The First Look in Detail – Q and A


Samantha-Ohlsen-Photography-Lord-Howe-Island-Wedding

Q and A with Kirsten and Damien gives you a great insight into how wonderful a First Look Experience is.

SHE SAID

Had you ever heard of a first look prior to Samantha Ohlsen suggesting it?
No

Why did you choose to do a first look? 
I liked the idea of being able to meet up beforehand in private rather than seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony

Did you have any reservations prior in doing a first look compared to the traditional groom sees bride first at the alter?
At first the idea was foreign to me, so I did have to contemplate it for a while, but at no time did I think, this is a bad idea, I just had to open my mind to the idea of it. It didn’t take me long to think that it was in fact quite an inspired idea…we could see each other for the first time without the stress of a whole bunch of other eyes on us. Brilliant!

What was it like as you arrived and you could see the back of Damien but not his face?
 I felt happy and excited.

What was it like as you walked towards him?
I thought it was fun to be able to creep up on him and know that this was going to be a surprise for him.

What was it like as you walked towards him?
I thought it was fun to be able to creep up on him and know that this was going to be a surprise for him.

 What was it like when you finally saw him for the first time?
I felt happy and it was nice to see his positive reaction. It was a special moment.

What was it like during the private photo shoot after the first look?
During the private photo shoot after the first look – I enjoyed the time after as it was calming to spend that time before the ceremony. It was a good opportunity to spend some time together before we had to encounter everyone else at the ceremony. It was fun, relaxed and a good decision.

What was your favourite part?
I loved having it in the cemetery. It is such a beautiful location and although it may not have been an obvious choice for some, for us it was the perfect location. It is a beautiful and secluded area on the island and we had time to enjoy each others company without much worry about any of our guests or other holiday makers being around. I don’t know that I had a favourite part as such but I did enjoy seeing Damien standing there waiting for me in this lovely spot and knowing that we would soon be able to see each other one more time before we became husband and wife.

Did it make the moment you saw each other at the wedding aisle any less special due to doing a first look?
Not at all

Were there any practical benefits to having a First Look?
We got the chance to take alot of photos. As we had a set timeframe in mind for the post ceremony photos this allowed us the opportunity to get additional shots that we otherwise would not have got.

Did anything I did or say at or leading up to the First Look make it more special or make it worse?
Nothing made it worse. I felt comfortable with you there and you were not obtrusive. You were clear on what we had to do in the lead up to the occasion, so I understood what I had to do and it was all very straight forward.

Would you recommend it to other friends?
Yes, I think it was a key element of our day and I am very grateful that you recommended this to us as I had never heard of it before. It is a moment I will treasure as I got time, with Damien, alone, before the ceremony and reception, which I would not have had otherwise. It really is such a fantastic idea and I love the photos from that section of the day. Some of my favourite photos that you took, are from those moments.

Do you have an overall testimonial quote that I could use summarising your first look experience?
For many reasons I feel so thankful that Sam was our photographer on the day and I really love that she introduced us to the concept of the “First Look”. What a great idea and it really added an unforgettable, private moment that Damien and I will treasure forever.

Any other info that you think should be passed onto other brides or grooms considering a first look?
Don’t hesitate in making a First Look part of your day. You won’t have any other oportunities until the very end of the night to be together and share time. It’s so worth it and I think it should be a wedding tradition here in Australia like it is in some other countries.

Any final comments?
The choice of the cemetery also had some symbolism for us as it was also a moment for those who are no longer with us in person, to be with us during this special part of our day.

HE SAID

Had you ever heard of a first look prior to Samantha Ohlsen suggesting it?
No, never heard of it.

Why did you choose to do a first look?
Sam explained that it was popular in America for a number of reasons, but the one reason that attracted me the most was that it provided an opportunity for us to meet each other in a calm, private environment and settle our nerves before the big event. From the moment of the ceremony onwards we would be in public view, and probably very busy talking to people and enjoying ourselves, right through to the end of the night. Having the first look promised us some quiet time together, to reassure ourselves that it was all going well and that the day would be as amazing as we’d hoped for.

