When discussing wedding plans with my client, I always ask if they would like a first look. Most of the time, couples prefer to stick with tradition and opt not to see each other until the bride walks down the aisle. Usually the discussion ends there after explaining the benefits and drawbacks.
So let’s get to the definition of a “first look”. A first look is a private moment when a couple sees each other for the first time on their wedding day right before the ceremony. It is a tradition that has been trending over the last couple of years and couples are breaking old norms to enjoy this moment. But for couples that believe it is back luck to see your partner before the ceremony, an alternative option to the first look is available.
About a couple years ago, one of my clients asked if we could arrange for them to do a first prayer, while making sure they couldn’t see each other. We were more than happy to help them create this moment and agreed to help. Not sure if the term “First Prayer” is actually an industry term but for now let’s use it to describe the process. First Prayer is when the couple gets together without seeing one other and hold hands for a prayer right before the ceremony. This requires close coordination to ensure that the couple does not see each other and we typically blindfold both the bride and groom. Once the couple begins the prayer, we capture portraits of them.
Once those portraits were posted to our IG page, they became very popular. In our pre-wedding meeting with our following clients for the year, we bought up the idea of the First Prayer and they agreed to it.
Benefits of the First Prayer, is that it allows more portraits of the two you together in an intimate setting without seeing each other before the wedding ceremony. You will still be able to get that moment of seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony, which generally still important for most couples. You can choose the location for your first prayer, but you must keep the schedule in mind if you choose somewhere distant from either the bridal/groom suite. If kept to a reduced amount of time (10 to 20 minutes), it can work well for a jam-packed day.
Some of the drawbacks of a First Prayer is that if your wedding day runs late, you will lose out on time and that means less time for portraits and all of the key activities ends up being shortened or cut out of the day. Unlike a first look, you may miss an opportunity to get in some family formal portraits before the ceremony, which allows you to enjoy your cocktail hour. You may need to get a little touch up of your hair and makeup before the ceremony due to high emotions from this event. If you decide to have a First Prayer outdoors, your dress may get dirty due to the risk of picking up dust, dirt or leaves. As photographers, we will try our best to keep you protected from the outside elements but there are elements that slip through the cracks.
In general, if you want to mimic a moment similar to the First Look without actually seeing each other, First Prayer is certainly a good option to consider. Of course this option would work best for couples that are religious and believes in the power of prayer. For couples who are spiritual or non-believers, you can also share a similar experience without having to pray.
Camera Used: Sony A7 Series (A7II, A7S, & A7III)