All The Glorious Benefits of Sharing a First Look on Your Wedding Day

January 1, 2020

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First Look Wedding Planning BASH in Carmel Indianapolis Indiana Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel

SO MANY OF MY BRIDES have told me these words not only changed their mind from seeing each other at the aisle to sharing a First Look but got them SO EXCITED TO HAVE ONE on their wedding day!! I encourage you to explore the idea because every couple who does it never regrets it.

Sharing a First Look is a modern tradition and can be an amazing part of your wedding day! If you are unsure about a First Look (or honestly, completely against it at this point) let me just explain why it would be a super romantic and beneficial addition to your wedding day celebration that not only adds to the experience but also reduces stress.

Please know that I would never want any of my couples to feel pressured to go with this option. However, I do want to make sure that I share all of the benefits of a First Look because there is a reason a lot of couples do this and LOVE it!

Indiana Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel

The First Look is a new trending tradition that many couples are loving and there’s a reason for this, THEY ARE AWESOME! However, not everyone is aware of how great a First Look is because they get caught up in how non-traditional it is and they immediately write it off. Every bride dreams of having a REACTION from her groom as she walks down the aisle in front of their family and friends. Well, even after most First Looks, the groom still has a reaction when he sees you at the end of the aisle! Whether there are tears or not, you will still feel like a million bucks. Walking down the aisle is still a very impactful and special moment that you will treasure for a lifetime!

I mean, just imagine Noah below being forced to hide this reaction of his stunning bride because he’s standing at the aisle in front of so many people.

The Sixpence Wedding Venue Indianapolis Indiana a wedding photo by wedding photographer Courtney Rudicel

Getting a Reaction from your Groom

The Sixpence Wedding | After experiencing so many weddings from photographing to planning my own to standing by my girls on their best day ever, I’ve come to learn that. yes, some brides love “tradition” but ultimately what a bride REALLY wants when it comes to her groom seeing her for the first time is a REACTION.

Let me start by saying A FIRST LOOK DOES NOT RUIN THE MOMENT AT THE AISLE. A first look basically gives you the opportunity to get a reaction out of your groom MORE THAN ONCE. A bride who is not interested in a First Look usually thinks that by seeing each other beforehand, they will lose part of that reaction at the aisle. She also thinks it won’t be as emotional or powerful as it would be if she were coming down the aisle. That’s not true at all.

Classic Laurel Hall Wedding Photography by Courtney Rudicel Indiana Wedding Photographer

Laurel Hall Wedding | Brittany and Brandon shared a first look on their wedding and it was so sweet. Brandon got a little teary-eyed and they were both smiling from ear to ear as they looked each other up and down, got to hold each other close and share in their excitement for the day. What some may not realized when they saw their blog post is that Brandon ALSO was emotional at the aisle! Even after seeing her ALL DAY.

Laurel Hall Wedding Indianapolis Indiana Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel

Grooms normally become incredibly nervous on wedding days even if they seem cool and collected.  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 with no people, no on-lookers, no distractions… and 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 but he could truly embrace her, cry with her, kiss her and ENJOY that sweet moment without holding back for as long as he wanted! As she shows off her dress, twirls a few times and then asked him what he thinks…his nerves are gone. After all, she’s the one who can make him feel most comfortable anyway.

Indiana Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel

Because there isn’t a time crunch, couples casually move into their romantic portraits. No one is around, a coordinator isn’t screaming in the back “15 MINUTES!” and there is no pressure! It’s just the two of them and their photographer capturing this special moment, the excitement and joy of their wedding day. This is your time to be TOGETHER and to be ALONE. When does that happen on a wedding day? Without a First Look, it doesn’t. (Did you catch that?) No alone time!  After your romantic portraits are done, 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! And they are fun because there is time to make them fun! There aren’t any guests waiting impatiently at 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 for the precessional 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 HIS BRIDE! His best friend, his companion, his sweetheart! She’s stunning, absolutely stunning. The closer she gets the bigger his smile grows. 

Fort Wayne Indiana Wedding Photographer First Look

I used to feel bad for sharing this option with couples who were against it because I didn’t want to push anything on them. However, I’ve seen the benefits of a First Look over and over again and so I only share this because I want the BEST DAY EVER for my couples!! It’s totally ok if couples choose not to share a First Look!

Indiana Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel


Twice as many portraits!

