Jordyn Emmert Photography

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First Look: What it is and Why You Might Want One

First Look at Bri’elle and T.J.’s Grand Lake Micro Wedding – View their full blog post here

I  have confessed my deep love for “First Looks” numerous times  and I tend to point them out a lot. There is a reason for this. They’re AWESOME! However, not everyone is aware of how awesome they are, because they get caught up in how “non-traditional” it is, and they immediately write it off.  

After a lot of time  and experience, I’ve come to this conclusion.  Some brides love “traditions”…. but what a bride really wants when it comes to her groom seeing her for the first time, is a reaction.  Those who are not interested in a First Look usually think that by seeing each other beforehand, they will lose part of that reaction. They also assume that it will not be as emotional or as intimate as it would be if they were coming down the aisle.

What I have found is the exact opposite! 

Everyone knows that wedding days are a bit stressful for the bride and groom.  The whole day is focused on them, they need to look their best, they need to be on time, the groom has no idea what side the boutonniere is supposed to go on and little by little… the tension grows. 

Imagine this with me…it’s before the ceremony and the gravity of what is about to happen starts to sink in and 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 30-300 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…magical even! 

First Look at Bright Morning Farms in Tulsa Oklahoma
First Look at Bright Morning Farms in Tulsa Oklahoma
First look at Bright Morning Farms in Tulsa OklahomaView Jocelyn and Byrl’s full wedding blog post here

But oftentimes when a bride is walking down the aisle, her man is a nervous wreck! Spending those precious moments with his bride and best friends earlier in the day helps to take some of that pressure off. By the time the ceremony rolls around he is ready to enjoy your beautiful day!

For most grooms, the nerves kick in 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 typically doesn’t.  

After the first look and a few romantic portraits, 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.

First Look at Eleven Oaks Ranch
First Look at Eleven Oaks Ranch in Luther Oklahoma – Check out Brooke and Austin’s Full Wedding Blog Post Here

And if that’s all not enough to explain the reasons I have for loving when my couples choose to have a first look here’s a bit of a break down: 

1. A First Look Helps Diminish Nerves

The moment you see your spouse for the first time on your wedding day is super special, but can also cause a lot of nerves. Having a private relaxed moment before the ceremony helps to take some of the pressure off and leads nicely into my next reason….

2. First Looks Allows You to Enjoy the Moment Freely

You actually get to have intimate time on your wedding day with your man. Most brides don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally SHOCK him with your gorgeous-ness… 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 glance. Most of my couples also find it easier to express their emotions when they aren’t surrounded by everyone they know, so it allows for a truly genuine reaction.

First look at Tatanka Ranch
First look at Tatanka Ranch
First Look at Tatanka Ranch in Stroud Oklahoma – Check out Kalie and Kellar’s Full Wedding Blog Post Here

3. A First Look Extends Your Time Together on Your Special Day by about 3 hours. 

First Looks allow you to extend your wedding day.  Normally your time together on the wedding would start when you come down the aisle, then the ceremony would end, you would rush through portraits so that you’re not late for the introductions and then it’s reception time.  With a first look, your time together is extended by almost 3 hours! Instead of being rushed for your bridal party portraits… you actually get to enjoy them and have fun hanging out with your BEST friends on your wedding day.  The WHOLE first half of my client’s that choose a first looks wedding albums are filled with images just from this time together before the ceremony.

4. A First Look Provides You With Alone Time With Your Spouse

First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day. 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 those moments!

First Look at Willow Creek Mansion
First Look at Willow Creek Mansion
First Look at Willow Creek Mansion in Tulsa – Check out Brooklyn and Brandon’s Wedding Post Here

5. First Looks Result in More Portraits

You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography. With a first look, you’ll receive an average of 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.

Final Thoughts

Now for a quick disclaimer. I certainly don’t require my clients to have a first look by any means! While I think they are wonderful, they aren’t for everyone and that’s 100% fine!

I never want any of my couples to feel as though I’m pushing it on them, but the reason I share this over and over again (and include information about it in my bridal guide) is because I’ve seen the benefits of having a first look again and again.  I want the absolute BEST for my couples, but it’s totally ok if couples choose not to share a first look! At the end of the day your wedding is all about getting you married, and no matter how you choose to do it – if that is your focus- it will be perfect!

Have any questions about first looks? Feel free to comment them below or reach out to me via the contact page! I’m more than happy to brainstorm some ideas for your own big day with you 😉 

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meet the photographer jordym

Fueled by equal parts coffee and passion, I spend my days capturing the kinds of images that make you stop, smile and ask time to please slow down. Your story, your love, is beautiful and I can’t wait to capture it in images you will treasure for years to come! I believe in real moments, serving my couples well, and doing it all for GOD’s glory

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