Serenity Blue Wedding Inspiration

We at Castleton Farms love color trends! and since it is “Flash Back Friday” we are taking you back to 2016 when the pantone color of the year was serenity blue as well as rose quarts. Here is some serenity blue wedding inspiration from Elegant Wedding Invites and one of of very own Castleton Couples. We thought they did a lovely job using this color palette!

 

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Our Team of Wedding Professionals

Castleton Farms

Coordination- Darla Walker

Samuel Franklin Florals

Finch Photo

All Occasions Party Rentals

 

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6 Creative Ways to Announce Your Engagement on Social Media

Mayfair, Valencia, or X Pro ll?! We have all been through the emotional rollercoaster of choosing the perfect Instagram filter, right? Well, it doesn’t get any easier post-engagement when you not only have to find a filter that perfectly complements your new shiny rock, but also the most flattering pose for you and your man! So, let us give you a few creative tips on posting your big news for the world to see!

But first, coffee. Ladies, Etsy has got you covered for this one! Just hop online and order those cute, little coffee mugs we’ve all seen quoted, “Does this ring make me look engaged?” You can now get them personalized! *praise*

Focal points for the win. If you’re really lucky, hiring a photographer was covered, and you will have the best picture of your sweetie down on one knee!

Play it up with props. A cute celebratory glass of champagne or some seasonally colored flowers that really make your new ring pop is always a fan favorite!

Intensify the mood with a little PDA. You can go so many ways with this one–the simple “look, everyone, we are ENGAGED!!!” pose with your shiny ring pointing toward the camera and a little kissy action in the background, or something even more unique! Being creative is bound to draw our eyes towards your new sparkler!

Let’s take a selfie. Finally–an acceptable excuse to post a selfie! Avoid the criticism by uploading a simple picture of you and your man’s smiling faces. There’s no way your friends won’t show their support and double tap for the newly engaged couple!

Your hands tell a story. Not every social media post has to be bright and perfectly filtered. Bring back the chic black and white filter for a timeless look. Place your left hand in his, tell him to give it a little smooch, and voilà!

Let’s face it, the more emotion shown in the picture, the more reaction you’re going to get out of people. But no matter how you decide to announce your engagement to the world–and no matter how many likes, comments and reactions you get out of it–remember, you’re actually ENGAGED…like to be married! Let that soak in! Don’t stress out if he didn’t hire a professional photographer or if your hair won’t cooperate for the perfect ring selfie. Bottom line: marriage is so much more than the picture you post.

…which leads us to our next point – Coming soon on the blog: Rules and Advice for Announcing Your Engagement on Social Media

8 Bold Colors We Want to See in Your Spring Wedding

It’s that time of year again! Wedding season has come upon us, and the pastel wedding palettes are quickly making their way back into our Pinterest feeds and favorite wedding blogs. We agree that the light blues, baby pinks, soft greens, and pastel yellows are perfect shades for the spring season. As a bride, you shouldn’t feel cornered into using these colors for your wedding, but you also shouldn’t be intimidated by vibrant colors! We’ve come up with a list of a few bright, bold colors that you should totally incorporate into your spring wedding:

Poppy Red. Let’s face it, we’re all busting out My Chihuahua Bites to brighten up our nails this time of year–why not add it to your wedding color palette! Red hues are a bold color for every season. However, it’s most commonly seen in the colder months, so throwing in a touch of this cherry red will give new life to your spring wedding! We believe it’s best accented with blush, peach, ivory, and leafy greens.

 

Spring wedding colors

 

Magenta. Who says jewel tones are limited to fall weddings?! We like to think of magenta as poppy red’s flirtatious sister. Add a pop of magenta into your pastel color palette to create whimsy. This vibrant color can be perfectly paired with blush, tangerine, and deep purple.

 

Spring wedding colors

 

Cobalt Blue. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something *cobalt* blue! There’s something about this color palette we just can’t get over. Blue is such a classic color, you’ll never tire of seeing in your wedding photos, and the rich tones of the cobalt add an elegance unlike any other to your special day.

 

Spring wedding colors

 

Bright Yellow. Bright yellow peonies and daisies, shimmering gray table cloths, and some pops of sleek gray can modernize your spring wedding, AND it looks fabulous. It’s guaranteed to brighten any guest’s day! Despite what some may think, this color can be very versatile. We love it with lavender, dusty blue, or blush!

