I'm Mylah Renae, a Texas wedding photographer based in Austin. Grab a coffee (or sangria) and enjoy some pretty wedding images!

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Why we LOVE first looks

September 15, 2016

It’s no secret that I LOVE first looks!  They’re great, but some brides and grooms automatically push the idea of having a first look aside, because it’s so “un-traditional.” However, I’m a firm believer in making your wedding day JUST the way you want it!  With this, if you want a private moment with just the two of you on your wedding day, you might want to consider a first look.  If you want more romantic portraits of just the two of you on your wedding day to take full advantage of the investment you made in your wedding photography, you might want to consider a first look.  If you want to enjoy your own cocktail hour, you might want to consider a first look.  If you want to calm your nerves before the ceremony, you might want to consider a first look.  If you want to hug, kiss, pray with, or even speak to your soon-to-be-spouse before your ceremony, you might want to consider a first look.  If you want to see your soon-to-be-spouse’s true reaction to seeing you for the first time on your wedding day, you might want to consider having a first look (otherwise, you have to wait half an hour or so before you’re able to do that, and, by that time, the first initial reaction has worn off).  If you want the perfect love-dovey feeling on your wedding day without anyone rushing you or doing time checks, you might want to consider having a first look.  If you want to enjoy time with your bridal party and let them enjoy seeing old friends during cocktail hour, you might want to consider having a first look.

But, you don’t have to take my word for it.  Here are actual, unfiltered testimonies from our past brides (and a groom!) who have done a first look!

First Look explained by Twisted Ranch Bride

“I am very glad and happy with our decision to have a firstlook.  I am a fairly emotional person, and I knew on my wedding day I would be extra emotional.  I didn’t want to “ugly cry” down the aisle and ruin my makeup.  It worked well for us because it eased my nerves and I got to see my future hubby in private without a hundred pairs of eyes staring at us. I was worried it would be awkward being photographed during this time but it really was non-intrusive.  My husband and I both were glad to hug and kiss ahead of time and share that special moment in a private setting.  We were also able take some wedding party photos ahead of the ceremony.  All in all, no regrets and I recommend a firstlook.” – Mandy (Twisted Ranch Wedding)


First Look experience of Gabriel Springs Bride

The first look was hands-down my favorite part of our wedding day.

I can’t tell you how many times I was told by others to make sure to keep our wedding about us. But honestly, it’s impossible! Your family and friends want to be included in your big day as much as possible, and while that is so special, it makes it hard to focus on each other. There was one part of our wedding day, however, that was truly just about us; It was our first look. Free from the excited distraction of our smiling, crying, waving loved ones, we were really able to take each other in, seeing each other in a way we probably would not have otherwise. It was so peaceful and so personal to spend that quiet time together in the middle of the whirlwind that was out wedding day. Mylah and Dylan did such a great job paparazzi-ing while still making us feel like we were alone together. Our first look produced some of my favorite photos of the whole day, too!” – Edmarie (Gabriel Springs Wedding)


Twisted Ranch Bride shares her first look experience and why you should do one

“Josh and I were initially pretty torn on whether we should do a first look. Everyone always says that you have to look at the groom when the bride is coming down the aisle. They say that is the most genuine reaction you will get out of the groom on the entire wedding day. After having our first look, I definitely think that is not always the case! Josh is not a very emotional guy and I knew it would be pretty impossible to see some tears coming from him on wedding day. But I truly feel like I was able to witness his genuine reaction to seeing me for the first time by having a first look. I honestly can’t even remember seeing Josh’s face when I came down the aisle!
We ultimately decided that for us it was important to have a few moments alone, before the ceremony to talk to each other and calm our nerves! Also, for me, pictures were so important. I knew I wanted A LOT of pictures with my husband, and I knew doing a first look would give us many more than if we just waited until sunset to take our pictures.
Overall, I highly recommend having a first look. If I could do it all over again, the only thing I would change is I would have our first look earlier so we could get even more awesome pictures together! By far my favorite pictures from the entire day are from our first look. I can just tell that our reactions are genuine and that none of it was posed or rehearsed.” – Alura (Twisted Ranch Wedding)

Twisted Ranch Groom shares his personal thoughts of including a first look on his wedding day

