First looks are an intimate time for 2 or more people to see the bride and/or groom before the wedding ceremony. They take place is very intimate locations away from guests so the moment can just be shared between the individuals involved in the first look. The groom faces away from the bride as she walks up to him. For us, at this point Brett will narrate the couple's story to each of them to showcase the journey they have been on that has led them to this moment. The groom turns around and sees his bride for the very first time on their wedding day. It creates a truly intimate and emotional experience.

What is a first look?

On your wedding day, there could be a million things that could happen that could bring you some kind of stress. Hair is taking a little too long, your mother forgot to order Jimmy John’s (that’s like the number one lunch for bridesmaids, almost every wedding lol) whatever it is, some amount of stress and nerves will build up for not only you, but him as well.

Now put yourself with him in a little opening in a field by your venue. It’s quiet, you can hear the little breeze blowing and the one single bird chirping in the distance. He turns around, wearing his emotions all over his face. Then just holds you.....silence....just you.. and him... now how calming is that? That stress, those nerves, they are just going to float away at that very moment. O and guess what? If anything else happens, you aren’t alone! You can both tackle it head on together

The Benefits of a First Look

the best Stress reliever

About 30-40% more to be precise. When you don’t do a first look, you are already at a disadvantage with your timeline. You now have to push everything till after the ceremony, how much time do you need? For our weddings, we usually need 30 minutes for family formals, 30 minutes for bridal party, and 30 minutes for Bride & Groom portraits. If your timeline falls behind for ANY REASON, everything else b your wedding day is going to keep happening as is, if there is a delay, that time gets taken out of portrait time. It’s very unfortunate but that’s the nature of the beast. With a first look, not only will you have more portrait time, but if things start to fall behind, you now have a safety net. No matter what with a first look, your gallery will be absolutely gorgeous!

More time for portraits

First looks are an intimate time for 2 or more people to see the bride and/or groom before the wedding ceremony. They take place is very intimate locations away from guests so the moment can just be shared between the individuals involved in the first look. The groom faces away from the bride as she walks up to him. For us, at this point Brett will narrate the couple's story to each of them to showcase the journey they have been on that has led them to this moment. The groom turns around and sees his bride for the very first time on their wedding day. It creates a truly intimate and emotional experience.

The best opportunity for real emotion

For your wedding photography, first looks allow us to get a vast majority of your photos done before guests even show up to your venue. All your bridal party, a lot of your bride & groom, and even family formals can happen before the ceremony. This doesn’t mean all your photos of you two are done, after all it’s that beautiful golden evening portraits you are wanting to put on your walls. Your portraits are then broken up into smaller portrait sessions, which allow you to spend more time with your guests, not get sick and tired of a camera being on you, and still get a beautiful gallery at the end of it all.

More time with your guests

First looks generally happen right after both of you are dressed and before the ceremony takes place. We make sure there is enough time for touching up your makeup as well since first looks are often very emotional.

wHEN DO FIRST LOOKS HAPPEN?

First Looks are generally 10 minutes from beginning to end, followed by another 15-20 minutes of couples portraits.

hOW LONG DO FIRST LOOKS NORMALLY TAKE?

Generally a very intimate spot is where your first look would be. It could be an empty spot in a hotel, a open field behind your venue, anywhere that is hidden from the general public. Since most first looks happen in the middle of the day, we will go and find a spot that is intimate and also has a lot of shade. That way we can guarantee the best lighting for the photographs of your first look.

wHERE SHOULD WE DO OUR FIRST LOOK?

Ok let’s really think about this one. Let’s put ourselves in the grooms shoes. He spends the entire day with his boys, hasn’t seen or spoken to you. Those nerves are really going by the time he is being told that it’s time to walk down the aisle. Now he is standing up at the alter, which is essentially a podium...in front of every single one of your family, friends, their plus ones’s, their kids, anybody who is crashing your wedding, etc. All he sees is a sea of people. When you are walking down the aisle, with all of those people, his heart pounding, he is going to be so nervous.

