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To First Look or Not to First Look - FAQ | Austin, TX Wedding Planners

"BUT I WANT THE FIRST TIME THAT HE SEES ME TO BE WHEN I AM WALKING DOWN THE AISLE..." We get that! In our experience, even couples who choose to do a first look show just as emotion, if not more when the groom sees the bride walk down the aisle. When the groom sees the bride walking down the aisle for the first time, he is in front of his closest family and friends, he will experience a whole other level of emotion just by being surrounded everyone when he his bride makes her entrance. It is a completely different feeling and we have NEVER heard of any of our couples "regret" doing a first look before.


A first look is an intimate moment shared between the bride & the groom where they choose to see each other for the first time hours BEFORE the ceremony. It is a pre-arranged in a private place between the couple and the photographer.


There are many reasons to consider a first look and they are all different depending on how you envision your wedding day and what is important to the both of you. Personally, when I was a bride for a day I chose to do it because I have very high anxiety. I knew that when I saw John for the first time it would relieve my anxiety and pressure that I had about walking down the aisle. I knew the comfort of his arms was a place I needed to be before the big "I do" and it was the only way to get me to relax.... and SERIOUSLY, check him out below - he STILL cried like a little, handsome baby even though he had already seen me. You would have never guessed!

It saves you a lot of time for photos and you're not rushing through your cocktail hour! Normal photos to be expected in 60 minutes of cocktail hour at ceremony site & other locations: bride/groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, wedding party, family.

If you knock out your first look, this gives you time to get those pictures captured, as well as your formal bride/groom portraits & your whole wedding party! This even allows you to have some time to breathe and touch up your make up, eat an appetizer, take a shot of tequila with your new spouse, or bustle your dress.

You can pick who gets to be present for that moment. It doesn't have to be just the bride, the groom, and the photographer. Some of the best first looks are when the family and wedding party can peak through a window and experience it with you, without the pressure of the ceremony timeline. Trust us - it is SO sweet to see a mother or father's joy when they get to preview a moment like this!

Winter weddings, say no more! ​It sounds crazy to base this decision off of a season, right? Wrong! With a standard winter ceremony start time, the amount of sunlight you have is very limited. This goes back to making sure you are able to get ALL of the photos that you want in natural light. If you've done first look, bride/groom portraits, wedding party, then this gives you the perfect amount of time during cocktail hour to finish up with family, end it with golden hour/sunset photos, and take a breather.

“A first look is an intimate moment shared between the bride & the groom where they choose to see each other for the first time hours BEFORE the ceremony. It is a pre-arranged in a private place between the couple and the photographer.”


Okay, fine, we can't talk you into a first look, but if you still want to incorporate well captured moments into your wedding day timeline, we've got some ideas!

  • First look with your father/mother

  • First look with your bridesmaids... or groomsmen?! Guys need to feel the love too!

  • First look with your dog - we've seen it done! And it's THE BEST!

  • First touch - let the photographer pick the boundary; a corner, back to back, a door, etc.

  • Sharing of vows or a prayer - same concept, but a good way to keep the distance and still calm the nerves!

WE LIKE TO CALL THIS ONE "A FIRST LOOK ORCHESTRATED BY ASHLEY NICOLE AFFAIR & SOME DONKEYS..." Meet Brooke, one of the most down to earth and gorgeous brides that a wedding planner can only dream of working with. Now meet Bryce, one of the most thoughtful grooms that he would move mountains for Brooke. ​They spent a lot of time budgeting and paying off their wedding before the big day so they had a hard time justifying beer burros. Naturally, Brooke was pretty bummed, but like the angel bride she was, she didn't stress too much that her wedding would be... donkey-less. Two days pre-wedding... ​Bryce calls us, "Ashley, I got Brooke the beer donkeys. I just don't know what to do now with them, when they should come, and how to keep it a surprise." Ashley Nicole Affair is a team of Austin wedding planners that specialize in planning and floral design in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.Well, Bryce, here's the bad news. She still probably won't want to do a first look although I am 98% confident that surprise beer donkeys may be a secret key that opens her heart and she may have a moment of weakness, but let's not risk it. She probably still doesn't want you to see her before the ceremony...

Here are the list of supplies you'll need to pull this off, if you're taking notes:

  • A super cool, down to earth photographer who can roll with the last minute punches, like Keira Hand Photography

  • A napkin placed on the reception table, that can be used as a blindfold

  • The hair tie from the coordinator's head, to fashion the dinner napkin into a blindfold/make shift do-rag

  • A couple of beer burros; we loved Ralph Fisher's Photo Animals!

  • ​A bride that has a bride tribe that can roll with the last minute punches and be up for any surprise... even if you group text them the surprise plan and half of them are from out of state and are trying to Google, "what the HECK is a beer burro!?!"

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE FIRST LOOKS YOU HAVE WITNESSED, PHOTOGRAPHED, OR EXPERIENCED? COMMENT YOUR FAVES! And don't forget we are taking blog topic requests! Is there a topic you want to hear more about while you plan your wedding? Is there a color palette, specific venue, or overall wedding flow you want to see more of? We want to hear from you!


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