We left off in this wedding series with that crazy car ride from the hotel to the ceremony site for our first look. When our car pulled up Joe wasn't there yet. He was up the street at the reception site getting ready so we hid out in the car so the first look wouldn't be spoiled. The florist was already there though and I got my first glimpse of my bouquet which was absolutely gorgeous:
Joe pulled up a few minutes later and the photographer led him over to a nice scenic spot and instructed him to cover his eyes and not look my way. When he was safely in place my sisters helped me and my giant dress out of the car. Turns out that a long white dress in the great outdoors requires lots of planning and logistics. Thankfully we had many pairs of arms to make sure my dress didn't get dirty and everything was nice and fluffed up and straightened.
Once everything was perfectly in place I set off toward Joe. We had two photographers and they were our guides since we'd obviously never done a first look before. Joe was instructed to stand where they placed him and not turn around until he felt my hand on his shoulder. I was told to walk really slowly up behind Joe. Like abnormally slowly. I'm so awkward in photographs and playing up to the camera does not come naturally to me. At all. If you need anymore evidence for this fact just check out my super creep "sneaking up" face below. Apparently I thought this first look thing was actually a covert military operation.
I remember at this point I placed my hands on Joe's shoulders and he asked if it was me which I didn't answer because I just thought it was funny. Who else would it be?? Then he was like, "Seriously, is that you??" Seeing his slightly scared face in the photo above makes it even funnier. I guess there was a lot of anticipation for him just standing there waiting to be snuck up on. And it probably didn't help matters any that I went in all stealth-like. We had a good laugh about that.
I'd decided to do the first look for purely practical reasons. I didn't want to use up the entire reception time taking photos and once the ceremony was over I just wanted everyone, including Joe and I, to enjoy the party. Obviously photos are very important to us, but not at the expense of getting a chance to enjoy this once in a lifetime moment. But I will admit I was a little worried it would spoil the fun of that first look Joe would get when I walked down the aisle.
When Joe turned around after I finally let him know that it was indeed me, we were both beaming from ear to ear. I remember thinking how handsome he looked and my anxiety about the wedding completely melted away. Honestly I'm so glad we did it this way. I think that having our first look in "private" (if you don't count the two photographers and all our family standing way off in the distance) took a lot of pressure off. We're both kind of private and anti-social anyway and having that time to ourselves set the tone for the rest of the day. There was lots of laughing and kissing and exclaiming how handsome/pretty each other looked. It was a great reminder that this day was really about us.
And seeing his giant smile when he turned around was just as special as if he had been standing at the end of the aisle. I really treasure that bit of alone time before the wedding madness was fully underway, and these photos are some of my very favorite. I'm sure it would have been lovely either way, but for us this definitely worked best. Also, as far as logistics, and timeline, and all that not so romantic stuff, this was much easier. When we walked down the aisle I didn't have to hide in the bushes to make sure he couldn't see me. There weren't exactly any rooms or buildings for me to wait in since we got married outdoors.
After the first look and reveling a bit in the fact that we were getting MARRIED in a few hours we took advantage of our time before the ceremony to take lots and lots of photos. The rest of these shots are just Joe and I but we also asked our family to come early so we could get lots of photos of them as well. Can we just take a moment to talk about that view? I didn't look at a ton of wedding venues, and that's because as soon as I saw that cliffside view I knew that's where we were getting married. It's just gorgeous and I could immediately picture us saying I do there. So without further ado, here are a few more favorites:
Thanks again if you've made it all the way through this lengthy post and for following along with our big day. Next up is the good part: saying I do!