Photos: Hart of Grace Photography

Before I first started in wedding coordination, I was absolutely ENAMORED with the idea of the magical moment where the groom sees the bride in her gown for the first time as she’s coming down the aisle. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love the idea of this, but with 7 years of day-of-coordination experience, I understand and appreciate the value of a “first look” instead. For those who might be unfamiliar, this is a reveal, coordinated by the photographers, that occurs before the ceremony to recreate this magical walking down the aisle moment. It is still every bit as magical as seeing one’s partner at the start of the ceremony, but allows for getting most of the photography out of the way before the ceremony even happens. And, for someone whose main focus for the day is logistics and flow, this is an AMAZING idea — it gives the couple (and their families and bridal party!) the ability to attend their cocktail hour (save for maybe a few additional family photos post-ceremony), plus doesn’t threaten to throw off the whole evening’s timeline.

With all that said, I might be a bit more practical these days, but I’ve still got a spark of romance in me, so if you want that magical aisle moment, just work with your photographer and coordinator to adjust the timeline accordingly. And, you might consider some additional first look options, too — a first look with the parents, the bridal party, or…read on to find out!

Rebecca and Joseph met nine years ago and are both super into cars. They belong to a car club which they used as the theme for their wedding. 

The table decor and cake stand were all made out of car parts. Each table was also named after a car and guests found their names on keys to determine which table they were seated at. Romantic vibes and elegance was added through greenery and various shades of roses. Rebecca did the arrangements herself and they were beautiful! Continuing the car club theme was their officiant – the president of the club – and custom cocktail tables made out of wheels.

To keep guests entertained there were lawn games including cornhole and tic-tac-toe, along with dancing (of course) and a photo booth.

However, one of the best moments may have happened before the ceremony when Rebecca surprised Joseph with a first look. Except, it wasn’t her. It was the best man! How amazing is that? You have to see it to get the full effect.


Photographer: Hart of Grace Photography | Second Shooter: You See Photography | Venue: Arbor Haven | Caterer: Old Blue BBQ | Cake: Holly Sweets Bakery | Invitations: Shutterfly | Dress: David’s Bridal | Suit: Men’s Wearhouse


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