I have a deep love for “First Looks” and what they provide for my couples on their wedding days! They awesome, but not everyone is aware of how awesome they are because they get caught up in how “un-traditional” it is and they immediately write it off.  I can talk about those brides because I almost was one of those brides. I wanted a REACTION….I wanted Cody  to be so surprised and overcome with joy when I walked down the aisle that he bawled at the first sight of me! For those of you know that my sweet husband, Cody, he’s quiet and often reserved around new people and what the heck was I thinking?!

After knocking this idea as a new trend myself and then shooting more First Looks than I can count… I have finally come to this realization. Brides think that they really love “traditions” (that’s what I thought on my wedding day anyways)… but what a bride really wants is to feel the LOVE from her husband-to-be and for it there to be a reaction on the biggest day of her life. Those that 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, but really wants more intimate than being to laugh, hold hands, and breathe together before one of the most beautiful (yet sometimes chaotic) events you ever planned truly begins!!

Here’s how this situation normally plays out and I know this first hand because I’ve lived it, remember?! :

It’s hours or even minutes before the ceremony and the gravity of what is about to happen starts to sink in and the calm, collected groom grows more anxious by the minute – yes girls, they do get anxious!! So what happens next?  The groom waits in a little room somewhere just waiting for his que 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. 

Poor Cody. So sorry I put you through that, honey! Basically, grooms normally become incredibly nervous on wedding days…. even if they seem cool and collected. For most grooms, the nerves come when they see their bride. Naturally, people get tense when they are nervous. You know? The room feels like its closing in. Breathing gets difficult. BUT imagine if you took the groom somewhere private? Where his buddies aren’t watching his every move? Where he is free to cry if he wants? It’s quiet with zero distractions and you’re the only one he has to worry about. You tap his shoulder or call his name and his eyes are on YOU! You get to show him your dress, ask if he loves it, spin around a few times, kiss, embrace, talk – you name it. After all, you are the one who can make him the most comfortable. 🙂

Because time isn’t limited my couples will ease into their first set of portraits (because we get to shoot gorgeous, glowy just married portraits for a few minutes at sunset, too!) and the day feels easy. We photograph you and your wedding party and all your friends will appreciate you not keeping them for extra long period of time after the ceremony. I mean we ALL love food and drinks, right?! Soon, the ceremony starts and there he is… relaxed and smiling, maybe even wiping a tear. Some of our biggest ceremony reactions came AFTER the groom had already seen his bride. Can you believe tha?!

***I want to put a disclaimer on here before we continue…my clients are not required to do a First Look… AT ALL. This is totally up to the bride and groom. I used to feel bad for sharing this option and encouraging couples to do it, but I’ve gotten over that phase. 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 🙂

We have seen that when couples opt for a First Look – they receive these benefits! :

– You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography. With a First look, you’ll receive 40% MORE portraits of the two of you… and those are the images you will decorate your First home with! (Believe me, our house is PACKED full of our portraits!) With a First look, you make the most out of this large investment and get the most for your money.

– You actually get to have intimate time on your wedding day with your man. Most brides don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally SHOCK him with your gorgeous-ness… he can’t even tell you how amazing you look. He can’t touch you, embrace you or even SPEAK to you. You have to wait until 30 minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you how amazing you look. And after 30 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance.

– First Looks allow you to extend your wedding day. Normally the wedding day would start when you come down the aisle, then the ceremony would end, you would rush through portraits so that you’re not late for the introductions and then it’s reception time. With a First look, your wedding day is extended by almost 3 hours! Instead of being rushed for your bridal party portraits… you actually get to enjoy them and have fun hanging out with your BEST friends on your wedding day. The WHOLE first half of my client’s wedding albums are filled with images just from this time together before the ceremony.

– First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day. I hardly remember seeing Cody on our wedding day, so if I had the chance to go back and do it again, I would definitely add a First look in my timeline – especially since we could have also knocked out portraits before the ceremony! Portraits are often a little rushed after the family formals and it can be hard to really get back into that “lovey dovey” mode…. especially with family around! When you have just shared your First look, you’re READY to love on each other and I always capture some super sweet images during those moments!

– You get rid of your nerves! I’d say, literally 1/2 of my couples who have decided to do a First look, the grooms were not fans of it at First. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve racking it can be. I have testimonials from so many grooms who initially weren’t a fan of the First look… but afterwards admitted to being SO much more relaxed and ready for the ceremony!

Straight from the Bride & Groom:

At first, my husband and I were both against the First Look, but I was curious and read what Maddie had in her bridal guide that she gave to me. Her feelings sounded so much like mine I had to keep reading! I thought it would be a good idea because my husband gets very nervous and shy, and I felt that if we had our first look he may feel more comfortable when I came down the aisle, so he would be free to just feel whatever he was feeling at that moment. I talk- ed him into it (he is a very traditional guy) and now he wouldn’t have done it any other way. It also let us have time together to just enjoy look- ing at the person we love, kiss, hug, and talk. It was amazing. We didn’t get much more alone time after that so we treasured that time together. Not to mention we got to do our pictures earlier so more time to party at the reception!” – Bodee & Lauren

“For anyone who talked to me a few days before the wedding, you knew I was a mess. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I snapped at the people I love the most. I was tired of all the questions but really I was tired of not knowing the answers. Throughout the whole thing, I cared about 4 very important things: photography, videography, mountains, and at least 30 minutes alone with Mason on the wedding day. Let me tell you, that 30 minutes made all the difference. After the First Look, I was at ease. I could breathe again. Most importantly, I could eat again. It was weirdly magical, and I stand behind every girl who wants to do a First Look. Screw superstition. Do what you want. Make your own traditions if that makes you sleep at night. Because in the end, it’s about feeling at peace… and ya know… being able to eat.” – Mason & Bree

“Our First Look was one of our favorite parts of the day and happen to be some of the best pictures! The wedding day is full of emotions, chaos, nerves, and people! It’s amazing but crazy to say the least, the First Look gave us the opportunity to take each other in and enjoy some peace and quite just between the two of us. It created reactions that were raw and real because we were able to have that special moment alone. The First Look also allowed us to take bride and groom portraits before the ceremony, this meant we were only away from our guests for like 20 minutes after the ceremony and could get the reception started right away. We were able to relax and enjoy our day, guests, and each other a little bit longer.” – Nick & Chelsea