{wedding wednesday} volume 6: first look

the first look...what is it?  a first look can be set up to be wherever or however you want.  basically, it's the bride and groom (and their photographer) spending a few quiet minutes alone together before the ceremony.  

wait.  what?  before the ceremony?  isn't that sacrilegious or something?

well, the truth is many couples do them and some would never.  there are many reasons why couples choose to have a first look (or not consider it at all), and no matter what those reasons are, they are perfectly valid for the couple, because it's their day.

while mike and i appreciate the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride until she walks down the aisle, we knew we would have no shortage of emotion at the ceremony whether we saw each other ahead of time or not.  we did some research to get opinions from other couples and photographers just to get a feel for it before we made our final choice.  (some great supporting articles for first looks are here, here, and here.)

mike and i had several reasons for hopping on the first look train.  1 - having a first look allows you more time with your bride/groom.  2 - having a first look opens the opportunity for family and bridal party photos before the ceremony, therefore allowing more time with your guests during the cocktail hour (when these photos are generally taken).  3 - we had a special location in mind that i had originally hoped would work for our ceremony, but it ended up being 100% perfect for our first look.

so, without further ado...i present to you:  mike and andrea's first look.

the timeline was critical in pulling off all the details without a hitch...and the first look was a big part of that.  the girls and i were at the stanford bed and breakfast getting ready while the guys were doing the same at my parents house...and the first look would take place on oliver island in the middle of crystal lake.  

so at 2:30, my dad and his friend pete, along with mike and (one half of our photographer team) dan, piled onto the party barge to head to the island.  

pete, mike and my dad heading to the island

pete behind the wheel

they had a small piece of dock to secure to a couple trees to make the transition from boat to island a little easier.  especially for the girl in the big white dress. 

that's where things got interesting.  first, mike took the wheel...

then my dad and pete worked to get the dock in place...

and then my dad took a little dip in the lake.  oops!  thank goodness he wasn't all dressed and ready.  he planned ahead knowing he'd get wet, but i don't think he knew just how wet!

then mike and dan hopped onto the island to prepare for my arrival...

dad and pete took off to pick me up at the b&b, along with bethany (the other half of our photography team) and ray (from the b&b, to help dad and pete).

it's hard to tell in the photo above, but my dad is soaked.  i was wondering why he wasn't dressed and ready for the wedding, but it turns out he knew better.

we ventured out to meet my almost-husband on the island.

before i dive into the actual first look, let me tell you how these moments felt.  

you know that moment when you kiss someone for the first time and your whole body feels like magic just happened?  or how about the moment when you figured out you really love that person?  or the moment you hear "i love you" for the first time from the person you've been waiting to hear it from? or the feeling when you get when they're proud to introduce you as his girlfriend? or the moment when he drops to one knee in front of you and you lose your breath a little?

the feeling i got as we approached the island to see my fiance, just a couple hours before we were to be married, is one i'll never forget.  you see, that feeling was built in all those moments...first kiss, falling in love, saying "i love you", getting engaged...but approaching mike with his back turned was pure magic.  pure joy.  pure love.  it was better than all of those moments individually and it was better than all of those moments combined.

my heart was fluttering, i was on the verge of tears, and i couldn't wipe the smile off my face.  i was walking to the man that i will spend the rest of my life with...and there's not a word to describe exactly how i felt.

i'm so, so, so happy we did a first look.  it was a great decision for us and it incorporated oliver island, that i so badly wanted to be part of our wedding.  now, it's our special spot.

both mike and i were overwhelmed with emotion.  we were feeling happy, excited, giddy, emotional, sentimental, and we were so relieved to finally see each other!

we took the opportunity with bethany and dan to get some more photos...

after our little photoshoot, it was time to get back on the party barge to head back to my parents, where the whole gang was waiting for us!

so, that's the story of our first look!

if you have any questions about it or any other part of my wedding, please don't hesitate to email me!

stay tuned for more {wedding wednesday} posts!  i've still got a ton up my sleeve!  the ceremony, the flowers, the food....so get ready, i've got plenty more to share! =)


more {wedding wednesday} posts:

volume 1:  our faves
volume 2:  the big picture
volume 3:  what we wore
volume 4:  rehearsal dinner
volume 5:  getting ready


photography:  bethany and dan photography


  1. You are so adorable! I love reading about your wedding story. Everything was so well done, you did a great job lady!

    1. Awww, thank you! I'm glad you're following along. I'll have to include the bridge story when I write my all things flowers post! =) jk. a little.


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