Marianne Wilson Photography Blog » Malibu California Husband and Wife Wedding Photographers

Maravilla Gardens – The First Look – A Couples Perspective

One thing that is mighty popular among brides today is doing what’s called a ‘First Look’ Or ‘First Glance’. Simply put this is when a couple decides to ditch tradition and see each other before the ceremony. One of the main reasons I see couples doing this today is to have a more intimate moment together before their ceremony and to calm their nerves. I thought I would ask one of my recent couples, who initially had decided to not do a first look and stick with tradition but changed their minds, to write a little bit about their experience. They had a gorgeous wedding earlier this year at Maravilla Gardens in Camarillo.

Here’s what they wrote:

Chris – The Groom

So, I wanted to do a first look from the beginning, but Amanda wanted to be traditional and do the first look as she walked down the aisle. I think nerves on both of our part made our decision. So ultimately it was Amandaʼs decision because I was just along for the ride on that one.

Well, my wedding day story starts with me being slightly more late than I wanted to be due to my grooms men lagging as usual. So with this, my nerves were at 98% of max. So with getting ready and being late, Marianne showed up in the grooms room to “Do Work” and she was so calm and collect and it eased my nerves a bit. I just knew it was a great day and she was going to catch every moment. She assisted me with wardrobe malfunctions with her trusty swiss army knife (thank you so much by the way). So as Marianne and I walked to the location of the “First Look”, we made small talk that eased my nerves even more. She made me so comfortable and allowed me to joke to release some built up anxiety of the day. With the instructions that Marianne gave me to not turn around at the moment Amanda was coming up behind me, and then the photos were snapping away, I felt immediately calm. When I turned around, the rush of pure absolute joy came over as I saw my beautiful wife for the first time. I was absolutely blown away by her beauty. At that point I knew it was the best move we could have done on our big day because I donʼt think I could have waited until she walked down the aisle. The emotions may have been too much because even with the “First Look” the emotions were still overwhelming when she turned down the aisle. So I think it was a great decision to do the first look and if I had to do it over, I definitely would do it the same way. The whole process and made it so easy.


If you had to do it all over again would you do a first look on your wedding
Oh for sure. It had the emotional aspect of the first viewing as she walked down the aisle, but slightly different because it was just us. It had a deeper meaning to me because it was so private. Seeing her then walk down the aisle was slightly easier with nerves but still had the emotional aspect. Id say twice the emotion and just that much better of an experience for myself. Yay!

What do you think the biggest benefits of doing a first look were?
The private feeling of it. Like it was just the two of us in the world and no one could take that away from us. Simply an amazing feeling. Also, slightly eased the nerves during the ceremony. When she walked down the aisle, she still absolutely took my breath away.

Honestly I donʼt think I would be able to keep my composure if we didnʼt have the first look. Because at that point, I donʼt think I would have remember the ceremony due to most likely blacking out. Haha

Any tips for future brides and grooms?
Iʼd say do the First Look. It doubles the emotional aspect in a positive way. The feeling of the First Look really is hard to describe. Especially with Marianne doing it. She is amazing and Im so glad we did it because it turned out awesome. Oh and donʼt lock your knees and breath.


Amanda – The Bride

We ended up deciding on a first look because Chris (my fiance/husband) said he thought it might help him (really meaning me, but I appreciate him taking one for the team) not pass out at the alter. I was really against it at first because I truly wanted that traditional first look but so so SO glad I changed my mind.

I remember when Marianne told me they were ready for me. The walk from my bridal room to where my soon to be husband was seemed like an eternity away. I cried getting there.  The happiest tears of my life!  Luckily, I got a little lost and ran into my officiant. So that I could clear my mind a little and so that Chris didn’t have to see the ugly cry face. That walk was exhilarating and so memorable. When I saw Chris turned away for me, I stopped, took a deep breath, and I was flooded with warmth and butterflies and complete LOVE!! I slowly walked up to him and tapped him on his shoulder. The look on his face was unforgettable. I remember worrying for a bit if he would like my dress/makeup/hair/etc. and I knew at that moment that he felt I was the most beautiful girl on the planet!  awwww I smile so big just typing this out!!!!

If you had to do it all over again would you do a first look on your wedding day?


What do you think the biggest benefits of doing a first look were?

INTIMACY!!!!!  I didn’t have to share that special moment with anyone else in the world except who I REALLY wanted to, my soon to be husband!  (and Marianne….who didn’t even peep a noise so that we could share that moment all to ourselves)

Did you feel like doing a first look adversely affected your ceremony experience (did it make your walk down the aisle any less exciting ?)

NOT AT ALL!!!  I still almost hyperventilated down the aisle! haha I couldn’t imagine NOT having done the first look. I may have lost it completely.

Any tips for future brides and grooms?

Invest in a GREAT photographer.  Time makes you forget….even the most wonderful memories.  Photographs can last forever and preserve those memories for eternity.
Remember it is YOUR day (both for you AND your fiance)…do what YOU BOTH feel is best and everything else will fall into place. If someone doesn’t like it, they aren’t really your good friends anyway!

And what post would be complete without some photos from their big day? Here are some pictures we took after their first look, which gave us tons of time to have some fun with just the two of them.

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