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Your first look is an amazing part of your wedding day! If you aren’t sure about this tradition, I would love to explain why it would be a romantic addition to your wedding day celebration that not only adds to the experience but also reduces stress. Please know that we would never want any of our couples to feel pressured to go with this option. However, we do want to make sure that we share all of the benefits of a first look, because there is a reason 90% of our couples do this and LOVE it!

I have confessed my deep love for “First Looks” numerous times, and there is a reason for this. They’re awesome! However, not everyone is aware of how wonderful they truly are, because they get caught up in how “non-traditional” it is and they immediately write it off. Even for my own wedding, I wanted a REACTION.  I wanted Tyler to be so surprised and overcome with joy when I walked down the aisle that he bawled at the first sight of me! Isn’t that EVERY girl’s dream? Who doesn’t want that reaction? Luckily, I was able to have the best of both worlds. Tyler and I decided to share an intimate “First Look” moment on our wedding day, AND he still  LOST IT when I came down the aisle. He was in tears and so was everyone who was watching him!! YESSSSS!!!! Walking down the aisle on my wedding day was a moment that I will treasure for a lifetime! Our first look didn’t take anything away, if anything, it added to it!

After experiencing my own wedding and shooting over 300 others, I’ve come to this conclusion: Some brides love “traditions”…but what a bride REALLY wants when it comes to her groom seeing her for the first time is a REACTION. Those who are not interested in a First Look usually think that by seeing each other beforehand, they will lose part of that reaction. They also assume that it will not be as emotional or as intimate as it would be if they were coming down the aisle. What I have found (this is starting to sound like a research paper!) is so ironic. Everyone knows that wedding days are a bit stressful for the bride and groom.

The whole day is focused on them, they need to look their best, they need to be on time, the groom has no idea what side the boutonniere is supposed to go on and little by little… the tension grows. It’s before the ceremony and the gravity of what is about to happen starts to sink in and the calm, collected groom who was playing golf just a few short hours ago is now starting to feel a little anxious. So what happens next? The groom waits in a little room somewhere for his cue from the coordinator. It seems like it’s taking FOREVER. Finally, the coordinator leans her head in and hurries the groom to get ready. With clammy hands, the groom enters the ceremony and what does he find? He finds anywhere from 80-300 people and they’re all looking where? Right at his face because everyone has expectations and anticipation about his first reaction. This is the farthest thing from a private, intimate moment. Sure, it’s powerful and wonderful. It truly is one of the best moments of the entire wedding day! But when I walked down the aisle, Tyler wasn’t a nervous wreck because he had spent the morning with me and our best friends, and the pressure was OFF. By the time our ceremony rolled around he was ready to ENJOY our beautiful day!

The nerves were gone and when the nerves are gone, true emotions are free to be expressed in a truly unhindered way.  So if I were to condense what I just wrote: Basically, Grooms normally become incredibly nervous on wedding days…even if they seem cool and collected.

For most grooms, the nerves kick in before they see their bride because when they see her, everything becomes VERY real! So when the nerves start creeping in, instead of keeping the groom in a secluded space until his time to enter the ceremony, what if you took him to a private place…no people, no onlookers, no distractions…and you let his beautiful bride, the love of his life, quietly call his name and have him turn around to see her for the first time. He would turn around and finally get his first look at his stunning bride and not only would he get to see her… he could embrace her…cry with her…kiss her…and ENJOY that moment with her for as LONG as they wanted. As she shows him her dress, twirls a few times and then asks him what he thinks…his nerves start to diminish. After all, she’s the one who can make him most comfortable anyway.

Because they aren’t in a time crunch, they casually move into their romantic portraits. No one is around, the coordinator isn’t announcing “15 minutes left”, and there is no pressure. It’s just the two of them and their photographer…capturing the excitement and the joy of their wedding day. This is their time to be TOGETHER…and to be ALONE. When does that happen on a wedding day? Without a First Look, it doesn’t happen. After their romantic portraits are done, they meet up with their best friends. Their bridal party joins them and because they still have plenty of time to spare, the bride touches up a little makeup.

After a few minutes, the bridal party portraits begin and they’re FUN. They’re FUN, because there is time to make them FUN. There aren’t any guests waiting impatiently at the cocktail hour and there isn’t a DJ coming to find the photographer to get a time check. It’s wonderful!

After portraits are done the girls and guys separate and prepare for the ceremony. The guests begin to arrive and the ushers are in place. Pretty soon it’s time for the processional music to begin and one by one, the bridesmaids make their way down to the front of the ceremony. As the groom clasps his hands…they aren’t clasped out of nervousness but excitement. The music builds, the mother of the bride stands, and all of the guests follow her lead. The groom looks up, and here comes the BRIDE! His best friend, his companion, his sweetheart, and she’s absolutely stunning!  The closer she gets, the bigger he smiles.

Now let me put a disclaimer on here… My clients are not required to do a First Look by any means! I used to feel bad for sharing this option with couples who were against it because I didn’t want to push anything on them. However, I’ve seen the benefits of a First Look over and over again, and so I only share this because I want the BEST for my couples!! It’s totally ok if couples choose not to share a First Look! It’s just my preference to do one for many reasons. Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of sharing your First Look privately. For brides not interested in a First Look, let’s start chatting soon about how we’ll create a special timeline to fit everything in and still keep the day free of chaos and stress!

Since I shared so much about Tyler and my first look, I thought it would be fun to share some favorites from our first look and Ceremony!

Photo Credit: Abbey Grim Photography

January 8, 2024

What is a First look & Why It’s Amazing!

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