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 You should do a First Look on Your Wedding Day

August 21, 2015

Since December of last year, I’ve been working on a magazine for our brides.  The purpose of the magazine is to help brides plan their weddings and encourage them to make their wedding their own.  It also has tips and tricks for making the most out of their wedding photography.  Not everyone knows how long family photos take or that their ceremony has to be before sunset if they want the natural-light photography that attracted them to our Austin Wedding Photography.  With that in mind, I’ve started out on a magazine that is geared specifically for our couples!  Advice that I’ve found helps couples time and time, again!

One of my FAVORITE sections in the magazine is the one about First Looks!  It is full of the perks of having a first look (being able to make the most out of your wedding photography investment by getting 40% more romantic portraits, being able to have FUN during bridal party photos because guests aren’t waiting for you to start the reception, being able to actually attend your wedding reception instead of taking photos, and being able to FULLY embrace your wedding day and seeing your soon-to-be-spouse for the first time on your wedding day by being able to hug them, admire their wedding attire, pray with them, laugh with them, and get rid of some of the nerves that come with wedding days) and includes some testimonials of past Eureka Photography couples who opted for a first look!  Their insight and recommendations far out-weigh anything I could add, as they experienced a first look first-hand!  Here is what will make it into the magazine!

First Look at Gabriel Springs in Georgetown TX -278

“I would absolutely recommend doing a first look to my friends! My husband and I are both very modest when it comes to showing affection towards one another in front of others. By doing a first look this gave us a chance to share our true emotions and reactions to seeing each other ready to walk down the aisle.
Doing a first look did not diminish my walk down the aisle at all! There was honestly so much going on that I didn’t have the chance to see my husbands face when he saw me on the aisle for the first time. In fact, I think doing a first look enhanced my walk down the aisle. I was less worried about missing my husbands reaction (everyone always says this is the sweetest thing to see), and more excited to say our vows.”
                                                                  – Katherine Ringstaff, Gabriel Springs Wedding

First Look at Inn at Wild Rose Hall in Austin, TX-53

“Tommy and I went back and forth about whether or not to do a first look for a long time. We wanted that special moment in which we first saw each other to be private and special, yet we were a little worried that it would take away from the moment we saw each other walking down the isle. After many discussions, we decided that we wanted to have a first look. To us, that time was going to be a chance for us to talk to each other and take in the moment of the day privately. Also, I was EXTREMELY nervous about being the center of attention walking down the aisle with everyone watching, so the first look was an opportunity to get some of my nerves out, and talk to the one person I knew could put me at ease (my soon-to-be-husband!) Looking back on that moment, my husband I both agree that it was 100% worth it! That moment was so special and personal. Plus, you can’t beat the amazing pictures our photographer captured of the first time we saw each other on our wedding day! It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable moment and didn’t take anything away from our walk down the aisle!”

Carly Glicker, Inn at Wild Rose Hall Wedding

First Look at Pecan Springs Ranch in Austin, TX-452

“I would say that doing a first look was the right choice for Matt and I. I tend to be an emotional person and I knew getting closer to the day that I would be a crying mess. Not because I was sad but because I’d be overwhelmed with happiness. Doing the first look really gave Matt and I the opportunity to let go of some of the jitters we were both feeling before the ceremony and allowed another quiet moment for just the two of us to be together. The day goes by so fast that you don’t really get the opportunity for that. We also exchanged gifts at this time and we were able to share that moment together. I would say that doing the first look really allowed the both of us to focus on other things during the ceremony because we weren’t stunned or overcome by emotion. I certainly don’t think it took away from the walk down the aisle because I was able to look at him with clear eyes after our first look.
My favorite memory of the day was being surrounded by all of our family and friends at the end of the night singing “Don’t Stop Believing” but I would say our first look came in at a close 2nd. I’d do a first look all over again if I could… There was something really special about seeing each other one last time as a couple before we became husband and wife.
I think some people are afraid of doing a first look because they may be afraid of it “taking away” from their moment down the aisle but for us it didn’t. If anything, it helped us tremendously! Standing in front of a crowd of people can be extremely nerve wracking… Especially if you’re not a couple that publicly displays affection a whole lot. Having the first look helped us ease into the process instead of jumping right in.”
                                                       – Kayln Vaughn, Pecan Springs Ranch Wedding 

