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I'm Alyssa, a NC based wedding and senior photographer who is crazy about storytelling (and my cat). Grab a snack and get comfy! It's time to check out my past work, photography education, and travel adventures!

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Why You Should Do a First Look

First Look | The Parlour at Manns Chapel | Chapel Hill NC

Doing a First Look can be a bit controversial to some.

If you don’t know, a first look is when the bride and groom decide to see each other before the ceremony. It’s honestly an amazing thing!

Now technically this goes against tradition which states that you should see each other for the first time when you walk down the aisle.

I will say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sticking to tradition! A few of my brides choose to do this and their weddings were beautiful. But there are some cool benefits to doing a first look, which I’ll get into next!

You get the scary part over with

First Look | Raleigh North Carolina

I have a lot of brides who tell me they want to see the groom cry and smile and get emotional as they walk down the aisle. But oddly very few do this!

Walking down the aisle can be a bit intimidating. Everyone is looking at you and your future spouse. It can be hard to show emotion during this time.

I really believe it’s about nerves and the fact that most guys don’t want to be emotional in front of everyone.

Now I have seen some guys get a little emotional as the bride walks down the aisle. But in my experience, it’s usually cute and nervous smiles (which are still really nice!) But maybe not going to give you that very emotional moment you were looking for.

Doing a first look can allow both of you to experience the full range of your emotions without the pressure of a ton of eyes on you. It would just be you and your fiance (and the photographer haha) enjoying a quiet but beautiful moment.

You can hug, cry, kiss, exchange letters or gifts. Use this moment to do whatever is most special to you!

You get more photos

The Parlour at Manns Chapel

Once your first look is over, you can jump right into couples portraits! This allows you to spend a lot more time on them and get in more locations.

Without a First Look, this is often done after the wedding, AND family photos, AND bridal party photos. So you could be a little done taking pictures by then and opt to do less. Which you might regret later.

You spend more time with your guests

Reception | The Parlour at Manns Chapel

With a First Look, you can do your couples’ photos first when you are the freshest.

Then if you want, you can also do bridal party photos, meaning after the ceremony you just do a few family photos and you are done!

That means no endless cocktail hour for your guests! 

Conclusion: Really consider doing a first look

First Look | Raleigh NC

You’ll have more time for photos, you can have a meaningful quiet moment of a hectic day, and you can get right to partying after your wedding!

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  1. I love your blog posts.

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Alyssa is an international wedding and portrait photographer based in North Carolina