Why You May Want to Throw Tradition Aside and Have That First Look, Especially if You’re Planning An Outdoor Wedding

Tradition is good, and many people like to stick to tradition, and that’s fine. But when it comes to planning your wedding timeline, A First Look can be a wedding day game changer, especially when Mother Nature rears her fickle head.

A First Look is where the bride and groom see each other at some point before the ceremony. Usually it’s a couple hours before the ceremony starts. And usually it’s a moment shared just between the couple (and their photographers). And although First Looks aren’t the traditional way to do things, and some may think they’re not as romantic or as special as seeing each other at the altar for the first time, First Looks can be both those things. And First Looks can be extremely practical and relieve the stress of the day. Here are just a few reasons that brides and grooms will want to consider including a First Look into their wedding day timeline.

1) Talk About Romantic: First Looks are a moment that the couple can share together, alone. You don’t have to share that time with the congregation of friends and family. Brides and grooms can take a few moments to really be together, hug, kiss, check each other out. You don’t get to do that when seeing each other at the altar.

2) So Special: Many brides envision their husband-to-be seeing them for the first time as they walk down the aisle and his reaction to them. Will he cry, will he have a huge smile?? Well you don’t lose any of this when you have a First Look. The reaction is still there. And many times, it’s way more pronounced because your groom does not have hundreds of eyes on him, watching him and you at that moment. A First Look is shared between the bride and groom, no one else, and not during a stuffy ceremony where you may feel like all you can do is hold hands. You guys have full reign to cry, shout, grin like a cheshire cat, or even do a little dance. It will be a moment that’s remembered forever. Plus, you’ll have amazing pictures to remind you of it! In addition, you’ll still have those walking down the aisle images, and they’re no less special because you’ve already seen each other. The walk is still exciting because it’s the very moments before you say, “I Do.” It’s oh, so real.

3) It’s Practical: A First Look is usually done about two hours before the wedding ceremony. This also gives time for all of the wedding party portraits to be taken, and family portraits to be taken BEFORE the ceremony. If you get all of your posed pictures taken before the ceremony, you have more time to party and socialize with your loved ones afterward.

4) Less Stress: Because you are taking all of your portraits before the ceremony gets started, you’re not trying to cram one of the more stressful portions of the day in between the hour after the ceremony and before the reception. You don’t have to worry as much about running long on time and setting back the reception or dinner. And you don’t have to worry about rounding up family members that don’t pay attention and head off to the Cocktail Hour even though they were told to stay for portraits 🙂

And finally, a First Look,

5) Can Be a Game Changer When Mother Nature Doesn’t Cooperate: Outdoor weddings can be dicey. Will it rain, won’t it? Especially in the summer when storms can pop up at any moment. This past weekend’s wedding really put into perspective for me how important a First Look can be. Justin and Mikaela planned an outdoor ceremony with a mountainview at Sierra Vista in Bedford, Va., and the day started off beautifully. However, about 15 minutes before their ceremony was scheduled to start, a storm started to creep in over the mountains.


But because we already completed the couple’s First Look, and taken all wedding party and family pictures, they were able to relax and try to wait the storm out a little bit. They eventually had to hold the ceremony inside the barn about 30 minutes past the scheduled start time, but essentially everything was still on schedule because all portraits were done. They truly only cut a bit of the Cocktail Hour and just went right into the Reception after the ceremony. So instead of worrying about the schedule being off, and being even more frustrated during portraits AFTER a ceremony that was behind schedule, things went off without a hitch and they got beautiful, rain free images like these:

Justin and Mikaela’s First Look:


Wedding Party, Family and Bride and Groom Portraits:


To see more from this wedding, click here.

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