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  • Darry Matthews

Why you should have a first look


So you may ask, "what is a first look anyway?" It’s when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, have a few moments alone, and get portraits done beforehand. The most usual is the groom will get set up in a certain location and the bride will then come to him and either tap on his shoulder or say his name for him to turn around, or they’ll close their eyes and face each other and do the big reveal together. There are many ways it can be done and we highly reccomend that you at very least consider it.

Why, you ask? With the busyness of your wedding day, we feel like it’s the one time the couple can slow down, be alone together and simply take in the reality that the big day is finally here. A time to set the tone for the day. It’s such a special moment— couples pray together, say their vows or exchange gifts. Doing a first look also allows you to get all your photos done before the ceremony. After the ceremony you are free mingle with your guests without having to be pulled away for pictures. If you’re having a lot of friends and family coming in from out of state, this is definitely something you’ll want to consider.

There's also the thing that Darryl has coined, "the great exhale." What we mean is when you are pronounced man and wife, it's the pinacle of everything you've planned for. Hunting for venues, choosing the perfect florals, cake tasting, dress shopping and all the other fun and, sometimes stressful, decisions that made your day perefect have been fufilled, and a stress release that's hard to describe with words washes over you. You simply want to be. You want to celebrate with your loved ones and friends, and even if you absolutely LOVE photography, after the "great exhale" it will be very hard to break away from your celebration to go and take more photos.

This private moment alone really sets the tone for the rest of the day, calms nerves, and gives the couple a chance to connect before the moment they are standing at the altar together. We totally get the tradition of waiting until the bride walks down the aisle, but if you’re prone to stress or anxiety especially, the first look is the way to go. Most importantly, you want your day to be enjoyable and smooth and for that, getting as much done before hand is ALWAYS helpful. Happy wedding planing!


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We are Marlene and Darryl, a travel obsessed, Home Goods loving couple that photographs joyful brides in Virginia and beyond. Thanks for stopping by!

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Marlene and Darryl are wedding and portrait photographers based in Harrisonburg, VA.

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