By Michelle Ray

 

When I speak with my couples about planning their photography for their wedding, I always ask them if they want to plan a first look. Most people in today’s day are familiar with the first look. But just in case someone is wondering what that means, this means that a couple will choose to have an intimate moment where the couple sees each other prior to the actual moment of walking down the aisle.
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Admittedly, I am biased. But for good reason! When a couple chooses to plan a first look they will receive about 20% more photos from me in their final gallery. This includes a very raw and special moment shared just between them and captured by me. Some couples like planning a first look because they can relieve some jittery fears. Other couples enjoy having the first look and the family formals completed prior to the wedding which allows the couple to mingle with guest during cocktail hour.
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However, sometimes my couples long for the traditional “first look in the aisle” option. This means they will lock eyes on each other as they join hands in matrimony in front of their guests. The sacredness of this moment cannot be minimized. Some couples choose this option simply because they value tradition. Others may choose a traditional first look because their parents did the same. And yes some of the couples I have worked with believe that seeing their partner before the ceremony is bad luck.
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But one thing that I like to propose to my couples, for the sake of preserving the sacredness of a traditional first look in the aisle, is a “First Moment”. It’s an alternative to seeing one another prior to the ceremony. The couple may choose to stand back to back and read a card to each other or they may take turns opening gifts. Yet other couples who value the incorporation of personal faith and/or a faith community may include a moment of prayer.  This can be a powerful and sacred moment. All the while, this allows a couple to maintain a traditional wedding first look.
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During my consultations, I always tell my couples, that I will tell them the truth, that I am biased, but that I will 100% support whatever choice that they make. I encourage them to join in unity over this important wedding decision. Sometimes couples feel pressured to make decisions based on outside influences and I remind them that there is no right or wrong decision. What’s most important is that when they look back on their photos in 5/15/50 years from now, that they are so so happy!
Photos by Michelle Ray Photography
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Michelle Ray  is a military spouse living in Northern Virginia who is passionate about shooting green weddings. She is working on a green wedding planning certification, a wedding planning course, a green business certification, and a book that will help couples planning a wedding. (Stay tuned on IG to connect and for more info!) In the meantime, check out Michelle’s involvement with The Kind Bride World’s First Ever Vegan Bridal Show. Read Michelle’s articles