At the level of nervousness that grooms experience when they are standing at the alter, it is so easy to keep those emotions hidden inside you. You want to protect yourself because those nerves make you put up a wall to protect yourself, instead of being vulnerable. Think of it like when you were in college and you had to make a speech in English class in front of 200 students, you were most likely incredibly nervous right? That’s what he is experiencing. Don’t get me wrong, he can still have that reaction you have dreamed of, but your chances are greatly reduced if you wait until the ceremony.

"I WANT THE FIRST TIME HE SEES ME TO BE IN FRONT OF EVERYONE!"

Ask any of our past brides. When a couple does a first look, when she walks down the aisle, he doesn’t just get emotional again, he is even more emotional! Whatever he felt during the first look, it is multiplied 10 fold when you walk down! You get to see that expression, not once, but twice.

"HE WON'T BE EMOTIONAL DURING THE CEREMONY IF WE DO A FIRST LOOK"

Here is a example of one of our couples. The bride and groom shared in a first look right before the ceremony. He was full of joy and laughter when he saw her for the first time. When she walked down the aisle, that same expression was seen on his face clear as day again. Whichever emotion your groom shows during your first look will be seen again when you walk down the aisle. 

I totally get wanting to see that reaction when you are walking down the aisle for the first time. All the photographs you see, you have dreamt of this! It really is something special when a bride walks down and sees that big smile on his face and a single tear on his cheek. You may get to see a really sweet expression on his face, but the moment you see in photos. You know, the gasps, the tears that are streaming down their face, that holy $&@$ moment, that doesn’t happen when you are face to face with your groom, that happens   the very first moment he sees you. At that very moment, you are on the complete opposite side of the room, he is too far away for you to really see what is happening on his face. By the time you get up to him, he has calmed down and regained at least some of his composure. That incredible real first moment he saw you, you will only have a photograph of it, the memory itself will not exist because you did not see it with your own eyes.

"I WANT TO HE HIS FACE WHEN HE FIRST SEES ME WANT DOWN THE AISLE"

We hear this from so many couples when we first meet and ask why they don't want to do a first look. They are under the belief that it is traditional to not see your groom before the wedding day. The superstition is that it is bad luck to see each other before the wedding day, and it has been a tradition since....well nobody can tell you how long. The reason is because it isn’t actually a wedding tradition. The idea came from arranged marriages where seeing the bride before the wedding was prohibited. That way the bride or groom did not have a chance to make a break for it if they were not happy with their parents choice, thus breaking the arrangement both sets of parents made. So when your crazy Aunt is upset that you aren’t being traditional...there is no actual tradition to uphold.

"I WANT TO HE HIS FACE WHEN HE FIRST SEES ME WANT DOWN THE AISLE"

Put yourself in your own shoes, you enter the room, over 100 people looking right at you with their jaws on the ground! It is just human nature to look at those who are looking at you. Like when you can feel that person at the stop light looking at you, so you look over. Yea you are going to look at everyone else. So many brides do this and I actually look for this because Joanna did it at our own wedding! By the time you finally lay your eyes on him, you are already calm and collected by everyone you saw.

"I want to be emotional when i see him!

It’s very true, we did not do a first look. It’s something we both regret to this day. I will explain why we have that regret in just a bit. If you are wondering “did I cry?” Sure did, HARD. Here is the thing though, I had to pull out all the stops to make this happen.
The song “it feel like home” from the movie “How to Lose a Guy in 10 days” had to play when Joanna walked down the aisle. I photographed a dance competition in Nashville years ago and a girl danced to this song, I filled my viewfinder with tears, thinking about Joanna. This had to be the song.
It had to be sung by our church’s worship pastor. A recording would not suffice. When the chorus came, she had to really give it her all on those notes, loud and proudThe doors had to swing open right at the chorus and Joanna enter. Did it really take all that just to make me emotional? I’m a Cubs fan, so being emotional in public is my thing lol. That’s what it takes sometimes to be emotional in front of hundreds of people though. 
Sounds amazing right? Here is the thing. Because wedding photos were so important to us, our wedding went an hour and a half behind schedule. Half of our guests left before our grand entrances! So many people we wanted to see we no longer could. If we had to do it all over again we would easily have made the decision to have a first look.

