Many modern day couples have shifted away from the traditional pre-marriage lifestyle to a more modern approach (extended engagements, living together prior to marriage, etc), so has the “traditional” wedding approach. Today's couples have begun taking many of their formal wedding photos prior to the ceremony. While some people may feel that it takes away from the “first look” they remember from a bride walking down the aisle, there are ways to capture that “first look” in a more intimate and custom pre-ceremony setting.
When wedding photos are done prior to the ceremony the photographer can include a ‘first look’ or ‘unveiling’ session. This session can be done with just the bride and groom or it can involve family and close friends as well. Generally, the groom will stand with his back to the bride as she walks into the room. Once the mood is set, and everything is in place, the groom will turn around for the desired ‘first look’ reaction. Couples can hug, kiss, or even exchange precious words with each other that will always be remembered.
Doing a first look allows couples more time to actually enjoy their wedding day. By seeing each other 2 hours beforehand they can get all of the portraits out of the way (or at least the bride and groom ones), have a 30 minute break before the ceremony, take some formals after the ceremony and then go to enjoy their cocktail hour. Many brides and grooms don’t ever get to see their cocktail hour because they are off taking pictures. By doing a first look you are able to mingle with your guests during the cocktail hour so that you can actually sit down and enjoy the meal that you, undoubtedly, paid a lot of money for and then enjoy every second of the entertainment part of your reception.