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I’m Stephanie, a senior and family portrait photographer based in Macon, Georgia. Here on the blog, you'll find recent sessions, tips and tricks, and personal stories. Feel free to take a look around. Thanks for stopping by!


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July 16, 2019

TUESDAY TIPS | Why We Had a First Look on our Wedding Day

Hello friends! I wanted to start a tradition called Tuesday Tips to help my brides and grooms as they plan their weddings. Today’s FIRST EVER Tuesday Tips is about a FIRST LOOK!

Huh? What? What’s a first look? A first look is where the bride and groom “break tradition” and see each other before the ceremony. I had a first look at my wedding and it was the BEST. DECISION. EVER. Today, I’m sharing 3 main reasons why we decided to have a first look! Oh, and BTW… all of these photos are from Claire Diana Photography. She’s amazing.

When Spencer and I got married in June of 2017, I wanted to incorporate as many wedding traditions as I could while still having our wedding feel authentically ‘us’. I wanted to have the something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue… I wanted to have a unity candle… And, despite owning a home and two dogs together, I wanted Spencer’s reaction to seeing me on our wedding day be something I’d remember forever. Traditionally, that would be when I walked down the aisle, right?

farm at high shoals wedding claire diana photography

Our precious wedding photographer-turned-friend, Claire, gave us a different idea. She mentioned that having a first look could really enhance three very important things on our wedding day. The chunk of time that was set aside for our first look allowed us time together without feeling rushed, gave us beautiful portraits (because we had just finished getting ready), and was a perfectly intimate moment tucked right in the middle of a very busy day.

first look farm at high shoals wedding claire diana photography

One of the most important things to me on our wedding day was being able to spend time together. After all, our wedding day was about us joining together as one, not trying to keep us separate as long as possible! Spencer and I had spent six years together prior to being married and I didn’t want to wait any longer to see him on our big day! Seeing Spencer earlier in the day gave us three extra hours together. And guess what? I actually remember it. Once the reception happened… everything was a blur!

first look farm at high shoals wedding claire diana photography

first look farm at high shoals wedding claire diana photography

Another amazing thing about having a first look was that it gave us beautiful images while we were still fresh. If you don’t know this about me… I’m a hot, sweaty mess. And I did mention that I got married in JUNE in THE SOUTH… OUTSIDE? So take someone who sweats just even THINKING about being outside and add in a June, outdoor wedding… yeah, glamorous pictures just weren’t going to happen after the ceremony. In fact, sweat was dripping directly into my eyeballs during my ceremony. So… I was glad that we had our portraits done already!

first look farm at high shoals wedding claire diana photography

Our wedding day was an extremely emotional day for us… seeing our friends and family from all over the U.S. made me feel like I was in the most magical dream. Walking towards a man who has absolutely changed my world was the most pivotal moment in my life. Saying my vows to my husband was surreal. Watching his lips quiver as we devoted our lives to each other changed my heart. There are so many things happening in that MOMENT… and I really can’t imagine adding in “seeing my husband for the first time” to that list. When Spencer and I had our first look, we got to share a special intimate moment with just us. No one else was watching (well, I think my bridesmaids were peeking through a window!). It was me and the man I love, looking possibly the best we have ever looked, and sharing a touching, quiet moment together before the madness of the day ensued.

farm at high shoals wedding claire diana photography

We really didn’t take much convincing for us to say yes to a first look because we realized how beneficial it was to our day. We got the pictures that we wanted and I spent additional time with my husband-to-be. And guess what? The pictures that were taken right after the first look are my favorite photos of the entire wedding day. And if you ever come visit my house, you will see them everywhere!

So, to recap. The reasons why I chose to have a first look as a bride:

  1. I wanted to spend time with my husband on our wedding day before, during, and after our ceremony.
  2. Photography was my top priority on my wedding day. I wanted beautiful portraits at my stunning venue with my husband, my bridal party, and my family, before we got too sweaty.
  3. I wanted to share a special moment with my husband because the nerves of the big day really got to me, even though we had been together for 6+ years when we got married!

If you want to see some of the weddings I photographed that had a first look, check out Patty and Josh’s!


Photography | Claire Diana Photography
Venue | The Farm at High Shoals
Florals | gardenia floral design
Hair | Melanie Sorrow
Makeup | Hannah Hedden (our cousin!)
Dress | David’s Bridal

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