For Brides | The First Look Explained

Confession: Ben & I didn’t do a first look. Five years ago, having a first-look-moment was just becoming “a thing” but I had always considered myself rather traditional. There was no way I wanted to see Ben before our ceremony!!! But honestly? It’s probably the only thing that I would change about our wedding day.

For me, I really thought that if Ben saw me before the ceremony then that would take away all of the anticipation of watching me walk down the aisle. As a bride, I wanted the reaction — I wanted Ben to be so overwhelmed with joy that he teared up at the first sight of me! What bride doesn’t want that?? Sure enough, as I walked down the aisle I saw tears in Ben’s eyes… but do you know what happened next? Ben & I stood across from each other for 30-minutes in silence and waited to share our joy with each other. We couldn’t embrace each other, cry together, share a kiss, or enjoy that moment together for as long as we wanted. Ben couldn’t tell me how beautiful I looked and I couldn’t tell Ben how handsome he was. All of those thoughts that had been racing through our heads all morning long would now have to wait.

Couples usually think that the morning of your wedding will be crazy-busy and after the ceremony, they’ll get to relax but in fact it’s just the opposite. Your morning will be the most peaceful part of the day because immediately after the ceremony it’s time for family photos, wedding party photos, bride & groom portraits, and making it to the reception on time. Often times, there really isn’t “down time” until after the first dances and by then, it’s time to dance the night away with all of your guests! For Ben & I, the entire wedding day had passed and we still haven’t had time to truly talk as husband and wife.

Madison & Milwaukee Wedding Photographer - Kallidoscope PhotographyAfter photographing so many first-look moments, I can honestly tell you that IF your groom is the type of man who might tear up as you come down the aisle — he’s going to have that exact same reaction whether he’s seen you already or not. The moment of anticipation right before those doors open, when the entire room stands to their feet, as his future walks towards him… that moment is as real and raw as it gets. Take the groom below for example! Calvin saw his bride before the ceremony and had the sweetest reaction but he STILL cried as Lacey walked down the aisle!

Madison & Milwaukee Wedding Photographer - Kallidoscope PhotographyMatt & Laura had one of my FAVORITE first-look moments ever — Matt couldn’t keep his hands off of Laura! Immediately after they saw each other, they embraced for a few minutes and spilled their hearts to each other (seriously, I was bawling). During their ceremony, Matt lost it all over again and Laura spent the entire ceremony wiping the tears off his cheeks. The only difference was that instead of spending the 30-minute ceremony thinking of ALL the words he wanted to say to his bride… they had already gotten that alone time together (which they wouldn’t have had otherwise).

Madison & Milwaukee Wedding Photographer - Kallidoscope PhotographyAside from creating a pocket of alone time with each other, there are so many other added bonuses! Imagine if you could take ALL of your photos before the ceremony — no rushing through portraits, no stress about making it to the reception on time, actually enjoying cocktail hour with your guests!

When Ben & I got married, we had 1.5 hours before our reception started. By the time we corralled our family together for photos and got through bridesmaid, groomsmen, and wedding party photos — it was time for our grand entrance but we hadn’t taken ANY bride + groom portraits yet! We decided to take them at sunset so that our guests didn’t have to wait any longer (we were already running behind schedule) but sunset came RIGHT as dinner was being served. We left our untouched dinner plated, hurried outside to get our photos taken and by the time we re-entered the room it was time for dancing.

Pictured below are Ashley & Kyle. Their first-look was SO special because they decided to exchange their personal vows during this time too — both the bride & groom wanted to pour their hearts out in private rather than in front of all their guests (yet another time that I bawled my eyes out while documenting this special moment).

Madison & Milwaukee Wedding Photographer - Kallidoscope PhotographyErik & Kenzie traveled from out of state for their wedding & their guests came from across the globe to celebrate their marriage. Since they wanted to soak up every single minute with all of their friends + family, we took all of their portraits before the ceremony and they had the entire night to enjoy themselves, free of stress! Erik was elated when he turned around saw how stunning Kenzie looks but his ceremony reaction was JUST as joy filled — complete with a just-married fist pump!!!

Madison & Milwaukee Wedding Photographer - Kallidoscope Photography

By NO MEANS do I require my couples to have a first look and I certainly don’t want to push the idea on anyone!! However, I have seen the benefits of doing a first look over-and-over again so I only share this information because I truly want what’s best for my couples! Hopefully this post has given you some insight to the advantages that sharing a first-look will bring to your wedding day — talk it over with your groom and decide what’s best for you! Xo