"I WANT TO HE HIS FACE WHEN HE FIRST SEES ME WANT DOWN THE AISLE"

While most Austin engagement photographers photograph year round, most couples choose a season based on the location they want to be photographed at.

Just a few things to keep in mind when planning for your engagement session:

Types of First Looks

Bridesmaids First Look

First Look with your Dad

Groomsmen First Look

Mom First Look

Grandparents

Your kids

Best Friends

Ring Bearers & Flowergirls

Your entire support system

Such a small intimate moment on a wedding day. You walk around the corner with your grandparents waiting, seeing their little grand baby all grown up. Let them know how much they have meant to you and shaped you into the person you are today.

If you already have children, the wedding day is just as much about them as well. This is a family coming together and being celebrated. Share a first look with them and really live in the moment together of what the wedding day means to all of you.

Such a special moment with you and your girls. Each one of these girls has made an impact on your life. Whether it's friends since you were in diapers, or that quick phone call where you knew no matter what you are safe, each one of these women are a sister to you. Let them remember why they are standing next to you on your wedding day, when they see you in your wedding dress together, you will all remember that sister bond you share.

Your wedding day, think about what it means to not only you and your spouse, but your dad as well. We promise you he has, every single day since you were a baby. Thinking about that moment he takes your hand and gives you away. Handing off those responsibilities that he has had since you were born. He has protected you, guided you, nurtured you. He was your booboo kisser, your candy sneaker, your best friend. When he sees you in his dress, live in the memories from your past and remind him that you will always be his baby girl.

Although not the traditional first look, when you turn around and your mother sees you in your wedding dress on your wedding day, it is going to hit her. She has been there for you during some of the hardest moments of your life, she has never given up on you, loved you through it all. Forget about all the little stresses that may have happened when you were getting ready, and be there for your mom when she realizes you have grown up and become the person she has always dreamt you would be.

Now you are looking at the photo going "Umm my guys wont be like that when they see me". The groomsmen first look is completely staged and so hilarious. Your groomsmen are going to act like every stereotypical bridesmaids first look you have seen on tv, then take it up to 150%. 

You have known these kids since they were born. You love them so much and each one brings you joy in their own way. The those little flower girls dance with you and the ring bearers feel like they are one of the guys by sharing in a first look with them.

Bring in those friends you haven't seen in years and let the first thing they see is you in your wedding dress. The memories will come roaring back at that very moment. 

Have one big first look with every single person that is important to you! Friends, family, let everyone see you all at the same time and really take in the emotions that each person is feeling. It will be an experience each person will never forget.

You don't have to do a first look with your partner, but you still should do something to make your wedding day even more special before the ceremony. Here are a couple of ideas: 

First Look Alternatives

Exchanging Letters

The First Touch

The fake First Look

The purpose of a first touch is for you to both experience an intimate moment together without having to physically see one another before the ceremony. We will find an intimate spot for both of you to hold hands with no worries of an accidental peek. We will go through your journey with you getting to this point and allowing you both to feel that energy flow between one another.

Writing a letter to your significant other before the wedding ceremony is a very special way to tell them how much they have meant to you during the time you have spent together in your relationship. How you have grown, how they have helped you become who you are today. Take advantage of this opportunity to express your feelings and tell them why they are your person.

This type of first look is 100% a joke. The groom CANNOT KNOW ABOUT THIS. This works best when the groom is apprehensive about having a first look, but you still want to take the stress off for him. Have the best man dress up in a ridiculous wedding dress. We will treat it like any first look and build it up. The more the groom is ready for the first look moment, the more he will absolutely lose it with laughter. It will be a moment everybody will remember forever.

Do you want to your groom to absolutely lose it when he sees you in your wedding dress? 

Let's talk!

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We do not take on every wedding that comes our way. It is important that we only work with the same couples who share the same brand values

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