I’ve been blogging about how great first looks are for 5 years! They’re absolutely wonderful! If you’re new to the first look, it’s where the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony. The groom is set in a secluded spot with no onlookers. The bride walks up behind him and taps him on the shoulder (or calls his name) to signal to him that it is safe to turn around. He turns to see the love of his life and she smiles from ear to ear as she watches his true reaction without distraction. He’s able to freely react to seeing her, as there aren’t 100s of eyeballs set on his face full of expectation to how he *should* be reacting. They’re able to hug each other, pray together, laugh and cry in each other’s arms. She twirls, as he admires the dress and they take as long as they need to fully embrace the moment of being together, by themselves, on their wedding day. It’s the day they promise forever to each other and they get to breathe in everything special about the day, together.
Some people may immediately say no to the first look because of how “untraditional” it is, but there are a ton of great benefits to it! Couples that opt to include a first look get twice as many romantic portraits of the two of them on their wedding day. These are the favorite images that get framed above the mantel! Couples that include a first look also get to take their bridal party photos before the ceremony, so bridesmaids are fresh out of hair and make-up for photos and groomsmen get to go straight to cocktail hour after the ceremony. With a first look, couples also get some of those wedding day jitters out, that don’t happen until the morning of the wedding. Believe me, I was a bride before I was a photographer, so I know this one to be true! By including a first look, couples also get to start dinner early, so guests aren’t waiting or they get to enjoy part of their own cocktail hour with guests they have been wanting to visit with. First looks also mean that you get to have a longer wedding day, as the day gets started when you see each other: either at the first look or at the ceremony.
My favorite part of the first look is, hands-down, that couples who include one actually get to spend time together on their wedding day. They get a few minutes alone, to themselves, to just enjoy the moment with the one person they want to on that day: the person they’re about to vow forever to. You get to spend time together and truly/freely react to seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day. Couples who wait until the ceremony don’t even get to hug each other, as they go straight into the ceremony. The groom can’t even tell you how beautiful you are until 30 minutes later, after the ceremony is over, and by then, the reaction isn’t the same. It’s even more different than the initial first glance because your bridal party joins you about 30 seconds after y’all are out of the aisle. Not only is the reaction saved for 30 minutes, it can only be expressed for about 30 seconds before all the hugs and congratulations start flooding in.
However, I don’t want you to just take my word for it that first looks are AWESOME. I’ve asked some of our Fall 2017 couples to chime in about their first-hand first look experience and this is what they had to say.
Ashley: I remember going back and forth with Mylah about a first look along with reaching out to people in the Eureka brides group
to ask their input on it. I think I was so back and forth because I was scared to “ruin” the moment of when I walked down the aisle to see Colin. Boy… was I wrong. The first look made it all 10X more amazing. The first look is so full of emotion, nerves, calming each other, saying sweet words before the ceremony… I could go on for days about how great this experience was. I remember walking towards Colin with his back towards me and I couldn’t hold the tears back. It’s such a special, intimate moment between a bride and her groom. We got to hug, talk, spin each other around. I will cherish this moment forever. Walking down the aisle seemed more real to me after the first look because I had just seen him and he was soooooo handsome, I couldn’t wait to run down the aisle and get to be his wife… oh and smooch him
. The first look does not ruin any moment at all, if anything it gives the two people special time together to talk, pray, say how handsome and beautiful each other looks, and just be silly!! Btw some of my fav shots are from our first look. I look at them and think, yep that’s us. Not posed, put on, just simply us in our raw, natural form.
Colin: The first look was perfect. Especially when you are the groom and nervous as heck thinking about standing at the end of the aisle to see your bride come down, just praying you don’t faint. The first look helps calm your nerves and just get to be yourselves and share that moment without 300 eyes on you. I got to look at Ashley in her beautiful dress and appreciate her beauty , take it all in and just enjoy her to myself. This is such a big day and you are a ball of nerves and it’s so nice to just see each other prior to just breathe, laugh and enjoy each other. Mylah and Dylan are so amazing at making you feel comfortable, the moment isn’t awkward and they caught some of the best pictures in our first look because we just got to be us . I would highly recommend doing this. Plus you get pictures done prior to the wedding, so more time for dancing and partying
Hannah and Josh:
The first look is still something I’d recommend for a friend or anyone getting married. At first I was skeptical because it’s non-traditional and I was worried that it would take away from the magic or some how detract from “that feeling” when I walked down the aisle and Josh saw me for the first time. Instead, we got to have that special moment to ourselves and actually talk to each other and then have that moment captured to look back on. Plus I knew that I would cry when I saw him at the altar so seeing him ahead of time we were able to get some potentially ugly crying out of the way. I also loved having a first look with my dad, having the girls lead him in and then doing the reveal. By the end of it the whole room was crying.
Having the first look photos done also allowed us to also take more photos before the ceremony which meant we had more time for other photos later. My only suggestion would be to make sure the first look is done with ample time before the guests arrive or to do it in a space where the guests won’t see y’all getting your photos done unless you don’t care if they see you before the big moment. I know that we pushed to get as many photos done before the ceremony so when the very early birds arrived we had a little audience.