 

Spring wedding colors

 

Tangerine. When tastefully done, the charm of this orange hue is simply irresistible. This is one bold color you’ll need to utilize in moderation. Depending on the amount used, it can either give off a youthful, summer vibe or a chic, modern feel. We love pairing it with peaches, blush, and dark greeneries. For the ultimate wow factor, pair it with hot pink and magenta!

 

Spring wedding colors

 

Copper. Hop on over, silver and gold. There’s a new metallic in town. Rose gold and copper are becoming quite the staples in the wedding industry this year. There’s no reason you can’t make a metallic your main color–it makes a statement that will leave your guests stunned!

 

Spring wedding colors

 

Lavender. Okay, so maybe lavender isn’t exactly the first ‘bold’ color that comes to mind, but we adore it too much to leave it off the list! For this color palette, think springtime tea party–throw in a few chandeliers and beautiful drapery, and you’ve got yourself a top-tier wedding.

 

Spring wedding colors

 

Black. Black isn’t restricted to the winter months! Using black is the best way to incorporate formality into your wedding. Complement the bold, yet neutral color with ivory and sage greens to add a serene feel. The bonus to using this color – absolutely nothing clashes with it!

 

Spring wedding colors

 


 

Poppy red image credits: Cake // Bouquet & Dress // Bouquet // Shoes // Bridesmaids’ Dresses // Table Decor & Chair

Magenta image credits: Wedding Chicks

Cobalt blue image credits: Cake and Shoes // Bridesmaids and Invitations // Bottles and Place Setting // Ring

Bright yellow image credits: Chevron table runner // Bridesmaids // Skirt & Bouquet // Daisies // Flower with table runner // Invitations

Tangerine image credits: Invitations // Specialty cocktails // Groom and Bouquet // Wire Decor // Cake

Copper image credits: Candle holders // Floral arrangement // Place Setting // Calligraphy // Chair // Mug Party Favors

Lavender image credits: Invitations // Bouquet and Bridesmaids // Floral arrangement // Cake // Groom

Black image credits: Cake // Bridesmaids’ Dresses // Tuxedo // Invitations and Chalkboard Sign // Bouquet

10 Ways to Entertain Your Wedding Guests Until Send-Off

The ceremony is over, the formality of the day is coming to an end, and the bride is ready to kick up her heels! Some couples tend to become a bit worrisome once the dance floor opens up, afraid their guests will grow tired or disinterested throughout the night. After all, a bride’s biggest wedding day fear is having the majority of guests leave before her big sparkler send-off! We have come up with a few ways to keep your wedding guests entertained all night long, ensuring there will be plenty of people to throw confetti as you bid adieu:

Reserve a cozy spot for conversations. This is a crucial detail when you’re planning your reception! Not everyone wants to dance their hearts out all night, so it is important that you give these guests an area where they can cool down and enjoy a good conversation (probably about the other people dancing their hearts out).

Hello, open bar! Free drinks on a Saturday night? Difficult to say no to that. Everyone knows that alcohol gives guests the liquid courage they need to get out on the dance floor and bust their best moves. Pro tip: wedding receptions where alcohol is served tend to last at least 1.5 hours longer than dry receptions.

Cut the cake already! Cutting the wedding cake a little earlier will keep from awkward interruptions for later when everybody is in the middle of their groove!

Late night snacks. Who doesn’t love chowing down on some delicious fried foods after a night of dancing?! Our caterer, All Occasion Catering, quickly becomes everyone’s favorite vendor when they come out with a biscuit bar, flaming donuts or Krystal’s! This will keep your guests not only happily entertained, but also keep them from partying too hard. Pro tip: if you have an open bar, we HIGHLY recommend shutting down the bar and serving a late night snack to begin getting guests ‘back on track.’

Create your own playlist. Even though he/she is a professional, you know your guest list better than your DJ does. Some brides and grooms like to choose their own songs, so they know every word and can sing along without feeling left out. Be sure to mix it up and play songs for every generation! Grandma probably doesn’t want to get down to Fetty Wap. Pro tip: Allow your DJ to accept requests from your guests. If they know their song is coming up, they’re guaranteed to stay!

