dress, the way her necklace falls perfectly onto her neckline and the way her earrings will sparkle against her skin. And hearing her partner’s reaction and seeing the look on his or her face after an entire year of keeping it a secret is one of those moments so many of us dream about. I know I certainly did.

This is where the FIRST LOOK comes in. And, the good news is: it’s not just a fleeting moment; it’s a whole visit. A private, slow-paced, leisurely walk towards each other, taking it all in, whether it’s a sweet skip or a sexy saunter – it’s a time set aside just for the two of you that is all yours. A time to connect before the chaos of the day begins, a time to talk, kiss, cry, embrace and, of course, hear all the things: how stunning you look, how gorgeous your dress is and how excited you both are to finally have arrived at this long-awaited day you have designed together. It is the one time of the day that is just yours.

Aside from all of the gushing compliments and heart-fluttering, there are also a multitude of logistical benefits to doing a First Look that any photographer or wedding planner will talk your ear off about if you let them. Most importantly, your photographer will take care of all the family and wedding party photos immediately following your First Look. This means that as soon as you say “I do” and seal it with a kiss, you are walking straight into your cocktail hour and grabbing a sparkling glass of champagne and a delicious appetizer. No need to sneak away and miss your cocktail hour because you have to take photos. The wedding is all yours and you will be free to celebrate and soak up every last minute with your guests! Another huge benefit of doing a First Look are the images that will be captured during that time. These are often some of the most romantic and stunning images of the day. (I carry tissue in my pocket for this moment. Oh, there’s some in there for you, too...but most of them are for me).

Lastly, for the lucky one standing at the end of the aisle waiting to begin this new chapter, remember that the moment she walks down the aisle doesn’t get deleted just because you do a First Look. It’s an opportunity for you to witness the guests seeing her for the first time, which is pretty darn cool according to all of the grooms I’ve talked to about this. So I say, go for it! Your photographer and wedding planner will take care of the timeline. All you have to do is walk towards one another and soak up every last second of the moment you will first lay eyes on each other: a moment you will never forget.

#firstlook #bridal

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