As you plan your wedding you’ll be faced with a myriad of decisions to make. Some of them will be big and important and probably cause some stress and anxiety. Others will be small and insignificant and probably cause some stress and anxiety. Some decisions of course will seem small, but carry a lot of weight in the long run. Those are the trickiest, and the one I struggled with the most was whether or not to have a first look.
Initially when the question was posed to my now-husband and I the answer was short and simple. No. No we didn’t want to see each other before the ceremony. No we didn’t want a private first glimpse. We didn’t want to stage a first look for the sake of great photographs. We would rather forgo the perfectly photographed moment in favor of simply living in the real moment. Maybe the photographer would capture the expressions and emotions on our faces, or maybe all we would have was the memory of the feeling and the electricity in the room. No, we did not want a first look.
Or did we? I started to peruse first look pictures and began to think I want those pictures. Yes, I want a first look. I want a private moment alone with my fiancé as we are perched to be joined together forever. I want a moment out of the hubbub of the day to remember why we are doing this. I want a veritable flip-book of action as I walk up to him, tap him on his shoulder, and he cries the most beautiful tears of joy. Obviously.
Or maybe I don’t want that. I wavered back and forth, and I imagine other couples have done the same thing. There is some middle ground available. One of us could have been blindfolded as we said a few words to one another. We could have stood on opposites sides of a door with no peeking, but ultimately we decided to reveal ourselves in real-time as I walked down the aisle. I occasionally pine for first looks as I scroll through Pinterest, and I still see both sides of the argument as equal and valid.
But our decision yielded a perfect series of photos that invites the viewer to follow the eyes of the subject like a patron sitting for a portrait. In one of my favorite photos all you see is a close-up of my husband’s face. He looks serene, wistful and thoroughly mesmerized. I love to look at that photo and know that I am the object of his gaze. I especially love it because the next photo is of my own face: eyes forward, resolute, determined, fated. Lastly, there are my mother’s eyes looking at me as I look at my husband; they beam with pride. The images separately are almost more powerful than they would be together, and what isn’t seen is almost as important as what is. I don’t know that a first look would have captured that sentiment quite so well, but I have already made my decision and now it’s your turn.