When planning your wedding there is a lot to consider and it can easily become overwhelming. One very important detail you take under consideration is “the first look”. How do you know if you should see your spouse before you walk down the aisle? Will it ruin a once in a lifetime experience? I present, for your consideration, my experience with “the first look”.
When approaching my wedding I was very pragmatic. I thought less of the whole romance of the thing and more of the logistics. Our wedding ceremony was at 6. If I did photos after the ceremony the party wouldn’t begin until very late in the evening. This means I would have to feed and entertain my guests for that extra time, at an extra cost. Essentially, thinking of that cost, and lull in the party, made my decision for me. Doing a “first look” just made sense with my timeline.
Was it the right decision?
No, I'm not asking if marrying my husband was the right choice (but if you question that daily during wedding planning, don’t worry, you're totally not alone). Was “the first look” the right decision? Did it spoil the walk down the aisle? Did I feel like I was missing a once in a lifetime opportunity?
My husband is my person. I don’t mean this in a “duh we all love our husbands that’s why we're marrying them” way. I mean Grey’s Anatomy “person”. That one person with whom you can totally, always, be completely yourself, no matter how messy or manic or embarrassing. For some people it’s their mom. For some, it’s a sister or best friend. For me, it's him. So my wedding prep was incomplete. I was having fun getting ready with my friends but I really needed my person there. I could never have gotten through the day without seeing him.
I don’t regret my first look at all. It gave me the strength to actually go to my own wedding. It wasn’t even a question of if I was missing out on a special moment while walking down the aisle. I was missing out on spending the most special day of my life with the most special person in my life. For me, the first look couldn’t come soon enough.
The First Look
Getting ready for the Big Moment on the Big Day carries pretty much the exact amount of pressure you imagine it will. You’ve been stressed out planning this big party for months. Now you're expected to look picture perfect on zero hours sleep and under enormous duress. So although I was enjoying getting my hair and make up done and spending time with my friends , I definitely wasn’t feeling it. I was secretly wondering if I could sneak out for a pack of smokes, if you know what I mean (and no, I don’t smoke).
The First Look changed all of that for me. I was meeting my soon-to-be husband at a building across the street. My photographer went across to set the scene before I joined. If you were worried you’d miss out on all the butterflies etc., don’t worry. You don’t. I literally thought I was going to faint. I don’t know if my dress was too tight or if I was just really anxious but I COULD NOT BREATHE! Luckily for me it was minus 40 so the walk across the street helped to cure my burning lungs.
And then there he was. I cannot describe the feeling. It was like literally nothing else in the world mattered. Like every stupid little problem wedding planning, every changed plan, every malfunction, every disappointment and stress just didn’t matter. He was standing there with his hands in his pockets and his hip to one side, tapping his foot nervously. He looked so very handsome in his dapper suit. I wanted to run to him like one of those puppies on YouTube. You know the ones that are reunited with their owners once they've come back from the war? They got nothing on me. My wedding team were fluffing my dress and fixing my lipstick and I wanted nothing more than to rush through them and be with him. It had all the feelings I felt walking down the aisle (and yes, all those feelings were still there) but with the added bonus of feeling like it was just the two of us and getting to spend some bonus time together before the wedding to laugh and be happy together.
I loved every moment of my first look and I think you will too.
Mrs. Hannah Chalifoux