Group activities that don’t involve dancing. Karaoke machine? Cards Against Humanity? Blackjack table? With these options, your non-dancing guests are bound to want to stay a little longer!

Shake it like a Polaroid! If your photographer is off the clock, set out a few polaroids or disposable cameras so your friends and family can get interactive with each other. No wedding guest ever turns down an opportunity for a selfie. This can also be a great alternative to the traditional guest book. It will leave you with not only sweet notes, but also pictures to remember the fun night everyone had! Pro tip: invest in a photo booth or fun backdrop!

Arrange for guests’ transportation back to the hotel. If you’re serving alcohol, this is for everyone’s safety. You can also arrange the buses to begin shuttling at a specific time, ensuring your guests will stay as long as you want (but don’t be cruel, holding them hostage!).

Specialty bars. Investing in a specialty bar (moonshine bar, cigar & bourbon bar, etc.) gives guests a reason to stay past the bouquet and garter tosses, knowing there’s a shot or two of whiskey in their future. Pro tip: Don’t open up your specialty bar until at least 9 p.m. to evenly break up the night’s activities and give guests something to look forward to.

Relax – seriously! We know wedding planning can get a bit hectic, but once the day arrives, everyone will have more fun if you can look over any little debacles (and trust us, there is always something that can’t be controlled)! Don’t spend your entire wedding day stressing and wondering if your guests will leave early. You spend months and months, dollar after dollar planning this one day. ENJOY YOURSELF. Pro tip: If you’re on the dance floor having a great time, your guests will be doing the same. If you’re sitting at the table looking bored, your guests will be doing the same.

14 Wedding First Dance Songs That Will Melt Your Heart

It’s here! The time for song selections has finally arrived on your wedding planning checklist. Processional–check. First dance–check. Bouquet toss–check. Now, there are two types of brides in this world: brides who have basically known since birth what songs they are going to walk down the aisle to and dance as Mr. & Mrs. for the first time to. It’s the song they grew up daydreaming about their Prince Charming to. It’s the song playing in the background of their first kiss. It’s the anthem for their relationship… And then there are brides who put off this decision until the night before their wedding and end up choosing whatever first comes to mind. While we definitely want the former type of bride to continue reading (it’s always nice to have options!), we’re here to help the latter type of bride overcome any procrastination. We’ve taken into account the romantic, make-you-melt kind of lyrics and beats you can actually dance to. From there, we have narrowed the list down to our top 14 favorite first dance songs to give you some inspiration.

Popular First Dance Songs. If you’re wanting a song your guests can sing along to while you waltz away, here are our top choices:

‘Make You Feel My Love’ by Adele

‘XO’ by John Mayer

‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson

‘How Long Will I Love You’ by Ellie Goulding

‘You and I’ by Ingrid Michaelson

‘Come Away With Me’ by Norah Jones

 

Alternative First Dance Songs. If you’re looking for a more unconventional first dance song–you know, the kind of song your friends haven’t all chosen–weve’ve got you covered:

‘Sea of Love’ by Cat Power

‘Sparks’ by Coldplay

‘You Are the Best Thing’ by Ray LaMontagne

‘Heart’s on Fire’ by Passenger

‘My Two Left Feet’ by Erick Baker

 

Classic first dance songs. Because they just never seem to get old… If you’re afraid the classics are all overused, search for covers of older songs. Same tune, fresh vocals! It was hard to narrow down, but here’s a few of our favorite throwbacks:

‘The Way You Look Tonight’ by Frank Sinatra

‘At Last’ by Etta James (or pump up the younger crowd with a little Beyonce)

‘Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’ by Haley Reinhart

Wedding Planning 101: Why Videography is Worth Every Penny

When my parents think of wedding videos, they step back in time to their wedding day, when Uncle John so generously offered to film the entire event on his VHS camcorder. However, Uncle John didn’t consider choosing an aisle seat, so when my mom walked down the aisle, all poor Uncle John caught on film was the top of each guest’s head as everyone stood to watch the most pivotal moment of a wedding.

