first look.jpgWhen I ask couples if they’re doing a first look, they either fall into one of three categories: A definite “NO!”, a “Maybe, we haven’t really thought about it”, or “What’s a first look?”

So what is a first look anyway? A first look happens usually a few hours before the ceremony where the bride and groom see each other for the first time, instead of waiting until the bride walks down the aisle. It’s usually prearranged by the couple and the photographer and is built into the timeline of the day.

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But Maria, why would we want to see each other before the wedding? Wouldn’t that ruin the tradition? I get it! Trust me, my husband was very traditional that way as well and we did not have a first look at our wedding. But do you know where that tradition stems from? Back in the day, when arranged marriages were common, the bride and groom were not allowed to see each other at all before the wedding. The ceremony symbolized a done business deal between two families. The father of the bride feared that if the groom found his daughter unattractive, he would call off the wedding, bringing shame to his daughter and the family. So the two were not allowed to meet until the day of the wedding. And the wedding veil over the face? That was so the groom couldn’t see what the bride looked like until the officiant announced, “You are now husband and wife. You may kiss your bride.” Romantic hey?

If I could do it all over again, I’d definitely have a first look and here’s why.

  1. Seeing each other beforehand takes some of the pressure off. I was so nervous walking down the aisle that when I got to the end and saw my future husband, I gave him a hug and a big kiss, because that’s naturally what I would do when I see him. He backed away from me like, “We’re not supposed to do that yet,” and it made for an awkward situation.
  2. It’s a special moment and more time for just the two of you. Believe me when I tell you, the day flies by. If you’re having a later ceremony (between 3:30-4pm), you are spending more than half your wedding day apart from each other. The first look gives you more time together and more photo opportunities.

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3. You get to enjoy your entire reception!  This one is huge and probably one of my biggest regrets. About 50% of your entire wedding budget goes to the reception, you literally owe it to yourselves to be there for it. To this day, I still hear so many great things about our cocktail hour, but we barely got to experience it between we chose to take our pictures between our ceremony and reception. Enjoy your cocktail hour and those who are there to celebrate you!

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4. You will still get your walking down the aisle moment. Every couple (grooms especially) say they’re so happy they decided to do a first look and that it took nothing away from seeing their bride come down the aisle. You will still be just as excited to see one another and you won’t have the urge to give each other a big hug and kiss after being apart all day.
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No client of mine has ever told me that they regretted doing a first look. I’ve always gotten the response, “I’m so glad we did that!” I understand that first looks aren’t for everyone but it’s something that you should really consider doing. It frees up time in your day and makes the wedding schedule a little less hectic. Chances are your marriage isn’t arranged, you two know what the other looks like and you’re not backing out of anything.

Did you decided to have a first look? Comment below!

Taylor and Kyle had the most perfect wedding day anyone could’ve asked for. It was so much fun hanging out with them all day long and I’m still so honored that they asked me to document their big day.

I had the joy of hanging out with the ladies at the salon before the bridal preparations took place. Because Jamie had another wedding that same day, she had to fit Taylor in earlier in the morning. Afterwards, we all had lunch together before heading to the venue.

One thing I learned about Taylor and Kyle is that everyone at their wedding had a long history with them. These two definitely make friends for life, which should be a given since they’ve known each other since they were kids themselves. It’s so amazing to see a couple that has grown up together and who are still so in love after all these years of really knowing each other.

Congratulations Taylor & Kyle! Thank you for asking me to be your wedding photographer and for making me feel like part of the family.

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Reception Decor
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Miss Cupcake Milwaukee
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Schlitz Audubon Nature Center Wedding
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Schlitz Audubon Nature Center Wedding

Key Players

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

Cupcakes: Miss Cupcake Bakery

Bride’s Dress: Mori Lee @ Amelishan Bridal

Groom’s Suite: Men’s Wearhouse Navy suit

Florist: Rachel Block @ Reflections of You

DJ/Entertainment: On the Limiter Productions

Bridal Party Hair and Make up: Impressions

Timing played a key factor in the relationship between Ally and Nico. They met through mutual friends and upon getting together, they realized they probably should’ve ran into one another sooner: from being on the same dinner cruise as one another to visiting the same pick your own fruit farms as children. They kept missing each other but Ally said that they met when the timing in their lives was just right.

For their engagement session we headed down to the lakefront for some tandem bicycle fun. These two love being active and have participated in a number of races together throughout their relationship. They told me that they had gone down to the lakefront a few weeks prior to make sure they practiced for their shoot. I’ve heard these bikes can be tricky to ride, but these two were champs. We had so much fun!

Nico and Ally will be married next summer in an intimate wedding. They aren’t having a bridal party, so the day will be focused on just the two of them. I can’t wait to hang out with these two again and I’m so grateful they chose me document their day!
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Kacie & Justin knew each other in high school. They were two grades apart from one another and it wasn’t until after Justin graduated from high school that their paths crossed and a relationship blossomed. Justin decided to propose on the coldest day of the year. He had carved in an ice patch behind their house, “Will You Marry Me?” and had to do some strong convincing to get Kacie outside. After some resistance, she went outside and was so surprised at what Justin had done…in the freezing cold weather.

These two are meant for each other. They light each other up and we laughed the whole time during their session. Kacie wanted to do their engagement shoot at her parent’s horse farm where grew up in Southeastern Wisconsin. We had so much fun walking around her parents’ land and finding all sorts of random things. These two will be married next July and I can’t wait to celebrate the beginning of this new chapter in their lives together.

To find a love like Kyle & Taylor’s is rare these days. These two started dating the summer going into 8th grade. Kyle asked Taylor out three times before Taylor finally agreed. They were voted ‘cutest couple’ by their 8th grade classmates. A title that still proves to be true. These two are absolutely adorable together. The way they look at each other is how I imagine they looked at each other in those early days of dating, they are still wildly in love with one another.

Kyle proposed to Taylor with a unique engagement ring: a champagne sapphire stone set in a rose gold band. They had just come from fishing at the lake. Kyle claimed that they had forgotten something for his dad and that they had to go back. He got her back to the lake and popped the question! She of course said, “YES!” and the two will be married this July. I’m so excited for their wedding. I know the day will be wonderful.

Melissa and Victor. Two of my favorite people. Melissa is my younger sister and Victor is her boyfriend. Melissa has always been my biggest supporter and cheerleader. Whenever I have expressed any self-doubt about what I was doing in life, she was the one to set me straight. She’s honest, has the biggest heart of anyone I know, and is the greatest sister in the world.

I was excited when she told me that she and Victor wanted to a couples’ session in the Third Ward. We originally were trying to hold out for snow, but Wisconsin had a pretty strange winter this past season, so we worked with what we had. A couples’ session turned baby reveal (yay!) back to where they had their very first date: Milwaukee Public Market. I’m so excited that these two found each other and that they will be giving me a niece or nephew come late July!! They’re perfect for one another and they will make amazing parents. They are already a wonderful Aunt and Uncle to my two little ones and their baby is going to have the best smile ever.