I want to start writing a bit about different takes on wedding traditions. I love it when my clients put their own spin on the typical wedding day events and I think it makes the day more fun and meaningful when they personalize it.
Today I want to talk about is the first look, which is the first time that the couple sees each other in their wedding clothes. This also ties into the processional down the aisle and the usual bride being given away by her father.
The First Look
Many photographers try to convince their clients to do a first look before the wedding. Their main reasons are to have more time to spend on portraits and also to get a clear and intimate shot of the couple seeing each other for the first time that day. I think it can also reduce the nervousness many people feel about walking down that aisle in front of all their guests. I personally love it because it allows the day to flow more naturally from the ceremony to the reception, possibly eliminating that huge gap where the guests wander aimlessly while the couple has their portraits taken. However, I don’t try to convince my clients to do things a certain way; I want them to schedule their day in a way that best suits them.
Below are some photos from that first moment my clients saw each other before the ceremony.
The Anti-First Look
Some couples choose to forgo the first look altogether and get ready together. I’ve experienced this mostly with same sex couples, most of whom chose not to have it documented. I think it’s a great option for any couple who wants to feel a bit more relaxed before the ceremony and also get some sweet candid photos of the two of them while they prep for the big day.
Giving the Bride Away
The traditional wedding ceremony includes the bride being walked down the aisle by her father and given away to the groom at the altar. Some couples have stepped away from this tradition for various reasons: some because the idea of the bride’s parents giving her to her husband is old fashioned, some because they want to include different family members in this ritual, and for various other reasons.
During one of my wedding rehearsals, the officiant asked “who gives this woman to this man?” and her father stood up and said “she gives herself away,” which I thought was pretty awesome. He did still walk her down the aisle the next day.
One of my brides chose to have her divorced mother and father walk her down the aisle, which is a great way to include both sides of a divided family. Another bride had both her birth father and adoptive father give her away. For weddings where the bride’s father wasn’t able to attend, they’ve had their mother or an uncle walk them down the aisle.
Some couples choose to walk down the aisle together, which I think is a lovely way of showing that the day is about them as a couple and not placing such a focus on the big white dress.
Below are some photos of my favourite processional I’ve seen. The couple had done a first look prior to the ceremony. The bride walked down the stairs at Sea Cider to meet the groom at the bottom and then they walked down the aisle together. When they got to the front row, they hugged their immediate family members. It was the sweetest moment between the couple and their families.
I’d love people to consider putting their own spin on these traditions more often. Make your wedding completely your own, because it’s all about the two of you.
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