Though we initially went back and forth about whether to do a first look, this moment ended up being truly special and a lot of fun. My preconception was that I shouldn't see Heather in her gown until she came down the aisle at the ceremony. However, as Heather explained more about what the first look entailed, I warmed up to the idea.
In the months leading up to the wedding, I took great pains to avoid learning any details about Heather's dress. If I was using the digital camera, I couldn't look through the saved photos. If there was a phone conversation regarding the dress, I had to make sure I was in a different room. Most difficult of all, I had to carry the dress through the Chicago-O'Hare airport and try not to backlight the opaque garmet bag or pick out any details. (Although I did quickly learn that the dress was REALLY heavy). Even though it made life a bit more complicated, I'm glad the details were unknown to me, because it made the first look very exciting.
The setup our photographer devised was really simple. I stood in the entranceway at Gardens of the World with my back facing the direction from which Heather would come. As soon as I was in place, I realized that I was facing a glass door through which I could not only see my groomsmen waiting inside, but also the reflection of anyone coming up behind me! I quickly averted my eyes so that I wouldn't spoil the first look.
The funny thing is that when Heather did come up and lightly tap me on the shoulder, I turned around, and the first thing that blew me away was just seeing her face. Don't get me wrong, the dress was fantastic, but that split second of recognition and joy to see her meant everything. Only after that first embrace did I truly notice the dress. At that point, I was especially glad I hadn't seen the it ahead of time, because it made for such an awesome surprise.
Would I have had the same reaction if we'd waited until the ceremony to see each other? I would like to think so, but it definitely would've been different standing in a large church surrounded by a crowd of people. Personally, I think the first look before the ceremony allowed for a more intimate and personal way to see each other. I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to other couples.
What are your fiance's thoughts about doing a first look? Do his views differ from yours?
(Photo Credit: Alex Neumann Photography; Video Credit: Max MacIver Videography)