First Look at the Wildflower Barn in Driftwood, TX

     “I believe the first look was such a special moment for Ashley and I. I don’t think I would have felt as comfortable with it, if not for Mylah. We easily connected with her and felt very confident in her ability to capture this moment. The first look felt private yet it was also like having a friend there sharing the moment with us. She made it so easy and I would do it again 100X over!
     I was so anxious to see her all day and I was floored once I got the tap on the shoulder and turned around. It was my time to look her over, up and down and not have to think about everyone watching me check out my hot bride!
     Thinking back on it, I feel the first look made me even more excited about seeing Ashley walk down the aisle. I had my private moment with her and was now so ready for everyone else to see my beautiful bride. I felt like I could now show her off!
     I wouldn’t change anything about our first look experience. I can’t help but have a huge grin on my face when I look at the pictures. I’m able to relive that moment and to me that’s what it’s all about!”
                                                         – John Maldonado, Wildflower Barn Wedding
Wildflower Barn Wedding Photographer-39
     “John and I seem to have similar feelings about the first look.  While I think it is definitely a decision that might be different for each couple, I would ABSOLUTELY recommend a first look to a friend and honestly I may not have really considered the option for us if it wasn’t for a friend who recommended it to me when I asked her about her experience.
     The first look made seeing John such a special intimate moment.  I had been waiting all day to see him and talk to him and was so glad I got to ‘ooh’ and ‘awe’ over him in that “for my eyes only” moment with him.  I didn’t have to hold back expressions, emotion, or worry about all the faces watching our reactions; it was just us being us when I tapped my groom on the shoulder and got to see him for the first time that day.  He looked so handsome, and all my focus was devoted to him with no distractions and no scripts or steps we had to follow in that moment.
     I did think prior to the wedding day that maybe the first look would diminish the walk down the aisle but I think it did everything but that.  I was so excited and proud to have my Dad walk me to my husband-to-be in the presence of our closest friends and family.  I may not have been surprised with the first sight of him, but I was even more excited and anxious to meet him at the end of the aisle!
     The first look was one of my favorite moments from our wedding day and I re-live it every time I go through our pictures and feel completely giddy like a school girl!  We also were able to quickly get through family pictures quickly and start enjoying our reception.  I had heard so many people say they felt like they got to their reception half way through it.  While the night did fly by, I was so happy we got to share the full reception and celebration with our family and friends.  I would absolutely still do a first look over and over and am SO glad we made that choice for our big day!”
                                                          – Ashley Maldonado, Wildflower Barn Wedding

First Look at Vista West Ranch Wedding in Dripping Springs, TX -58

     “Brian & I would absolutely recommend doing a first look. It is so easy to get caught up in the details of the day – hair and make up, catching up with friends, tracking down vendors, nervousness about remembering your vows, etc  – so this is your one moment to take a deep breath and connect together on the importance of the day. Not to mention, the pictures are amazing and will send you back to that moment (and all your emotions) within an instant. Have a bad day or you’re frustrated with your significant other? Take a look at those photos and you’re right back to thinking they’re the most perfect, caring person in the world.
     This 100% did not take away from the walk down the aisle. In fact, Brian was more emotional when he saw me walking down the aisle, and I felt so present and “in-tune” with the moment, because we had a chance to be together before the ceremony.”
                                                                  – Megan Dubose, Vista West Ranch Wedding
 First Look at Kindred Oaks Wedding in Georgetown, TX
    If you’ve been debating about having a first look, I hope that these past couples’ experiences will help you decide if a first look is right for you and your wedding!  Not every couple opts for a first look, but too often couples dismiss the idea of a first look for how “un-traditional” it is before they ever think of ALL THE PERKS that come with doing a first look!
     If you want more photos of you and your groom from your wedding day, a first look might be for you!  If you want to have FUN with your bridal party without rushing to the reception, a first look might be for you!  If you want to actually enjoy your reception and not miss it for 1.5 hours of photos because you already took the photos before the ceremony, a first look might be for you!  If you want to spend time with your spouse and really be able to have a REACTION (and express it) to seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day, a first look might be for you!  If you want to hug on your spouse and pray with them and tell them how excited you are for the day to actually be here, a first look might be for you!  If you want intimate time and time to be alone with your spouse on your wedding day, a first look might be for you!  If you want to be more excited and less nervous on your wedding day, a first look might be for you!
     Time and time, again, I’ve seen all the perks of having a first look!  It helps wedding days flow better and really allows for a much more relaxed and laid-back, FUN day.  Don’t take my word for it, though, re-read the experiences of our past couples above!  They have experienced a first look and are sharing their personal opinions of having a first look and the benefits they saw!
 – Mylah Renae

Perks of Sharing a First Look on Your Wedding Day


  1. Thanks for this great blog Mylah! And of course what’s so perfect is that YOU are able to catch all those glorious first-look moments so beautifully! Speaking from personal experience as a Mom I was a bit of a tradionalists and not so keen on the idea of my daughter (now Megan DuBose quoted above) having a first look. But knowing Megan and her personality it made sense. After all was said and done I recommend it to any bride who asks for my opinion! Especially if they have an awesome photographer like you who can capture those special moments so well!

  2. […] and Edmarie decided to do a first look!  We absolutely ADORE when couples opt for first looks!  It allows our couples to share their […]

  3. […] and Hilary opted for a first look, a chance to soak in their Vista West Ranch wedding and to tell each other how EXCITED they were […]

  4. […] Laura was dressed and mom-approved, she headed to meet the love of her life for their first look.  It was a great opportunity to get any gitters out and to fully embrace the day with the one who […]

  5. […] to meet her soon-to-be husband, the man who has stood by her side for over ten years.  Their first look is one of the sweetest I’ve EVER seen!  They both cried.  They both laughed.  They both […]

  6. […] forget.”     -Kailee  (Tenroc Ranch Wedding) Pin It 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. […]

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