Wedding Day Series - Our First Look

Hey friends!

I hope everyone had a great Sunday. We hit the early service at church this morning and think we are finally ready to commit to a church home and join! yay! The move has been tough and the search for a new church home was too. We wanted to find a place we felt comfortable, that was close enough to be involved in our community, and find a great pastor that could present a good message to us every time we go. We hope to join a life group soon and to really start getting connected. We spent the afternoon nappin' on the couch and grillin' out for lunch, and Collin went fishing with a buddy this afternoon. We've just been doing normal Sunday things and getting good rest before the work week begins tomorrow!

Today I'm sharing Collin and I's first look session with you! Today is also our three month anniversary :) we love being newlyweds!

Ok, so the great debate of waiting to see your man or have a first look! Everyone will have their own opinion of what your choose for your wedding day, so just remember that it's about what makes YOU and your FUTURE HUBBY most comfortable! Collin and I really discussed this topic quite a bit and didn't really decide what we wanted to do until a few months before the wedding. I'll share the pros and cons of both and share some tips on how to make either one happen smoothly throughout your day!

Regardless of what your believe, or don't believe in wedding traditions just choose what is best for you and go for it! But we can talk about all the various wedding traditions another day.

I'm not here to tell you the "right" or "wrong" way but to give you enough clear facts based on my experience in wedding planning and of course my own personal experience.

To be honest, I've always wanted to wait to see my groom. It's tradition and I tend to be a very traditional gal! I have always thought of that moment when I'd walk down the aisle and see my groom and he would see me! Collin also preferred this option too! We wanted magic! ... and then reality set in :).

Right after we got engaged a LOT started happening in our lives. Collin was transferred for his job from Fayetteville, AR to Dallas, TX and we were getting married in 6 months! Stress started to set in with a lot of huge life decisions and planning a wedding on top of all that. When we decided to commit to the move everything started happening so fast. We were spending every weekend traveling to see each other, starting the home-buying process and we were becoming more concerned with the plans after the wedding, like how are we going to move? and better yet WHERE were we going to live?! REALITY Y'ALL! If I hadn't already locked in Amanda Reed with Bates~Reed Brides to handle the planning and details I would have been begging at this point with so much on our plates.

We had also attended quite a few weddings the year before ours and even stood as bridesmaid and groomsman in most of those weddings, so we had a lot to compare to! Some of our friends chose to wait and see each other at the ceremony and others did a first look. It was great to see both sides to really give us perspective!

The last wedding we were in before our own wedding were some of our closest friends, Tyler and Hannah O'Donnell! I actually had the pleasure of assisting Hannah and her sweet mama with wedding planning, I hope to share their wedding day with you in the future too! They had a first look and really enjoyed the time together and knocking pictures out of the way before the ceremony and reception.

After some thought Collin and I decided on a first look, and we were so glad we did! Your wedding day is about committing yourselves to one another before God, your closest friends, and family. It is about YOU TWO and no one else! It can be hard to remember that during all the planning as I wanted to make everyone else happy too! Just find your perfect balance and don't be afraid to make decisions.

We did the first look hours before the ceremony so that we had time for a first look session, bridesmaids photos, groomsmen photos and all of the family photos. Whew! Sounds like a lot huh? It totally was and y'all it took a photographing guru to pack it all in and also get some amazing photographs while doing it and y'all Miles Witt Boyer CAN DO IT and do it VERY well.

I honestly didn't really have time to think about many of the wedding day logistics except for where I was getting ready and where the ceremony and reception were and how we wanted the timeline for the reception to go. I didn't think about photo locations and I didn't really have to, I trusted in my vendors and they REALLY took care of us. I totally let go on the wedding day and enjoyed every second. Miles with Miles Witt Boyer Photography coordinated the logistics of the photographs and locations while Amanda Reed and her amazing team coordinated all the logistics of the wedding day.... and our wedding had MANY moving parts with multiple locations. We had one heck of a vendor team pulling all the strings behind the scenes. Look for a blog dedicated to our entire wedding vendor list soon!

