2 Reasons You Should Have A First Look


Let's start with what a first look is. A first look is a moment set aside for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony. Before you throw this idea out for sake of tradition lets look at the awesome reasons to have one.


This is the one thing we dream about, right? How will he react when he sees me? We've all seen the Pinterest groom crying as the bride enters for the first time. SO. MANY. HAPPY. EMOTIONS! 

But think about it...During your ceremony you have a million things on your mind. "I hope the music plays on time" "I hope granny got to her seat ok" "Has uncle tom started drinking yet?", "walk faster", "walk slower", "don't trip, please don't trip", "just make it to the front" "Don't forget your vows"...I could go on. 

This moment  doesn't always play out the way you imagine because you need an intimate stress free zone to be able to express those emotions. That's what a First Look gives you. You get that intimate time so you can both be beautiful emotional basket-cases and it is the BEST THING EVER! (Not to mention the best photos ever!)

You know the reaction we talked about before? What if I told you, you would get that same reaction walking down the aisle with or without a first look? It's true!

While we're on the topic the reaction the groom has to seeing the bride walking down the aisle is usually the exact same as it would have been with or without a first look. He's not only thinking about how beautiful you are, but that this, THIS, is the moment you're his to love, cherish, and protect forever and the beautiful reality of that hits you both as you're walking down the aisle. The groom seeing you before doesn't change that.


Opting for a first look gives you more time at your reception/cocktail hour and way more photos. 

If you don't choose a first look you're probably taking photos with family, bridal party and just you and your groom all between the wedding and the reception. That's a lot of photos. A professional photographer will be able to get all the photos needed in that time, but think about yourself here. You won't be as relaxed. 

I've photographed so many weddings where the family stresses the bride and groom out with the amount of photos they want and the combination of families they want in each photo. Then we move onto the bridal party. You want a photo with each of your bridal party members, after all they're some of the closest people to you in life! When we get to where we can take photos of just the bride and groom all they  can really think is that they need to get to their reception. These circumstances aren't ideal for relaxed, romantic, and playful photos.  

If you choose a first look you're able to have that intimate time before the wedding to spend with just your groom. Not having to think of anyone else and not being stressed by time. This is where the magic happens. The most beautiful photos come out of this time. This way after the ceremony you can enjoy your family and bridal party photos because that's all you'll need before making your entrance to the wedding.


What do you think? Would you opt for a first look? Let me know in the comments below!

Choosing quality vendors on a budget

So you're on a budget? 88% of couples pay for their own weddings these days. This means that most likely 88% of people getting married are on a budget. But you still want a killer wedding? My brides have access to vendor recommendations that help save them time when trying to find the best of the best while on a budget. Here's where to spend your money to get a beautiful wedding without choosing subpar vendors that will stress you out and make your wedding look and feel cheap. 

It's all about knowing where to spend the most and where to skimp. 




1. Photography

Spend the most money on a photographer. Your photographer is the one responsible for showing the beauty of your wedding day, for editing out the parts you might not want to remember (that one drunk uncle that was embarrassing? or that shade your bridesmaid threw at you?) and make the amazing parts look as dreamy as they felt (Your first dance? or your groom crying as you walk down the aisle?). Your photos are all you have to remember everything after the wedding is over. After the dress has been worn, the cake's been eaten, and the sparklers have faded your photos and the way your photographer told the story of your day are whats left. These are the photos you'll show your kids, your grandkids, and hang in your home. Go all out here! The most plain weddings can be beautiful if documented by a professional photographer.


2. Venue

Money spent on a beautiful venue can actually save you money in the long run. If the place is beautiful all on it's own you don't need to add much to it. Resist the urge to overload your wedding with pinterest DIY's and stick to raw, natural beauty. Find a place with great views, natural light and amazing walls and you're set. Some venues include catering and flowers in some of their packages which could save you time and money as well. Make sure to look through their work before saying yes to all that though. It might not be the style you want your wedding to go in. Also see how this one found it's way into the "skimp" category as well.



Flowers...who doesn't love flowers?! The perfect flower arch, bouquet, headpiece or centerpieces can make or break a wedding. This is a place I've seen brides skimp on because flowers are beautiful right, like anyone can put together an arrangement and its pretty, right? Wrong. Don't just run to the grocery store for your wedding flowers and expect it to not look exactly like that. Spending money on a florist will save your wedding from looking cheap and thrown together. Find a great florist that works with you and your budget to plan out your dream florals.



This is the most underrated one. Guys DJ's (or a band) are in charge of so much. They can either make your reception an awesome party or a super awkward situation people want to run from. The amount of terrible DJ stories I have are endless. They cue the cake cutting, the first dance, they're responsible for playing music as you walk in, introducing the bridal party and the toasts. Imagine being announced into your reception, ok?...The doors swing open for you and your love to make your entrance for the first time as a couple and instead of hearing the song you spent hours choosing you hear silence. Everyone is staring at you then to the DJ then back at you like a tennis match, because the DJ is looking for the song and trying to remember your names. I could go on but trust me, hire a professional for this one!



The last thing not to skimp on to make your budget wedding a success (and not look like a budget wedding) is the food. Now there are ways to make the food you need cheaper, depending on the time of day you have your wedding. A brunch wedding will for sure be cheaper than a dinner wedding. Find a caterer that will work with your budget and then get as much food as you can within that budget. Feed people and give them good music and your reception will be a hit. If people are hungry and there isn't food for them they'll be out the door as soon as they can.





This one might have hurt some of your hearts when you read it. We all wait for the day we can spend a ton of money on a red carpet worthy dress and not feel guilty. The reality is if you're on a tight budget you can find beautiful inexpensive wedding dresses. Try buying a preowned wedding dress (they only wore it once), etsy, buy a dress not labeled as a wedding dress from somewhere like free people or anthropology, or buy a pattern and have it special made.



Now this one was in the "spend" category as well. Before you spend money on a venue see if anyone you know has some beautiful land they'll let you use. If you're having a small wedding some places that don't usually offer its space up for weddings will let you use it, like farms or small event centers. See if there are any brand new venues around your area. Sometimes when venues are just starting out they have lower rates to spread the word and book up. Try a park. Parks will let you rent spots for the day at super cheap costs depending on how many guests you have. This doesn't mean have your wedding in your grandmothers living room! And sometimes the costs of getting a bare place event ready costs more money. You just have to weigh the costs here.



It's easy to get sucked into renting a ton of stuff for your wedding. Tents, tables, linens, plates, rugs, signs...etc. Choose only what you need. Beautiful wood tables and china will save you from having to also rent table clothes. But you don't need everything. The key here isn't to rent cheap it's to rent beautiful things you have to have. Past the tables, chairs and china you don't need much else. 



You don't need a vintage get away car. Yes they are awesome but if you're on a budget spend your money else where. One of my favorite exits at a wedding was where the bride made streamers that everyone twirled around like crazy in an arch over the bride and groom as they made their exit. get creative here. It can be fabulous and not cost much.



Put your money where it counts. Your flower girls don't need shoes, dresses, and a bouquet that cost as much as yours. You don't have to have a reception/get away dress. You don't have to have a cake if you don't like cake. All in all these are suggestions and the point is to spend good amounts of money on things that are important to you instead of trying to have everything and spreading your money so thin that everything ends up subpar.


What do you think? What would you spend the most and least money on? I want to hear your thoughts in the comments below.