Did you have any reservations prior in doing a first look compared to the traditional groom sees bride first at the alter?
 Not really. The promised benefits outweighed any concerns, and we were not really bound by convention in other parts of our wedding so we didn’t have a problem “breaking the rules” by having a first look. It was our wedding, and our choice to do it the way we wanted, and the first look appealed to both of us. So we did it!

What was it like as you waited with your back turned for Kristen to arrive?
I was excited to know that Kristen was coming and that I would see her soon, but while I was waiting I found it hard to focus on the moment that was coming. There were numerous other wedding planning issues filling my mind at that time, and it took a lot of effort to bring my attention back to the moment.

What was it like when you heard her approaching?
Kristen approached very quietly, so I didn’t know she was near until almost upon me. When I realised she was nearly there all worries about other issues flew out of my head and I was very excited to see her!

What was it like when she finally you tapped you on the shoulder and you turned around to see how stunning she looked?
Of course I had tried to avoid knowing anything about the dress, all I knew was that it was not in a traditional wedding dress style. When I saw her wearing such an elegant and timeless dress with such intricate lacework, along with simply perfect hair and makeup, I was truly speechless. She was so beautiful that it really took a long time for all the details of her look to sink in…. the more I looked the more amazing I thought Kristen was.

What was it like immediately afterwards?
Once the initial viewing was over, we were able to take the time to see how each other’s morning had gone, make sure we were happy with the process so far, and generally reassure ourselves that it was all going well. To me this was the biggest benefit of the whole first look experience: we were able to connect with each other, calmly and in private, after all the preparations had been done but before the public part of the day was about to begin. It made me much less anxious and worried about how the rest of the day would go, so I was actually able to enjoy the ceremony itself much more than I otherwise would.

 What was it like during the private photo shoot after the first look?
I felt quite calm during this time, and was enjoying taking our first photos together in our full finery. We were very fortunate to have selected a location that was both beautiful and private throughout the whole shoot.

Was it a special moment in your wedding day?
Yes, absolutely. If I was to plan the wedding again I would definitely include the first look. If anything I would allow more time for it, because some of the photos we took during the private shoot immediately after the first look were amongst my favourites from the whole day.

What was your favourite part?
The first look gave us the time to relax and calm each other prior to the ceremony itself, and made the rest of the day much more enjoyable.

Did it make the moment you saw each other at the wedding aisle any less special due to doing a first look?
Not at all. In fact I think it helped me enjoy the formal part of the wedding more, because I was much more relaxed and excited about the ceremony than I would have been otherwise.

Were there any practical benefits to having a First Look
Yes, we were able to take more posed photos by having a first look as part of our wedding day. The private shoot that occurred immediately after the first look was in a great location, and produced some excellent photos. Because we only had a relatively limited time between the ceremony and the reception, having the first look gave us the opportunity to take a lot more photos of us on our big day.

Did anything I did or say at or leading up to the First Look make it more special or make it worse?
Sam was great at encouraging us to calm down and enjoy the moment, and keep us focused on each other – which was the point of the day!

Did my presence at the first look detract from the overall experience?
No, not at all.

Would you recommend it to other friends?
Yes, and we have been doing so! When we show family and friends our wedding album, we have to explain what the first look is so they can understand what the photos are about. We are always very pleased to explain why we did the first look, because it definitely contributed to our overall enjoyment of our wedding (as well as giving us great photos!).

Do you have an overall testimonial quote that I could use summarising your first look experience?
Doing a “First Look” was one of the best things Sam suggested to us. I am so glad we did it, because it allowed us to enjoy some private time together in the middle of our big day before the whirlwind of the ceremony and reception. It was a very calming, intimate moment and it gave us great photos too!

Any other info that you think should be passed onto other brides or grooms considering a first look
Don’t be afraid to consider unusual locations, as they may be the most private and also give some unexpectedly beautiful photos. The most important thing I would be looking for in a first look location is that it be private and secluded. We were able to relax during our first look, because we knew it was very unlikely that any wedding guests (or anyone else, for that matter) would stumble upon us during the shoot.