FAQ: First Look

I loved my wedding day. Every moment was absolute perfection. The flowers were beautiful, my friends and family were close, the ceremony was personal and honest and our reception was a throw down dance party. It was magical and full of love, and I couldn't imagine it any other way. I want that for you. I want your wedding day to be better than you could have dreamed it. I want every moment to be precious, and more than anything, I want those moments to be yours. So if you can't imagine your perfect day without surprising your groom as you walk down the aisle, I want you to do it that way. This post is not for you. This post is for those of you who are on the fence - stuck perhaps between the pull of tradition and the demand of your wedding day schedule. I want to share with you why I chose to see Robert before our ceremony.

I got a lot of funny looks when I told people that Robert and I were going to see each other before the ceremony. Some said I would regret not having my dramatic entrance. Some said it would take away from the awe of my descent down the aisle. Some said it would bring bad luck. I'm here to tell you that none of these things were true. I knew early on that I wanted to see Robert before our ceremony, because I didn't want to share our first moments together on that day in front of a crowd. I wanted to be able to hold him and kiss him. I wanted to talk to him and pray with him. I wanted to hold his hand, look into his eyes and take a moment to reflect on the commitment we were about to make. And I wanted to do it alone. My wedding day was perfect. I was the picture of serenity and peace, and seeing Robert early in the day helped me achieve that peace. My day would not have been as perfect without this moment:

As I said before, if you have always dreamed of having your moment as you walk down the aisle, this is not for you. But for those of you who know you can't navigate the stress and craziness of your wedding day without your best friend beside you, you are not alone. I will never forget what Becky told me when we were planning the schedule for her wedding day. "Josh and I are going to see each other before the ceremony. You are welcome to take pictures from a distance, but I don't want to see you. I don't want to see anyone but Josh."

Some brides and grooms choose to see each other before the ceremony so that they have plenty of time for pictures without having to miss any of their reception. This is a great motivator! And it doesn't have to take away from the intimacy of your moment. You can shape it however you want to. You can still walk down the aisle and find him waiting for you. You can sneak up behind him and cover his eyes. You can be as playful or as somber as you want, and you can still have those moments captured forever.

Your wedding day should be about you - the two of you. Who you are. How you got here. Who you'll become together. It should be a day full of hopeful expectation, and you should be able to enjoy it together. Unfortunately, the demands of having a hundred or so of your closest friends and family around often means that you don't get to truly be alone until you're headed for your honeymoon. This is another reason why having a first look can be so valuable. It might be the only time during your wedding day when you just get to breathe deep and enjoy being together without someone grabbing you to smile for their new Facebook picture or to introduce you to your cousin's step-brother's girlfriend's great aunt Sally. Choose to make time for the two of you.

PS. These next few photos prove that there is no emotion lost when you see each other before the ceremony!

Your wedding day is exactly that - yours. Don't feel like you have to bend to tradition or to the desires of your family in order to do it the "right" way. There is no right way. Solid marriages aren't built on luck - they're built on friendship, trust and prayer. And as a bride who has been there and done that, I can promise you - your walk down the aisle will be a treasured memory whether you've already seen each other or not, because in 30 or so steps, you walk into a new life. Together.