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One of the questions every bride asks herself when planning her wedding is “Should we do a first look?” As a photographer, I have a deep love for First Looks. There is a reason for this, they’re AWESOME! However, not everyone is aware of how awesome they are because they get caught up on how “non-traditional” they are. Trust me, as a southern girl, I love traditions! I get it! When I was a bride I wanted the same things – that reaction of my groom when he sees me walking down the aisle! I wanted my husband to be shocked and awed and even shed a few tears, what girl doesn’t want that?! After choosing to do a first look at my wedding and shooting several weddings, what I have found is that while you might like traditions what you really want is that REACTION! Those who are not interested in a First Look usually think that seeing each other before the ceremony will lose some of that reaction. They assume that it will not be as emotional as it would be coming down the aisle.
What I have found is that wedding days can be stressful for the bride and groom. The whole day is focused on them, they need to look their best, be on time, the groom has no idea what side of 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 a 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 que 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 where? 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.
For most grooms, the nerves kick in right 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 anyway.
Because they aren’t on a time crunch… they 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. 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 boys act like boys. After a few minutes the bridal party portraits begin and they’re 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 the BRIDE!!! His best friend, his companion, his sweetheart… she’s stunning… 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 ok if couples choose not to share a first look! It’s just my preference to do one for many reasons.
So, First Look- Is it worth it?
40% More Portraits:
You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography. With a first look, you’ll receive 40% MORE portraits of the two of you… and those are the images you will decorate your first home with ! With a first look, you make the most out of this large investment and get the most for your money.
Enjoy the Surprise Freely:
You actually get to have intimate time on your wedding day with your man. Most brides realize that when you come down the aisle you totally SHOCK him with your gorgeousness… he can’t even tell you how amazing you look. He can’t touch you, embrace you, or even SPEAK to you. You have to wait until 30 minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you how amazing you look. And after 30 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first look glance.
Your Only Alone Time:
Fist Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day. It puts you in the PERFECT mood for your romantic portraits. Normally portraits are a little rushed after the family formals, and it can be hard to really get back into that “lovey dovey” mode… especially with family around! When you have just shared your first look, you’re READY to love on each other, and I always capture some super sweet images during these moments!
You get rid of your nerves! I’d say, literally 1/2 of my couples who have decided to do a first look, the grooms were not fans of it at first. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve racking it can be. I have testimonials from so many grooms who initially who initially weren’t a fan of the first look… but afterwards admitted to being SO much more relaxed and ready for the ceremony!
All of that being said, Do I think you should do a First Look?