We actually had our first look at the reception space! I got a sneak peak of the stunning decor, lighting and rentals that Amanda Reed with BatesReed Brides and her team executed flawlessly!

Collin knew that we were doing a first look but he didn't know where or when, so it was still somewhat of a surprise for Collin and he was SO surprised!

Look at that face! He is so surprised to see me :)

How cute are my maids and matron of honor watching the whole thing go down?! They were a DREAM team on our wedding day and so incredibly helpful. Pictured left is my little sister Caroline, middle is my matron of honor Logan, and right is my oldest sister Alison. They are all my sisters and I was so grateful to have all three of them stand directly by my side!

Not going to lie I was SUPER nervous all morning and very calm and quiet most of the morning and I also wasn't feeling that well (nausea and nerves!). However, the minute I saw Collin a wave of relief came over me and in that instant I knew it was the right decision for us to have a first look before the ceremony. I was SO excited to see my future husband!! It was nice to just have some time together to be with each other, laugh together, and talk about how our day had been up to that point! I felt at home snuggled up taking pictures with my man for a few hours. I wasn't aware of the time the entire day!

So in review, here are some straight up facts about doing or not doing a first look and the pros and cons of each!



  • Bride and Groom see each other privately before the ceremony

  • Typically done hours before the ceremony to allow for timely photographs


  • Private time with your future spouse before the chaos of the wedding ceremony and reception set-in

  • You’ll have more time for wedding portraits and formal photos than you would after the ceremony

  • You may feel more comfortable during the ceremony as you’ll feel at ease after seeing your future spouse for a few hours before to shake all of the nerves!


  • You may lose some of that “fairytale” magic feeling and the anticipation of seeing your future spouse

  • Breaking the age-old wedding tradition

  • You’ll have to be ready earlier in the day to get in all the photographs

TIPS - First Look

  • Review your wedding day timeline and talk logistics with you photographer about timing and locations, have a plan!

  • Make sure your families know when and where to be for formal photos since you are taking them BEFORE the wedding ceremony (I’d tell everyone 15 minutes earlier than needed so they won’t be late!)

  • Do the first look with your future spouse without your veil and without your bouquet! This way you’ll have an added element of surprise for your groom at the ceremony!

Tradition (no first look)


  • You don’t see your future spouse before the ceremony

  • It’s wedding tradition!


  • You keep that anticipation of not seeing your future spouse until right before the ceremony

  • More time to relax and get ready during the day before the wedding

  • Keeping that wedding tradition


  • Less time for photographs after the wedding ceremony

  • You might feel rushed to hurry and get the pictures over with so that you don’t keep your guests waiting at the wedding reception

  • If you have a later ceremony, you may limited on where you can take pictures as you are losing light outside

  • Might be more stressful if not accurately planned

TIPS - Tradition (no first look)

  • Consider starting your ceremony earlier in the day to allow for adequate lighting after the wedding ceremony (if you are wanting to take some photos outdoors) and adequate timing so that you aren't too late to the wedding reception

  • Build in a cocktail hour at your reception to act as a buffer time to stall the real party until you and your wedding party and family can arrive after photos

  • Make sure your family is aware that formal photos will happen directly after the ceremony and to be prompt!

  • Make sure to discuss with your photographer for plenty of time for wedding portraits, you’ll want plenty of photos of you and your newly wedded husband!

Regardless of what you choose ALWAYS go over timing with your photographer and wedding planner, and chances are most photographers and planners will already have a general plan in place for you based on your ceremony time and locations.

If you are a bride reading this and haven't decided if you and your future hubby will see each other or not, whatever you decide to do is up to you! Be comfortable and confident in what you choose. :)

I hope you all enjoyed reading about our first look, below are some of our favorite pictures from our first look session! I can't wait to share the ceremony with you next!


Stephanie Grace Benton

#love #wedding #weddingphotos #firstlook #bride #brideandgroom #weddingportraits #arkansas #arkansaswedding #southernwedding #southernbride #batesreedbrides #fayettevillear #arkansasairmuseum

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