When I think of wedding videos, I go back to my college days. My friends all made fun of me because I used to watch every single wedding video I could find on the Internet, almost incessantly, feeling and sharing all of the emotions shown (I shed a few tears every now and then…). Sometimes, when watching the really emotional, give-you-goosebumps kind of wedding videos, I felt like I was connecting with the couple as if I were at the actual event. Ha!

Alex Widmer wedding videography

After chatting with Alex Widmer, one of Castleton’s preferred videographers (and my wedding videographer!) and working in the wedding industry, I’ve noticed that, around here, videography either doesn’t fall within most wedding budgets or it’s just not “important” enough to be considered a wedding day essential. The majority of brides will rank their wedding day priorities, whether that means putting most of their budget into catering to really wow their guests with the dinner presentation or photography to provide those picture-perfect memories to show the grandkids (and a new profile picture that guarantees 200+ likes). The most common vendors that couples prioritize for their wedding are photographers, venues, and caterers because those are the wedding essentials that have been around  forever. Right now, videography is at the bottom of the totem pole because people miss out on seeing the value in it. As Alex put it, people only see it as the “distant uncle with his large camcorder, letting the camera droop down in the last row because he’s focused on the ceremony.” However, in the majority of polls taken by wedding sites, not hiring a professional videographer tends to be most brides’ #1 wedding day regret.

 

Wedding videography regrets

 

Is wedding videography just a trend? We don’t think so. It’s just another way our industry is being affected by the evolving culture. Think about it. Why do you spend an extra 20 minutes scrolling through your Facebook these days? Why did Vine and Periscope gain popularity so quickly? Why did Instagram add a video feature? Alex stated that video communicates authenticity. You can add filters, sure, but for the most part, you’re hearing and seeing things for what they really are–something our millennial generation is all about, ironically.

Wedding days are FILLED with all sorts of emotions–once-in-a-lifetime emotions that you can’t even begin to describe, emotions that you’ll never know existed until you experience your own wedding day, and simply put, emotions that can’t be captured through pictures, no matter how awesome your photographer is. As Instagram stated, when they released their video feature, “Some moments need more than a static image to come to life.” Videography allows you to experience those feelings long after the wedding. You get to see it, hear it, and feel it all over again.

Truthfully, there’s so much you’ll miss on your wedding day–preparation and set-up of the details you so thoughtfully planned out, interactions between guests who traveled from near and far for this one special day, grandma’s killer moves on the dance floor, and more. If you spend your whole life, from the time you’re a little girl, planning your wedding, why wouldn’t you want it captured in a way that you can relive it whenever you want?

Personally, I knew I had to squeeze videography into my budget because that’s all I raved about for four years. Now, it’s been four months since our wedding day, and even though we’ve oohed and aahed over our pictures, I cannot wait to watch our video. I’m ready to see, hear and experience our emotions when we read our letters to each other. I’m ready to relive our first look (and probably rewind to watch Corey’s reaction an embarrassing amount of times), our first kiss as husband and wife, the sweet toasts from our friends and family, and all of the other fun, quirky and emotional things that happened in between that made our wedding day my absolute favorite day.

 

Check out some work by our favorite, wedding-video-loving friends!

Alex Widmer Video

Milestone Pictures

Casey & Kristin

 

In case you’ve missed the rest of our Wedding Planning 101 series…

First Glance: Her Perspective

First Glance: His Perspective

Save the Date Cards

Dos and Don’ts of Your Engagement Shoot

Bridesmaids Proposals

Choosing Your Bridesmaids

Saying Yes to the Dress

Ways to Cut Wedding Costs

Choosing Your Date

How He Asked: All About the Proposal

Introduction

Planning an Indian Wedding: Shopping for Sarees

Darla, Ben, our bride, Heena, and “the mommas” (Heena + Ronak’s mothers) spent the first 3 days of their adventure in India shopping for Heena’s wedding sarees and jewelry for the big day! Despite being on a tight schedule, the crew helped Heena find all seven of her outfits (no, that’s not a typo – she needs seven outfits for her wedding!). Before moving on to the next city, Heena wrote us about her shopping experience in Mumbai:Shopping for Indian wedding sarees

