Are you doing a first look? Why or why not? For most couples, there are two primary reasons why they choose not to do it: first, tradition; and second, the emotional reaction of seeing each other for the first time as the bride makes her way down the aisle.

If you've decided you don't want to do one, that's fine! It's your day, do it your way. But if you're on the fence, here's my two cents:

Regarding tradition, most of us have heard that it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony. This notion actually dates back to the tradition of arranged marriages. The reason the groom was not allowed to see the bride before the ceremony is because it was believed that, if he had the chance to see his bride, he would be more likely to call off the wedding. How romantic. The non-traditionalist in me says you and your soon-to-be spouse can probably come up with some better traditions of your own to incorporate into your day :)

As for the emotional reaction to seeing each other for the first time as you walk down the aisle, I totally get it. It should come as no surprise that I love a good, raw emotional reaction. And sometimes it happens and its wonderful! And sometimes, the reaction is internal and not much happens externally. Some people (like me!) are naturally more reserved in front of a crowd and they might not have that monumental external reaction for a dozen reasons that have nothing to do with how they actually feel about seeing their soon-to-be spouse for the first time. Bottom line: there's no way to predict how you and your partner will react, so if you're choosing not to do a first look because you want a certain photo of your honey shedding a tear or falling to his knees when he sees you, there's a chance it won't happen, regardless of whether you've already seen each other.

NOW! Here is why I think first looks are great:

First, if reaction is what you're going for, this is a much safer environment to get that reaction. Just the two of you, away from the crowd, away from phones and cameras (except for mine and I'll try to stay out of your way). Without the pressure of a crowd or a ceremony timeline, you have a few minutes to truly enjoy that first glimpse of each other. You'll likely be running high on emotions and the freedom to be able to touch each other, to hug, to wipe each other's tears, and to tell each other what you're thinking is invaluable. 

Relatedly, by setting aside 15-20 minutes before the ceremony for a first look, you have a chance to just enjoy a moment of quiet together before the day sweeps you away. For my fellow introverts, this moment of peace with your person can ground you and recharge your battery so that you can be ready to entertain!

Finally, as a matter of practicality, by doing a first look, you've made it possible to do all the group photos before the ceremony. This means everyone gets to head right to cocktail hour/the reception right after the ceremony! It also means you're not chasing people down for group photos when they're ready to party. It can be a big time-saver! Also, while I'll still pull you away for a few minutes at sunset for a couple more bride + groom portraits in that beautiful evening light, you're essentially free from photo obligations before the ceremony even starts! 

Ultimately, whether or not you decide to do a first look, your day will be beautiful. As always, feel free to throw my two cents right out the window and do exactly what you want to do!


Gown: Grace Loves Lace | Florals: Labellum | Rentals: Montana Party Rentals | Jewelry + Decor: Townsend Collective | Catering: Food For Thought | Desserts: Luxe Spirits and Sweets 


Tyson and Ciera met in Bozeman, Montana and by the way they tell it, they knew from the word "go" that they'd found their person. In fact, the first date went so well that Ciera decided to drive to North Dakota to see Tyson for their second date! Guys, that's a long drive. That's pretty damn cool.

They both work for non-profits here and are so busy doing good things for the community - they've been such a treat to get to know and work with over the last 8-ish months. Their drive is impressive, but what's even more impressive is the way these two just fit each other.

These two said "I do" on September 28 in an intimate ceremony just west of Bozeman, Montana and it was the most amazing blend of all the good things in life: boho chic, secret garden whimsy, and a touch of collected rustic comfort. The vibe, the gown, the florals, all of it was stunning, but what really stuck with me from their day is what these two are to each other. 


As I alluded to above, Ciera and Tyson just fit. I've heard that finding the right person feels like coming home, and these two are a perfect example of the reality of that saying. While we'd originally planned on doing a first look, after getting ready, Ciera decided that she really just wanted a low-key moment with Tyson to start their day: no cameras, no expectations, no grand gestures, just a real hug and a moment for the two of them to get ready to start their day.

Their entire day was about the things that truly matter to them: each other and their closest friends and family. Hearing each of their approximately 30 guests share a few words about Tyson and Ciera solidified for me why my heart lies with these elopements and intimate ceremonies: your wedding day is about two people committing their lives to each other forever with the support and blessing of those who matter most. The beautiful details are nice, but the reason for the day trumps all of it. Friends, don't ever be afraid to throw tradition or others' expectations out the window and do your day your way. I promise you won't regret it.

Scroll on through to see some of the highlights from this beautiful day!


Brides! Let's talk details. Is it important to you to have those editorial-type detail photos woven throughout your wedding gallery? To some it is, others not so much. Neither is right or wrong and it's completely a matter of personal preference! That being said, if those detail photos are important to you, there are a few things you can do to make sure your photographer is able to get all the the shots you want.

Album by White House Custom Colour

Album by White House Custom Colour

First: make a list ahead of time of all of the details you'd like photos of (this can be as broad or as narrow as you want). Examples include the essentials, such as the rings, jewelry, his tie, watch, and both pairs of shoes, but can also include your flowers, any special pieces that may have been handed down by family members, and your invitation suite.

Second: If you've determined that you would like photos of your invitation suite included in your gallery, be sure to save one set for your photographer.

Ribbon by May Arts Ribbon//Invitations by Hey Tayler Design Co.

Ribbon by May Arts Ribbon//Invitations by Hey Tayler Design Co.

Third: Have all the important details of your day in one place at the time of your photographer's arrival. Also, along these lines, if these editorial-type, detail-specific shots are important to you, make sure you've requested your photographer to arrive early enough to get these photos before you have to put them on!

Fourth: If you want to showcase your bling against the gorgeous, velvety backdrop of your wedding colors, consider purchasing a ring box as part of your detail suite. The Mrs. Box makes beautiful boxes in a wide variety of colors and also offers three different monogram lettering styles to customize your box.

Ring box by The Mrs. Box

Ring box by The Mrs. Box

Little touches like a ring box in your colors can add a curated, designed feel to your gallery.

Ring box by The Mrs. Box//Ribbon by Tono & Co.

Ring box by The Mrs. Box//Ribbon by Tono & Co.

Fifth and finally: Communicate with your photographer! Let him/her know what items are important to you. Hopefully, you will have reviewed your photographer's portfolio prior to hiring him/her so you'll have an idea of how they capture these pieces within their own style and will be fully on board with their process, but if it's important to you to get something specific, just tell him/her - we want to provide you a photographic story of your day that will remind you of all the wonderful elements thereof AND one that you will cherish forever!