Happy Wedding Wednesday! 

Photography is hands down one of the most important elements of a sensational wedding! After investing your time, energy, heart (and let's not forget money) into your wedding, the last thing you want is mediocre photos of the best day ever. Which is why I love working with amazing photographers, such as Mandi Mitchell, who know how to deliver the ultimate quality and captures for my couples. Prior to recently working with Mandi for our sensational couple Dwann and Jacob's big day in March, I'll admit I was on the fence regarding first looks. Let's just say Mandi COMPLETELY opened my mind, and I have a new found love for first looks.

What I learned from witnessing glimpses of Dwann and Jacob's first look and viewing the final photos from Mandi is that it is truly a special moment JUST for the couple. So much of the wedding day is shared with the bridal party, family and friends, which is all great. However, those private moments the first look provides are so magical for the couple and ultimately gives them tons of beautiful photos together. If you're unsure if a first look is for you, here's some advice from Mandi:

What is a First Look?

Mandi: A first look allows the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony. This is done with the couple and photographer, and allows the couple a private moment together. This moment allows for a very intimate and private setting in which the couple gets to interact, kiss, hug, and talk with each other. When the father, or whoever, walks the bride down the aisle, there is no opportunity for this sweet moment as the couple immediately is getting married. 

Why do you recommend for couples to do a First Look?

Mandi: I’m soooo glad you asked! First off, it’s much more romantic for couples to get to see each other with no one else around. It provides a private moment that the two of you will remember forever. I still remember my first look with my husband, Josh.

Secondly, couples who see each other before the ceremony are much more relaxed throughout the day. You get to spend your wedding DAY with your groom! I loved the fact that Josh and I have memories from our entire wedding day together, not just ceremony and reception.

Couples get more time for pictures if they see each other before the ceremony, meaning you get 50% more pictures of the two of you. Most of the time, I schedule at least an hour’s worth of pictures for just you. When you don’t see each other, you only have 15, maybe 20 minutes total after the ceremony. It’s more relaxed and less rushed when we do pictures before the wedding. Also, you can get nearly all pictures done before the ceremony, so more time after the wedding to spend with your guests!

If a bride says, “I don’t want to see him before the ceremony because it takes away from the wedding day and makes the moment I walk down the aisle less special”, what advice would you have for her?

Mandi: I always tell my couples that this is far from the truth. I saw Josh at our First Look four hours before the ceremony. We had this very special and amazing moment just the two of us. We got to hug, kiss, talk, giggle, and even have a few funny jokes with each other that we still laugh about today. If we hadn’t seen each other, I would have had my Dad walk me down to him, stand in between us, and then we would move right into the ceremony. No chance to kiss, laugh, or have inside jokes. I still cried during our First Look AND walking down the aisle to marry him. I still had those butterflies in my stomach as I walked down to him. I still had all of the same emotions I would have had I not seen him. In fact, I think I got to enjoy walking to him even more because I wasn’t freaking out inside. We had already seen each other and had a good time during the day already.

Now that you know more about first looks and how they can enhance your day, hopefully you are able to make a more informed decision to stick with or kick tradition. I got married in 2009 and didn't have a first look, but I definitely see value in first looks now. No matter which route you go, as long as you have an amazing photographer (and of course a sensational planner) you are sure to get some amazing memories of your day! To find out more about Mandi Mitchell Photography, based in Georgia, visit her website.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on first looks in the comments section. Would you or did you have a first look? Let's chat!

Sensationally yours,