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Why You Should Consider a First Look

Why a First Look can be so Important on Your Wedding Day

First Looks: I used to be on the fence about them, but after photographing several weddings I have realized just how valuable they can be. I get it, it completely breaks tradition… and wedding traditions are a big deal (especially in the south it seems like). Some even say it’s bad luck for a groom to see the bride before she walks down the aisle, but I don’t think it’s the superstition holding brides back from a first look.

It’s this idea of getting a REACTION from the groom. Almost every time a bride fills out my wedding questionnaire, they specifically ask for a picture of the groom’s reaction to her walking down the aisle. For some reason, it’s common to think the groom will not bawl his eyes out unless he is standing up on that platform in front of ALL of those people. I’m here to tell you why this probably isn’t true… along with a few more reasons why first looks will make your wedding day go so much smoother! BTW… #3 is a necessity that brides typically don’t realize they need!


  1. Seeing each other for the first time will be special no matter what.

Whether it’s in front of 100’s of guests or tucked away in a private place, seeing each other for the first time is going to be special no matter what. If your groom is going to cry happy tears or smile in awe, the location and time will not affect it. In my opinion, it being just the two of you will make it less nerve-wracking. After a first look, the ceremony will allow you to experience it all over again with your guests watching. Brides… you get TWO times to strut your stuff!!!

2. Privacy

A first look allows you to have your groom all to yourself… no audience (besides me and maybe your videographer, but you won’t even know we’re there). You get to talk to each other, exchange HUGS (and a kiss unless you want to save that for the ceremony), and laugh with each other!!! You can’t do this while exchanging vows on a platform in front of your guests.

3. QUALITY (and I can’t stress this enough) TIME !!!

This day is about the joining together of two people who love each other. Shouldn’t you get to spend and enjoy the wedding day TOGETHER?! If you don’t share a first look, you will get little quality time with your groom because immediately after your ceremony you have family, bridal party, and bride and groom portraits to attend to because you couldn’t accomplish them before the ceremony (you couldn’t see each other, remember?!). It’s also a whirlwind when your guests arrive. You will be constantly greeting and speaking to them at your reception (you might not even get a chance to eat). If you choose a first look, you get a few hours before the ceremony to spend with your groom. Y’all can talk and hangout with your bridal party with no worry of having to stay hidden in your getting-ready suite.

4. More Portraits

You’re investing a lot of money into your wedding photography. Don’t you want to get as many pictures as possible? Choosing a first look allows us to have bride and groom portrait time BEFORE and AFTER the ceremony. We can also get all of the bridal party pictures and the majority of family formals done pre-ceremony so they aren’t much of a hassle in between the ceremony and reception. You get to your reception quicker, and my couples that choose a first look get around 40% more B&G portraits than those that choose the traditional route.

5. Gift Exchange

A lot of my couples choose to exchange gifts prior to their ceremony. It’s fun! What makes it even more fun is when you get to see your S/O’s reaction to his gift. I know I’m nosy like that… I want to make sure they loved my gift!!

6. Helps With Nerves

Who doesn’t get nervous in front of an audience? Everyone always puts so much pressure on the groom’s reaction, and he knows it too. Choosing the first look route helps calm the groom because his reaction will be in private.

Huntsville Alabama Wedding First Look Between Bride and Groom and Gift Exchange

my favorite image from Brianna and Andrew’s Wedding Day


I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve experienced the skies being clear until RIGHT BEFORE the ceremony. That’s when the rain decides to set in. How convenient, right? Your wedding day is not promised to be perfect. However, there are steps you can take to help with things out of your control. Having a first look gives you TWO chances for portraits in case of storms or other uncontrollable factors.

Huntsville Alabama Wedding First Look Between Bride and Groom


Maybe this helped you see first looks in a new light. I understand it’s tradition for the groom to see the bride walking down the aisle. A first look won’t make it any less epic, and it will not give you “bad luck”. My couples should always know all of their options and how they can help your wedding day! I have never had a couple regret using a first look.


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Madison Martin Photography, LLC is a wedding and lifestyle photography service located in Huntsville, Alabama but is available for travel.







WEDDINGS + Lifestyle