“My dress buying process has not been the typical dress buying process. Most brides will come to India to shop at least six months before the wedding for about a month. I, however, am shopping for my outfit 3 months before my wedding for less than two weeks. It was really difficult for me to find time to shop for the wedding with my school schedule. I didn’t want to miss out on this experience, even if it meant I had to be a little stressed and rushed. The actual shopping process has been pretty flawless overall. At times it can get overwhelming being in one store for hours, however overall it has been really exciting! I definitely had an idea of what I wanted to wear. I was really nervous that what I was envisioning would be difficult to find though because it was unlikely that there would be time have a dress custom made, with coming to India so close to the wedding. I knew I wanted my wedding dress to have floral print or embroidery on it. This isn’t something you typically find on Indian outfits, but luckily that is what ended up being in season!! It’s really starting to set in that Ronak and I are getting married! It’s been so much fun sharing this experience with Ben and Darla so far…I can’t wait to see what the coming week has in store for us!”

Indian wedding sarees

Indian wedding sarees design process

Heena has chosen a beautiful peach-colored dress along with SIX other outfits! The traditional Indian wedding saree is made from red, silk fabric. However, our bride has chosen to go a little more neutral with her color selection. In India, the color white represents mourning, so obviously white is not the color of choice for a wedding! Typically, Indian wedding sarees will be embellished with crystals and real 24-karat gold thread and combined with lavish gold jewelry, including necklaces, bangles, rings, and hairpieces! Wedding sarees can also be complimented with a mix of pink or gold, and the bride will change into a different colored dress for the reception! These gowns can cost just as much as a wedding dress in America, if not more, because of the intricacy and details involved in the handmade design process. Wishing for more shopping luck for Heena, Darla, Ben, and the entire family!

Indian wedding sarees

A sneak peek of Heena’s main wedding saree

Indian shopping experience

The best shopping buddy – doesn’t say much though! #PappusPassage #WhereInTheWorldIsPappu

A special thanks to Sammohi Design Studio for hosting us and letting us film the design and production process. They also helped Heena find her dream wedding dress!

Catch up on our Indian adventure through our Facebook vlogs and photos. As the culture shock wears off, the videos keep getting better and better! Darla even finds a McDonald’s on Day 4!

Planning an Indian Wedding: Castleton Goes International

You haven’t heard? Castleton Farms is headed to India! As you read this, our Executive Director, Darla Walker, is jet-setting across the world with our bride Heena and photographer Ben Finch to prep for the big day. While over there, Darla and Heena will shop for the wedding sarees, jewelry, invitations and more, and back home, we’re going to be documenting every bit of it. While they’re all en route, we wanted to introduce Heena + Ronak to you all!

International Indian wedding planning

Indian wedding photography_Bill Waldorf

 

their storyThe two met at a graduation party at the end of their Junior year in college, and Heena claims she knew there was something special about him when she saw him walk through the door (swoon!). Little did they know, at that moment, where life would bring them! A few days after, Heena was leaving Atlanta for the summer so Ronak asked her to grab coffee at the ever-so-eclectic Java Monkey, and the rest is history. Heena commented, “It’s a good thing that I liked him enough to go on a date with him because I’m not the biggest fan of coffee!”

 

Indian wedding engagement_Ben Finch Photo

 

how he askedOne of the couple’s favorite places is Savannah, Georgia. The fact that 3 out of 6 of their anniversaries have been spent in the charming, historic town made it the perfect proposal location. Ronak had mapped out every detail of the day, which would end with him on one knee, at their favorite place in Savannah–the fountain in the middle of Forsyth Park, asking the girl he adores to spend forever with him. But life happens, and the day didn’t go as Ronak had planned. Every time he thought about proposing throughout the day, something went wrong. The day ended back at the town home where they were staying, and Ronak decided then that the time was right. He asked. Heena was taken by surprise. She said yes, of course, and here we are today!

 

Indian wedding engagement_Ben Finch Photo

castleton brideHeena had previously been to an Indian wedding at Castleton and fell in love with our property. When the time rolled around for her to choose a wedding venue, she considered Castleton because of the outdoor venue options. In India, over 90% of couples get married outside. While there are endless outdoor venues to choose from in America, the couple had difficulty finding an outdoor venue that could accommodate such a large guest count. Indian families consider everyone they meet part of their family, which explains their 500+ person guest counts. Heena + Ronak also mentioned choosing Castleton because of Darla and the built-in event planning that comes with every experience. Unlike American weddings, Indian weddings consist of multiple events occurring over a 3-day time period (at least!), so having an event planner to keep track of each detail and hold people accountable was a huge deal breaker for these two.


