Doing a First Look* (i.e. seeing each other before the ceremony)was something we debated a lot about in the beginning. When we first met Jon and Emily last summer they asked us about it and it hadn’t even occurred to me at that point. This, mind you, was naive bride-to-be Jessi, before I became wedding blog stalker Jessi. Over the next few months I fell in love with the idea and so we decided to do a First Look at St. Catherine’s before the guests started arriving.
The plan was for the guys and girls to take portraits separately then meet at the chapel at 5 so that Jacob and I could do our First Look, take some pictures of just the two of us for 15 minutes or so, and then squeeze in as many full bridal party shots as possible before 5:30. As I mentioned before, we barely left the Garden Room in time to make to St. Catherine’s at 5. When I got there however, no Jacob. For the second time that day (the first being when I saw my bouquet, but that’s another blog post), I had a bridezilla moment. I’m not proud of it, but it happened and I’m trying to document our wedding with complete honestly. We were running late, and I got mad. All of his groomsmen got there and still no Jacob. Meanwhile, I was waiting (impatiently) in the chapel so I could stay out of the heat and not risk Jacob seeing me when he got there. Fifteen minutes or so (although it felt like an hour) later, my groom arrived. To be fair, on the wedding day schedule that Shannon passed out at the rehearsal dinner it said bridal party pictures at 5 and First Look at 5:15 so he was told 5:15. Note to self: for my next wedding, plan extra time for everything. Just kidding. Kind of ;)
Regardless, as soon as Jacob finally arrived my anger melted to excitement. I was so excited to show him the dress that I’d been painstakingly hiding for a year and half. No one talks about how impossible it is to keep the most, arguably, important garment you even own a complete secret from your best friend and roommate. He waited for me with his back turned in a secluded little area by the chapel. We were alone except for Jon and Emily who covertly taking pictures, but I didn’t even notice.
(it’s a pet name we call each other, don’t ask)
Before we knew it, it was 5:30. We opted not to take any full bridal party shots because I didn’t want to risk being seen by the guests. As soon as we saw the first car come around the corner of the long circle drive at the chapel my dad and I hopped in the car and raced up the hill to a hidden gazebo to wait for our cue. It was almost time to get hitched!
*If any future brides are reading this, I highly recommend doing a First Look. In my personal opinion and experience, it won’t make the ceremony any less special. Believe me, when the music starts and everyone stands up to look at you and you take your first steps down the aisle, you will still feel the butterflies (the good kind, I hope). I didn’t want the first time I got to be alone with Jacob to be when we were driving to the reception. Getting to spend a few quiet minutes together and seeing his reaction to my bridal look up close instead of from the other end of the aisle was so worth it.