You’re investing a lot in your wedding photography. With a first look, you’ll receive 40% MORE portraits of the two of you! Those are the images you will decorate your home with! With a First Look, you make the most of this large investment and get more memories captured from your special day!

Enjoy the shock FREELY **this is what sold it for me!**

Girl, I get it. You want a reaction out of him!! Every bride does! (Including myself) BUT what most brides don’t realize is that when you come down the aisle and he sees you and all your gorgeous-ness…he can’t tell you how amazing you look! He can’t give you a big hug and kiss, or twirl you around 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 beautiful you look and by that time, his reaction isn’t nearly the same as when he saw you for the first time.

Extend your day by 3 hours

Don’t you want this day to last as long as possible?! First Looks allow you to extend your wedding day by almost three hours! Normally the “wedding” starts when you come down the aisle, then the ceremony ends and you rush through portraits so you’re not keeping your guests waiting! After the ceremony, the day’s events are so rushed! Guests are hungry, they want to talk to the newlyweds, you guys want to get to the party, there’s no time to really relax and ENJOY the day! Instead, with a First Look, you actually get to enjoy portrait time and have fun hanging out with your BEST friends and your future spouse on your wedding day. The WHOLE first half of my couples’ wedding albums are filled with images just from the time together before the ceremony!

Your only alone time

First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day! When you see each other, not only will it be intimate, it will be your only time to be alone the whole day! It will put you in the PERFECT mood for your romantic portraits. Normally portraits are a little rushed after the family formals and it can be hard to really get back into that “lovey-dovey” mood, especially with family around! When you have just a shared first look, you’re READY to love on each other and I always capture some super sweet images during those moments!

Diminish the nerves

You get rid of nerves! I’d say, most grooms are not fans of it at first. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they don’t know how nerve-racking it can be. Read through these thoughts on his First Look. They will hopefully shed some light on how beneficial this intimate moment can be!

Indiana Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel


“One thing I realized about my wedding day was how little time was spent with just me and my wife-to-be. We had morning activities with our respective parties, getting ready, photos, ceremony shared with friends and family, and the reception. The whole day goes so fast and is so busy, but there was this one spot in the middle of the day where everything slowed down. Where I got to take a breath, truly take in how beautiful my bride was and think about this unbelievable step we were about to take in our lives.  The photos that captured this moment are some of my favorites, as they were more personal and intimate. That moment was just ours and it’s a memory I’ll cherish forever.”   – Marcus

“On your wedding day, there is a lot of pressure to get everything right. The photos coming out perfect is no exception. Personally, neither I or Lauren are fans of being the center of attention so being able to get the extremely emotional moment of seeing my wife-to-be in her wedding dress for the first time without anyone else watching took a huge weight off both our shoulders. Not only that but it helped ensure I wasn’t a blubbering mess at the altar. Honestly, after looking at our photos, some of our favorite shots came from the First Look and I will cherish that moment for the rest of my life. It also helped make the photos during the ceremony come out even better as well. Looking back I wouldn’t have changed a thing and I think I was just as excited for that First Look as I was to say I do.”  – Andy

Wedding Day First Look Rose Courts Photography Fort Wayne Indianapolis Indiana Wedding Photographer Engagement Photography

All I’m saying…..don’t disregard the idea of a First Look. This information completely changed my mind. I wanted to be traditional, as well. But after hearing all of this, I knew Jacob was going to have things to say and would want to hug me and I’d want to hug and kiss him! I knew I wanted to enjoy that moment as long as I possibly could with just him because if not, we wouldn’t have that time at all!  You won’t regret it 🙂

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I’d love to chat about your wedding day dreams!

Courtney is a Wedding Photographer in Indiana. Her specialty is joyful, timeless and playfully romantic wedding photography for classic and timeless couples and educating photographers on how to build a business that delivers an unforgettable client experience. Within Indiana, she serves Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Lafayette, Bloomington and South Bend. Areas in surrounding states that she serves: Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, Ohio; Ann Arbor, Battle Creek and Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is available for destination weddings. Contact her for investment details and reserve your date.

xo, Court

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As a creative wedding photographer, I'm always refining my eye for shooting artistically but I also understand the importance of preserving ALL the elements of your day. You'll feel confident knowing your gallery will include jaw-dropping portraits that feel natural, candids that embody your unique connection, along with every detail of your celebration from start to finish. All this while having someone behind the camera who feels like an old friend. 

aN intentional wedding photographer turning your love story into art.

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