When I spoke to the couple when they were in the early stages of planning their wedding, I realised that times after the ceremony were a little tight (with it getting dark so early in winter) and mentioned to them what was at the time, an emerging trend in the United States - that is, a 'first-look'
A first look is something that's becoming slightly more common here in the United Kingdom but its still far from routine. All wedding photographers love getting images of either the bride seeing the groom for the first time and she enters the church or ceremony room, and if they're lucky, the groom's reaction at the same time. It's not an easy photo to take as in that very second there is so much happening that you have absolutely no control over. The vicar could stand in the way, a wedding guest could jump into the aisle to take a photo with their phone (this, unfortunately does happen all the time these days) so you're never guaranteed this wonderful moment is caught on film.
There is a way around this however, and that's where the first look comes in. The premise is simple - have the bride and groom get a first look at each other in a controlled environment, where you can position the bride and groom as you'd like whilst ensuring you're in exactly the right place for the shot you wish to capture.
First looks like this usually work better when you have two photographers - one to capture the bride's reaction and one for the groom's. Luckily on this day I had my second photographer with me, and tasked him with capturing Ben's reaction to seeing his wife for the first time on his wedding day. This left me to capture the bride. I chose to take this first look photo with my Nikon 200mm f/2 lens, which is a beast in itself. The long lens and very fast aperture combine to render the background into a beautifully soft out-of-focus blur, meaning you can really focus the viewer's eye in on the parts of the image that are the most important - the bride!