Wedding Week: First Look

Today is our one year wedding anniversary! 

I'm having some trouble settling on exactly how I want to go about breaking all the wedding goodies up over 5 days of blog posts, but I thought I'd start by chatting about one of my favorite wedding decisions of all - having a first look!

Originally, I was a little bit torn on whether or not to have a first look. I was very clear all along that photography was one of my top priorities for our wedding day, so I loved the idea of having those first couple of (semi-)private moments documented forever. But I was also somewhat traditional and loved the idea of not seeing each other until I walked down the aisle in church. Eventually, two things helped make my decision to have a first look:

1. I learned that the tradition behind the bride and groom not seeing each other until the wedding has to do with arranged marriages where the two had literally never met before, and therefore not seeing each other until the ceremony knocked down on the chances of runaway brides (or grooms). That obviously didn't apply to us, so tradition wasn't going to stop me!

2. I am an extremely anxious and nervous person (that's an understatement), and I literally wasn't sure I would make it down the aisle without fainting, getting sick, or both if I hadn't already seen Dan. Even with a first look, I was still a complete mess walking down the aisle and the pictures of that time go from me looking like I saw a ghost, to complete and sheer joy, and everything in between. So, seeing Dan alone first (with only our photographers and videographer there) gave me a few minutes with him to calm me down and get ready for our ceremony.

I should note that Dan left this decision completely up to me, and although he found the idea of standing and waiting for me in the backyard of our church while people took pictures of him a little bit awkward, he did it for me, and I am eternally grateful. And as anticipated, these are some of my absolute favorite photos from the entire day.

I love how excited we both look in the photo above. While I had seen Dan in his suit before, I had never seen his entire outfit all together with the tie and everything, and he hadn't seen ANY part of my day-of wear, with the exception of my earrings. It was incredible to see each other and get to have that final "here we go!" together.

Note to future brides: if it rains all morning and you don't want your dress to get dirty before church, at least bunch it up on the side your photographers aren't on. I can't stand how my dress looks above and in a couple of the other pictures, but there are worse things.

I, of course, cried, but did a decent job of holding it together for the sake of my makeup.

After a couple of quick photos and a good few minutes calming myself down, we walked over to church together, ready to get married. Again, I cannot stand how my dress looks here, but overall I love the photo and the fact that we're walking in to church together for our wedding.

For anyone wondering, my walk down the aisle with my dad was no less special having seen Dan beforehand. I was still a mess of every single emotion under the sun, and I am so, so grateful that I had my dad to hold my arm and make sure I didn't fall. It was still incredibly exciting seeing Dan at the end of the aisle waiting for me, and although we had seen each other prior, it was such a thrill walking through church knowing I was heading towards my soon-to-be husband. For me, having all of these special photos and those first few minutes alone ahead of time made it all worth it. 

Did you do a first look at your wedding? If you aren't married yet, how do you feel about first looks?