Will and I are so glad we did the first look
, we definitely recommend it to anyone who is having trouble deciding. It was basically the only time the entire day that we had to ourselves, as immediately after the ceremony we had everyone coming to talk to us, and all the different things on the timeline to do. We were able to get way more pictures of just the two of us this way, and gave us more time after the ceremony to do other things as the bridal party pictures were out of the way (also everyone’s hair/makeup was still super fresh for the pictures :D). Will says he is really glad we did the first look
as I was able to see his real reaction and he wasn’t trying to “hide” it with all the people watching during the ceremony
Do a first look, it gets all the nerves out of the way. Act as surprised as possible (groom) so she can have her moment of you being surprised; also so that you don’t get her mad or sad that your didn’t act a certain way. It also helps with all the nerves that this day brings. I would not change my decision, because I was really nervous and seeing her made me calm down. I chose to do a first look since my wife really wanted to do it. It really did just make the day that more enjoyable since I was not nervous at all. My main tip is: JUST DO IT.
As far as why I wanted to do a first look is I had seen so many pictures of how special it could be just to have a moment for two of you before the hustle of everything. You have so much on your mind and the nerves kick in before the ceremony. I’m so glad that I choose to do it. My husband is that person that can calm me down in an instant. Just the day before the wedding I was running around with my head cut off but as soon as he got back from his errand I instantly calmed down, and that’s what I needed on the day. I would definitely not change my decision on having a first look.
Mine actually almost didn’t happen. We were running late, the church coordinator was completely against it, but I’m so thankful my wedding planner made it happen. My husband had already been calling several times by now to make sure I was still coming to the wedding so it was great to see him, assure him we were doing this and get a little alone time minutes before we walked down the aisle. I knew not only would it calm his nerves to see me before we walked down the aisle but mine as well. One decision I wish I could change was that I wish we had more time for the first look – ours was probably no more than a few minutes. It would have been great to say a quick prayer or even just take a breath before the wedding started. Having the first look was great since all the nerves go away and you really can just enjoy walking down the aisle since you have already seen your husband before the wedding. You can enjoy seeing your guests that care about you and wanted to be part of your big day. If you are on the fence about doing a first look just take the leap and do it you won’t regret it. Seeing your best friend, getting out your nervous laughs and knowing that you aren’t the only one with all the feelings you do feel on your wedding day is indescribable – it makes everything just that much better.
Sarah and Jeremy:
I am so glad we did the first look! One reason is simply for logistics. It helped a lot to be able to get most of the pictures done before the ceremony instead of having to rush to do them all afterwards; plus my hair had fallen out some if I compare the first look pictures against the after ceremony pictures. However, the biggest reason I loved doing the first look would have to be having that moment with Jeremy before the ceremony, with it just being us. We hadn’t seen each other since the day before and seeing him at the first look really kicked the wedding nerves to the curb and made me only think about how excited I was to get married to him! I would completely recommend it to anyone! Everyone worries about seeing the groom’s face for the first time when you’re walking down the aisle but when doing the first look, you get to see that face twice instead of just once! Us seeing each other before the ceremony didn’t take away the moment of walking down the aisle, if anything it just made it even better.
Stefanie: We went with doing a first look off the bat because the sun would set so early the time of year we got married, BUT I think we still would have opted to do a first look if this wasn’t a factor. As a guest, I’ve always loved watching the groom see the bride walk down the aisle the first time, but as a bride I would do the first look again and again and again. It was more intimate than having everyone stare at you. I was all smiles on our wedding day and I could tell Riley was nervous, so this allowed for me to be playful and sweet. It also allowed for some “mushy talk” because no one else was around. Riley made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. Doing a first look really helped with the flow of our day. Our priority was to spend as much time as possible with our friends and family partying, so getting pictures out of the way before the ceremony allowed us to enjoy part of cocktail hour too. Our bridal party loved going straight to enjoy cocktail hour after the ceremony because they were already done with taking the photos. Mylah is so talented at capturing all the sweetest moments and since we did a first look, we have so much more than sunset couple photos – we have an amazing gallery of photos with multiple backgrounds and settings. We both loved the variety of shots we got.
Riley: Doing the first look helped calm some of the wedding day nerves. I enjoyed getting that alone time with Stefanie before the ceremony. It also opened up some free time for us to get some food and mingle during the cocktail hour – my groomsmen were happy that some of the “idle” time pre wedding were used for the photos rather than taking up a lot of the social times directly after the ceremony.
If you’re one of my #EurekaBrides and are still debating if a first look is right for you, I would highly encourage you to reach out to other brides in the Facebook Group!
They’ve experienced their own wedding day already and will have some great insight in to how it works and the benefits they saw! All our brides are wonderful, nice people, so they’re happy to help! There are also a few other blog posts you should read about past couples’ first look experience
. We’ve never had a bride tell us they regretted the first look, but we have had a few tell us they regretted NOT including one.
– Mylah Renae
Real Couples Share Their Wedding First Look Experiences in Austin