“First, I would definitely recommend having a first look to anyone. I think the reasoning can be different but the results will always be the same… JAW DROPPING! … The anticipation of seeing your bride up close in an intimate setting first before the rest of the world is a phenomenal feeling. You try to convince yourself that it is just convenient to get those intimate one on one pictures and that of course will give you more time to strut around and mingle with your friends and family after the ceremony (but who are we kidding; it’s just more time for pictures). You quickly get those jitters that I was sure I wouldn’t have, butterflies in your stomach, you can even hear her coming up behind you and then when you turn around … BAM!  It’s a totally raw and awesome feeling, and the best thing is its yours to share really the first private experience you have as husband and wife. For me at that moment was when the weight of what we are about to do hit me. This woman was going to be with me for the rest of my life and we are about to go out there and show our closest friends and family how much we mean to each other and commit our lives to one another.
The one thing that everyone tells you when you get married is that everything flies by and the one thing that you will want after is to go back and slow things down; no matter how much you try, they say, you won’t be able to slow it down. This is so true! However, the first look is that one moment of many amazing, stressful, emotional, and fun moments that will slow down and stick with you. For me this was the time that I could control and share privately on such a busy day. It was that moment when reflection on the past, realization of the present, and dreams of the future all came together for a very brief period.
HAHAHA thats a lot to say for such a short subject but I wanted to be convincing and honest about everything that specific moment did for me in our wedding. You and Dylan were also so fun and helpful while you were there and really knew when to kind of remain in the background while we went through this experience!” – Josh (Twisted Ranch Wedding)
Stone House Villa Bride and Groom share first look experience and why you should consider one
“I would not change a thing about our first look.  It was the one moment prior to the wedding where the rest of the world melted away. The stress of having to move our outdoor wedding inside melted away and I was standing with my guy in excitement and anticipation of what our lives together would bring.  Our first look gave us a moment to ourselves to lock in the memory, laugh together,  and appreciate what the day would bring.  From our first look we got to laugh with our bridesmaids and groomsmen getting great shots without feeling rushed.  When it was time to walk down the aisle my nerves were calm, butterflies gone, and the world stood still. I feel it made the moment exactly what I wanted.  Our first look allowed us to have a few precious moments together alone after the ceremony.  Instead of taking pictures we could enjoy and celebrate together the momentous occasion that just occurred.  While the day was about our commitment to each other we knew we wouldn’t be standing there without the support from each person in the room.  Our first look allowed us to soak up each minute surrounded by love and happiness from our guests.” – Ashley (Stonehouse Villa Wedding)
The Springs Georgetown Bride shares first look experience and why you may want to include one for your wedding
“Our wedding day was nuts. It was all one big, exciting, beautiful blur — except for the first look. The first look wasn’t a blur at all. It is one of my very favorite moments from the wedding day, and I will cherish it (and the incredible photos!) for a lifetime.
In a day that was so busy with family and friends, the first look was much needed. I am so grateful to have had that special, intimate moment alone with the man I couldn’t wait to marry. All morning my mind was racing with nervousness, but for those sweet few minutes I got to hug him, to hold his hand, to pause for just a moment and be reminded what the whole day was about — marrying the man I love.
Being the anxious mess that I know I am, I am so glad our photographers convinced us to consider having a first look. Getting to see him, even just briefly, before walking down the aisle in front of all our friends and family brought me so much peace and comfort. It was the best decision we made in the entire wedding planning process.
I won’t forget the look on my husband’s face when he turned and saw me in my wedding dress for the first time — there was no pressure for him to feel or respond in any kind of way, because no one was watching … it was just him and me. I’m glad in that moment there was nothing keeping him from saying or expressing what he was feeling. He could tell me right then what was on his mind; it didn’t have to be a thought saved for later in the day.
In my opinion, the best part of our first look? Well, since we agreed to see each other before the ceremony, it gave us an opportunity to stop and pray together before the rest of the day ensued. I will cherish that always!”  – Kelsey (The Springs Georgetown Wedding)
 tenroc ranch wedding photographer

“The First Look prepares you for just how emotional your wedding day is. It really is the most intimate part of the day. You will never have another perfect moment like that again. The moment I turned around and saw my bride, I knew that my wedding day would be the most perfect day and there was absolutely nothing to worry about.”
-Keaton (Tenroc Ranch Wedding)

Salado Wedding Photographer - Groom sings vows to bride during the first look
 “We really struggled with the idea of whether or not to do the first look. But we are so grateful that we did. It gave us time to breathe together, laugh together, cry together, and smile together. My husband sang his vows to me in a moment I will never forget. It was my favorite part of that day. I was so much less nervous when walking down the aisle because I wasn’t solely concentrated on watching his face, I had already seen it. I was able to soak up the moment of walking down the aisle even more. And, even though he had already seen me, my groom and I both still bawled when we met at the end of the aisle. We had both already shared the most perfect moment that we will never forget.”     -Kailee  (Tenroc Ranch Wedding)
First Look at French Legation Museum Wedding
There are even more first look experiences from past brides on the blog here.  If you’re considering a first look, please read all of their thoughts.  These brides and grooms have already experienced their own wedding day and want the best for future couples, too!  I know that it makes for an easier timeline for photos on the day, so you’ll have more fun with your bridal party and won’t feel rushed, but it’s more than that.  It’s really about the quiet moments you get to have together, just the two of you, on your wedding day.  Without a first look, some couples won’t get that…
 – Mylah Renae


  1. […] her dad, it was Chris’ turn to have a first look with his bride.  This next picture says it all.   Pin It Pin It Pin It Pin It […]

  2. […] SO thankful Tim and Shannon decided to include a first look into their Twisted Ranch wedding!  Not only did it give them romantic portraits of just the two of them on their wedding day, it […]

  3. […] and Matt opted for a first look.  It’s a great opportunity to get the nerves out and really take in the moment of the day […]

  4. […] 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 […]

  5. […] no secret that first looks are my favorite!  They allow for true emotions to be shared between a bride and groom without 300 […]

  6. […] you want to most, and puts you in the very best mood for romantic portraits!  Since they did a first look, they’ll also have twice as many romantic portraits of just the two of them on their wedding […]

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