Let’s be honest with ourselves, we knew we couldn’t wait for the wedding day to keep Diego from seeing me in the dress. I had been secretly slipping into it every night for just a few minutes (Friends-styling it), before hanging it back up in its garment bag when I knew he was coming. And after my final fitting, I bolted for the dry cleaner just in case they closed early and I’d have to wait for 24 more hours. Let’s just say I was big on the whole dress part of this thing, and it was all I could do to hide it from my to-be-husband.
So when my amazing photographer friend insisted that we shoot a first look, I was all in. I opted to do the shoot at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. We arrived at 6am, and the park that’s usually a feeding frenzy for loud tourists felt more like I’m at a European Estate somewhere on the southern border of France. In retrospect, I’m so glad we did this shoot, mostly because my photographer ended up losing every photo from the wedding (i’ll tell the story in the next post) and these became the most cherished documentation of our wedding. But also because I felt far less pressure on the day of the wedding to get every shot. I already had a fall back. For those of you still debating whether or not to go for it, here are my top reasons why I’m glad I did a first look shoot.
GET MORE INTIMATE PHOTOS
The wedding day is splendid, but there are very few moments where you will be alone with your new husband. Doing a first look shoot allows you to spend some more intimate time together a day before the day actually starts to be in the moment as long you want. For us, it was a really honest and raw moment. I loved how intimate these photos feel in this moment before the ceremony and the cheering and clapping.
GET THAT SUNRISE PORTRAIT
Sure, the wedding venue affords many photo opportunities. That’s a big part of why you chose it. But no venue offers everything you wanted. Maybe you wanted that garden shot or that sunrise lighting (or if you’re having a winter wedding, any kind of decent lighting) that you’d miss while doing nuptials. Maybe you found an old staircase that fits perfectly with the style of your dress. Here’s your chance to get those shots you know you can’t get on the big day.
GET THAT SHOT YOU WOULDN’T THINK TO GET
We were doing a destination wedding of sorts, returning home to Salt Lake City. and I wanted some pictures that captured where we met and fell in love. I’m glad we did these because now I will always be able to look back at these and remember the places where our story started.
GET FORMALS OUT OF THE WAY
Who are you kidding? The dreaded family portraits is everyone’s least favorite part of the day, and with the time crunch that is every wedding, this will take some stress out of the day by getting those obligatory formals done ahead of time. And if you’re feeling super proactive, you can get the wedding party shots out of the way as well.
Sure, it’s a bit of a logistical inconvenience (I planned it right after I had hit the salon for a hair touch-up and got my nails done just in time for this), but I will cherish these photos for the rest of my life.
Photographer: the amazing Sarah Wight with Darrington Photography. My top recommendation if you’re based in New York.