The First Look


It seemed like perhaps one of the most important decisions I’d make that afternoon.  I’d spent most of the hours leading up to the wedding fretting about where to stage the first-look. Most options of location had been extremely limited by the structure of the day; when people would be ready, where guests arriving — the timing of it all was important. This choice provided me with total creative freedom.

Perhaps too much freedom. It could literally be anywhere on the venue. Which presented me with a third type of anxiety perpetrated by a paradox of choice. I’d settled on the redwood circle at the top of the ceremony site.  I’d walked through the area and it felt like the right scene — protected, private, made of the most natural collection of trees available. In as many comparisons as I could make about alternative scenes (the gazebo, the pathways, the nice redwood paneling of the bathroom I would be able to crop into) it seemed to win out.

But when I walk Lucas up into this circle to instruct him on where to stand and look away and close his eyes, the foulest odor of fresh dogshit hits us both. Strong enough that I couldn’t possibly have missed it before in the scouting an hour earlier. Or did I? Could we move over to someplace else? Should we? No, not really, I don’t think. The parties were behind schedule, and I’m worried about taking much longer to renegotiate the landscape. It’s right where I want them to stand. If we move the offending turd pile away now, as the hunt for a shovel commences between the caterers and DJ, I wonder if the smell will go away, too? Because that’s the last thing I want to do – have their first look cast in a first smell. A fourth anxiety. Of unexpected sensations, and if I should call an audible. Because that first look was as much about the experience for them as it was about the first smell not offending.

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