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First Look Benefits

February 24, 2017

Our Fall wedding season saw 10 weddings.  Out of those, 9 couples decided to include a first look in their wedding day!  That means 90% of our #eurekabrides are opting to include this new special moment as part of their wedding day memories.  A first look is where we take the bride and groom to see each other for the first time on their wedding day in a way that allows them to fully soak in the wedding day and the significance of it.  It happens before the ceremony and allows them to freely share their emotions of the day.  Our couples laugh, cry, pray together, compliment each other’s attire, and share with each other how excited they are that the big day has finally arrived and bask in the feeling of “we’re about to be married!”  Most of our couples are best friends and want to hold hands and hug, freely, without moving straight into a formal ceremony with 100-300 sets of eyes watching their every move.  Doing a first look is a completely separate experience to the walk down the aisle.  It extends your wedding day, gets you 40% more portraits, and is typically our couples’ only chance to be alone together on their wedding day.  Your favorite people in the world will also thank you for doing a first look!  Your bridesmaids get to have their pictures taken just after they’ve wrapped up hair and make-up, when they’re freshly dolled up.  Your groomsmen get to go to the cocktail hour to party, since we’ve knocked out bridal party portraits before the ceremony.  Your parents will get to visit with relatives and friends invited to the wedding at cocktail that they haven’t seen in months (or years).  For you, you get to spend more time on your wedding day with the one person you’re vowing the rest of your life to.  Instead of taking my word for it, though, I’ve asked some of our past brides from this Fall what their thoughts are on the first look.  Here is what the pros had to say.

Paige’s First Look Experience:

“I am such a fan of first looks when it comes to your wedding day.  I got married last September, and chose do have a first look with my husband.  I am so glad we decided to, because the memories will last forever and so will the pictures!

Top Reasons why I would suggest having a first look:

  • You get a majority of pictures done before the wedding.  After the wedding, your bridesmaids and groomsmen can go and enjoy the reception! Your bridesmaids will also love that their makeup and hair is fresh for bridesmaid and groomsmen pictures!
  • After Chris and I said “I do” we had a few extended family pictures to take, a few “just married” pictures, and then we were off to celebrate with our wonderful friends and family!  It helped us not be gone for too long, as we were ready to see everyone who traveled near and far.
  • My nerves were racing all day until I saw Chris.  I was so excited to see him! Having a first look gave us that time between the two of us to cry, kiss, and have a few minutes to reflect on our love for each other.  Seeing Chris’s reaction that day was the best feeling and now one I can relive forever with the stunning pictures.   After our first look, my nerves were gone and I was ready to enjoy the rest of the day!
  • Our walk down the aisle was still just as special! Growing up, you dream about this moment your entire life.  There is nothing more special then the moment you are walking down the aisle to your almost Husband!

We all know planning a wedding can be a little stressful.  From the moment I saw Chris, I was able to take a deep breath and enjoy the best day of my life! The day will go by in a blink of an eye, and it is so important to take a few moments together to take everything in and enjoy the day that you have been planning a long time for.”  – Paige

Ashley’s First Look Experience:

“When I first mentioned the idea of a first look to Zach in our wedding planning process, he wasn’t too keen on the idea because of how untraditional it was. After reading Mylah’s blog, however, and the testimonials from other brides in her bride magazine, I shared with him the advantages to a first look and he agreed. I could not be more pleased with our decision for SO many reasons!
One of the main reasons we wanted to see each other beforehand was because we had quite possibly the largest bridal party ever – 14 groomsmen and 8 bridesmaids! We wanted to be able to take the bridal party photos and a few family photos prior to the ceremony so that we could join our guests at the reception and get the party started ASAP! Although this was a big player in our reason to do the first look, it isn’t what makes me so grateful that we did one. We definitely accomplished this goal of ours, but got so much more out of it than we’d ever imagined.
I was a nervous wreck all day while getting ready and I couldn’t put my finger on why – I loved my time with my girls getting all dolled up, but my stomach was just in a knot. The minute I tapped Zach on the shoulder and he turned around to see me in my dress, all the nerves and anxiety vanished. We were able to hug & kiss each other, talk about how amazing we both thought the other looked, and share about how nervous & anxious we were until that moment. It was our own private time that was carved out in the midst of a crazy, busy day. Mylah and Dylan did such a good job capturing candid, beautiful shots of us as we just held hands, talked, and looked into each others’ eyes. None of those things would have been possible if we hadn’t seen each other until I walked down the aisle. I honestly can’t imagine meeting him at the altar and not being able to tell him how handsome he looked or just squeeze him out of excitement.
I know some brides may worry about the look on the groom’s face as you walk down the aisle and it not being as amazing if you’ve seen each other before, but I completely disagree. Zach looked at me with such compassion and awe as I walked down the stairs towards him, but the best part is that I didn’t have to lock eyes on him the whole time because I already got to see his face privately when he saw me in my dress. Instead, I was able to truly take in the guests & smile at people I was so glad to see in the crowd, look at my girls and the groomsmen as they watched me walk down the aisle, and lock eyes with my mom while she sobbed seeing me walk towards her with my dad. I wouldn’t have those amazing memories if I hadn’t had time with my groom before everyone else arrived.
I’ve heard so many couples say that they felt like they didn’t get to spend any time together on their wedding day since everything just flew by so fast, but I feel the exact opposite. The first look gave us so much time before the ceremony together that was just for us – moments and beautiful images that other couples never get. We also had a very unique situation arise moments before our ceremony that the first look was a lifesaver for – our officiant didn’t show up. It was 10 minutes prior to guests being seated & we had to make the decision as to who would marry us and how we would proceed. If we hadn’t seen each other and hadn’t planned to prior to the ceremony, that would have made this situation so much more tense. However, since the first look was already behind us, we were able to visit face to face in the bridal suite and calmly come up with the plan that one of the ordained groomsmen would step in as the minister and marry us! I would have been so upset if we had to navigate that without being able to talk in person, but thanks to Mylah and her love for first looks, it was barely even a hiccup in our day!
If I had to do it all over again, I would definitely do a first look and I’ve already encouraged several brides I know to do the same. Trust me, that private time with the love of your life on a day that is extremely full will be worth so much more than the highly anticipated reaction at the end of the aisle that we’ve all heard about since we were little girls. Take the time to be able to embrace your future husband and talk to him to calm your nerves. I promise you won’t regret it!” – Ashley

