Leigh & Matthew [first look]

The phrase “first look” is used to describe the moment when a bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day prior to the ceremony.  For those of you who are southerners, this may be a foreign concept to you.  I assume that the reason is because we southerners are rooted in tradition and want to do what is appropriate and expected.  I know Matt and I did not want to see each other prior to the ceremony on our wedding day, and we didn’t.  Our photographer mentioned that it would be easier to get all of our pictures done beforehand, but we felt pretty strongly about not seeing each other.  I had always pictured that moment in my head when my husband would be at the end of the aisle and see me for the first time.

To be honest, I had never experienced a first look until Leigh and Matthew’s wedding a couple of weeks ago!  I’m incredibly torn about using the phrase “first look” to describe what I experienced that day (Let me know if you have any ideas!), because a phrase so casual simply doesn’t do it justice!  Let me set the scene…

Leigh was nervously waiting in the balcony of the church to hear that her husband-to-be was in place and ready for her.  Her mom and bridesmaids surrounded her helping with the finishing touches to her dress, her hair, and her make-up.  Once I got the call from Matt that he and Matthew were in place, she and I headed down the spiral stairway, out the massive front doors of the church, and through the gate of the garden.  She turned back, asked me how she looked, threw back the train of her dress, and was on the way to her man.

This is a couple who is so in love and so pure.  Their love just radiates off of them!  They’ve waited for months for this moment.  After today they will be one.  I’m always moved by the moment that the double doors open, the bride enters the church, and the groom sees his bride for the first time, but this was different.  The anticipation and intense emotion built with every step Leigh took towards Matthew.  I choked back tears and tried desperately to keep my camera from shaking!  Once Leigh turned the corner and saw her groom, the nervousness melted away and you could just see the excitement in her smile.  She had a special gift for Matthew and a passage of scripture to share with him.  I feel so privileged to have been part of this incredible moment.  It made me want to run to the other side of the garden to to give my own sweet husband a kiss!  We were working, so it had to wait until later!

I think you’ll see from the images below that having a “first look” isn’t compromising.  I know that’s how I felt as a bride four years ago as our photographer brought up the idea for the purpose of convenience.  I truly don’t think my feelings changed until Leigh and Matthew’s wedding day.  I completely understand that this isn’t for every bride and groom.  I just want to give many of you who considered it a compromise a different perspective.  We would never push our brides and grooms to make a decision based on convenience.  Your wedding day is about a lifetime commitment to the person you love most in this world and creating an experience with your closest friends and family that you will never ever forget!

I hope you enjoy our first “first look!”

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Photos do & forever will have a special meaning to our family.


For several years we were blessed by photography, & we like to think that part of that blessing was through loving others.