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  • Writer's pictureleyrephotography


Updated: Aug 24, 2023

newly weds during their first look at their wedding

First looks are always so beautiful and oh, so special! However, not everyone is aware of how special they are because they get caught up in how “non-traditional” it is and they immediately write it off. I can talk about those brides because I was one of them! I wanted a REACTION! I wanted Josh to be so surprised and overcome with joy when I walked down the aisle that he bawled at the first sight of me! Isn’t that EVERY girl’s dream? Who doesn’t want that reaction? I wish I would have done one. After seeing the way the first look calms those super shy grooms, I really wish I would have done one on my wedding day!

newly weds during their first look

After experiencing my own wedding and shooting over 200 others, I’ve come to this conclusion. Some brides love “traditions” but what a bride REALLY wants when it comes to her groom seeing her for the first time is a REACTION! Those who 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. Everyone knows that wedding days are a bit stressful for the bride and groom. The whole day is focused on them, they need to look their best, they need to be on time, the groom has no idea what side the boutonniere is supposed to go on and little by little the tension grows. It’s before the ceremony and the gravity of what is about to happen starts to sink in and the calm collected groom who was playing golf just a few short hours ago is now starting to feel a little anxious. So what happens next? The groom waits in a little room somewhere for his cue 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 right at his face because everyone has expectations and anticipation about his first reaction. This is the farthest thing from a private, intimate moment. Sure, it’s SO powerful and SO wonderful. I already said that walking down the aisle was one of the BEST PARTS of my WHOLE wedding day! It’s magical! But when our brides do a first look with their groom, we have noticed that when they walk down the aisle, the groom wasn’t a nervous wreck. He had spent the morning with his bride and their best friends and the pressure was OFF. By the time their ceremony rolled around he was ready to ENJOY the most beautiful day ever! The nerves are gone and when the nerves are gone, true emotions are free to be expressed. And OH were they expressed!

bride and groom embracing during their first look

Grooms normally become incredibly nervous on wedding days, even if they seem calm and collected. For most grooms, the nerves kick in before they see their bride because when they see her, everything becomes VERY real! So when the nerves start creeping up, instead of keeping the groom in a secluded space until his time to enter the ceremony, what if you took him to a private place? No people, no on-lookers, no distractions and you let his beautiful bride, the love of his life, quietly call his name and have him turn around to see her for the first time. He would turn around and finally get his first look at his stunning bride and not only would he get to see her, he could embrace her, cry with her, kiss her and ENJOY that moment with her for as LONG as they wanted. As she shows him her dress, twirls a few times and then asks him what he thinks, his nerves start to diminish. After all, she’s the one who can make him most comfortable. Because they aren’t on a time crunch, they can casually move into their romantic portraits. No one is around, the coordinator isn’t announcing “15 minutes left”, and there is no pressure. It’s just the two of them and their photographer, capturing the excitement and the joy of their wedding day. This is their time to be TOGETHER and to be ALONE.

bride and grooms first look on their wedding day

When does that happen on a wedding day? Without a First Look, it doesn’t. After their romantic portraits are done, they meet up with their best friends. Their bridal party joins them and because they still have plenty of time to spare, the bride touches up a little makeup while the guys act like guys. After a few minutes, the bridal party portraits begin and they’re so much FUN. They’re FUN, because there is time to make them FUN. There aren’t any guests waiting impatiently at the cocktail hour and there isn’t a DJ coming to find the photographer to get a time check. It’s wonderful! After portraits are done, the girls and guys separate and prepare for the ceremony. The guests begin to arrive and the ushers are in place. Pretty soon it’s time for the processional music to begin and one by one, the bridesmaids make their way down to the front of the ceremony. As the groom clasps his hands, they aren’t clasped out of nervousness but excitement. The music builds, the mother of the bride stands and all of the guests follow her lead. The groom looks up, and here comes HIS BRIDE! His best friend, his companion, his sweetheart,.she’s stunning, just ABSOLUTELY stunning. The closer she gets, the bigger he smiles. Now, let me put a disclaimer on here before we continue, my clients are not required to do a First Look by any means! I used to feel bad for sharing this option with couples who were against it, because I didn’t want to push anything on them. However, 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 okay if couples choose not to share a first look! It’s just my preference to do one for many reasons. For brides not interested in a First Look, let’s start chatting soon about how we’ll create a special timeline to fit everything in for YOU!

Need more info? Contact us or send us a message on Instagram or Facebook. We're looking forward to capturing your story!

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