Tara’s First Look Experience:

“The first look was the best idea ever presented to my husband and I. We chose it for several reasons. The main one was timing. Our venue only allotted five hours for guests to be onsite for the ceremony and reception. It would have been mass chaos trying to take all our group pictures during the 45-minute cocktail session between the wedding and dinner if we went the traditional route.
 Besides timing, we also wanted to have an intimate moment with each other before we walked into the “spot light”. My husband is a very nervous person and he was much more calm after the first look. We were able to shed tears, hold hands, really look at each other and tell each other how much we loved one another. Mylah was also able to capture such emotional and beautiful pictures during this time.
The last reason we chose the first look was to reduce stress for our bridal party and immediate families. Yes, your wedding is about you two as a couple, but you want your friends and family to enjoy the process too. Our bridal party and families had never heard of a first look or experienced pictures before the ceremony. Everyone commented on how much nicer and “stress free” the process was. Our families and friends felt so special; it was a clam bonding time that everyone enjoyed together.
Also, let’s face it as this is the big one. The second your ceremony ends, the party begins. Everyone wants to grab a cocktail, catch up with guests and start to party. Everyone becomes scatter brained. My girls looked so fresh coming straight from hair and make-up. And everyone had so much energy and excitement for us because we still had to tie the knot!  It also eliminated the sitting around doing nothing period where your bridal party gets bored just waiting for the ceremony. Looking back we would still choose a first look even if we had more time between the ceremony and reception.” – Tara

Chelsea’s First Look Experience:

“I was very skeptical of doing a first look when I first starting hearing couples break the original tradition of seeing each other before the bride has her big walk down the aisle. After doing some research and hearing so many positive reviews from previous brides, we decided, together, to break the original tradition as well and let me just tell you, we are both so happy that we did! I was already so stressed and extremely nervous on the day of our wedding, but the moment that I saw Matt waiting alone for me outside with no one else standing around, made almost all of my nerves go away. It felt so nice to just see him before everyone else and not have the pressure of everyone’s eyes just staring at both of us (which I hate all that attention drawn towards me anyways) just waiting to see what our reactions were going to be. My goal was to not “ugly cry” as I was walked down the aisle.  I think if I would have waited to see Matt up until that point, without doing a first look, I definitely would have!  I felt such a sense of calmness by the time that I was walking down the aisle and I didn’t cry at all at that point. I just smiled at Matt (which the pictures that were captured of me at that very moment were way better looking than if I had been ugly crying), but if I could tell someone that was debating first look, just like I was, I would totally say without a doubt DO A FIRST LOOK AND YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT! When you get to see your husband for the first time before everyone else, it’s such a intimate, private moment that you will get to cherish that very moment forever. And the reason that I will remember that moment forever is because, the minute after we said our I Do’s, everything else felt like a blur because y’all are so busy doing dinner, speeches, dances, cake cutting and making your rounds trying to talk with all of your family and friends, etc… in such a short amount of time and then just like that, it’s time for your grand exit and you wonder “where did the time go?” because everything happened so fast. I will always remember the moment most that I shared my first look experience with my husband.  :)”  – Chelsea

Beth’s First Look Experience:

“When Mylah presented us with a first look experience we were extremely hesitant. Being athletes in college, my husband and I are VERY superstitious. From putting a sock on the right foot first to counting the stars on the flag during the national anthem before a game.  Because of this superstition, we had to dig deep into how the “First Look” would benefit us as an almost married couple. After writing a pro and con list I decided the only “con” was the old school superstition of seeing each other prior to walking down the isle. We knew that the first look moment would give us time to ourselves on a day that all of your family and friends would be with you from the minute you walk down the aisle to the moment we would make our grand exit. Although I had my mind made up, it was extremely hard to convince my superstitious husband.  So, of course, I eventually talked him into it. I gave him my pros and cons list. He then made his own list. He realized a big reason of why he wanted to do a first look was that when I walked down the aisle he would have already had a chance to see me. His nerves would be less and he felt as if he would be more in the moment when I walked down the aisle. The first look was a moment to ourselves. A moment to sink in that this is the man/woman of my dreams and he/she gets to be mine for the rest of my life! A moment to ourselves to celebrate us and the love we have for each other before walking down the aisle in front of our closest family and friends. Our first look was everything that was on our “pro” list and more! We are so glad we did it!”  – Beth
Even more of our past #EurekaBrides have shared the benefits they saw, personally, of including a first look.  You can find their testimonials about why including a first look on their wedding day was a good idea here and here.  I’d really encourage you to check it out to see if having a first look would be the right decision for you and your fiance.
 – Mylah Renae

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