All of that being said, we are SO excited to have the opportunity to experience India with Heena, Ronak, Ben, and the whole family. Join us on this adventure and find some entertainment in our daily Facebook vlogs, Instagram inspiration photos, blog posts describing the details and importance of planning an Indian wedding, and one of our favorite parts – Pappu’s passage! That’s right. The little friend you see below is joining our journey. We’ll be posting photos of Pappu wherever we go, and it’s up to YOU to guess where he is. Darla will be bringing back some fun souvenirs for each winner! Be sure to follow us with the hashtags #PappusPassage, #WhereInTheWorldIsPappu and #IndiaExperiencesCastleton.

authentic patchwork Indian elephant

12 Wedding Trends to Look Forward To in 2016

2015 was all about fierce plunging necklines, champagne fountains and deep wine-colored hues throughout! With a year filled with such classy amazingness, how could you top that?! We think, however, that this year is going to be one for the books with predicted trends like metallic color schemes, wedding dress separates, furry sidekicks, and many more! Be prepared for 2016, ladies and gentlemen, because this year’s trends are about to be bolder and more dazzling than ever!

Metallics. This year is going to be filled with metallic color schemes everywhere. Rose gold and copper are said to be the “it” color of 2016. Incorporate metallics into any aspect of your wedding – invitations, bridesmaids dresses, or even table linens!

 

Sleeves. Gone are the days of strapless, sweetheart-neckline dresses. 2016 is going to be covered (pun intended) with gorgeous designer gowns with sleeves of all sorts! From cap, illusion, or tank… You name it, it will be done!

 

Furry sidekicks. Calling all you puppy lovers out there! It’s been said that a trend for this coming year is going to involve bringing your pup along on the special day. This is by far the best thing we have heard all year (even if it is just January). So ladies and gents, grab your little fluff ball, take him to the groomers, and get ready to have lots of kisses from not only the bride!

 

Pre-ceremony cocktails. Ready to party? Pre-ceremony chatting (empty-handed) will be no more! Couples are now wanting to greet their party-comers with a bubbly refreshment to get the party started. Who’s excited?!

 

Two-piece dresses. It started with prom and now has flooded into the wedding world, and we’re not mad about it. Two part wedding dresses and removable bottom pieces are going to be seen everywhere! Looking to be a chic and sexy bride? Well you’re in luck, because this is your year!

 

Vintage engagement rings. Word of advice: Ask mom! Trending now are heirloom engagement rings! Nothing is more special than saying yes to a beautiful piece from Grandma, trust me!

 

Boudoir beauties. Boudoir sessions are an easy gift to let your husband see a little more of your sexy side. Instead of having a whole day set apart for beautifully baring it all, brides are beginning to do it throughout the morning of their big day! Hooray for knocking out two birds with one stone!

 

Jewel tones. Deep purples, royal blues, and bright fuchsias… Oh my! Some brides are on the metallic train to their big day, but if you still want that splash of color, that’s okay too! Jewel tones are here to stay for 2016, ladies.

 

Long tables. Join the family! Separate round tables are out, and long tables for many guests to sit together are in and we love it. Pass the rolls, please!

 

Lighting. Great lighting is everything, and this year, it’s not going unnoticed! Using a plethora of candles or more chandeliers than you should (because they’re beautiful, right?) is totally okay!

 

Pattern. Adding pattern into your wedding is one quick way to being the most stylish bride of the year. Checkerboard, polka dot, or color blur your way to the top!

 

2016 wedding trends mix and match furniture

My Blonde Ambitions

Mix+Match. The bride wants glitter but the groom wants matte? Bride wants glamorous, groom wants traditional? Arguing over who has better wedding ideas is exhausting. So calm down, because this year you can both win with the new trend of mixing and matching (YAY)!


With this knowledge in hand, begin pinning away and planning, ladies!

The First Look: A Bride’s Perspective

It’s incredible how ‘anti-first look’ I was up until about 3 months before our wedding. “No way is he seeing me until I walk down the aisle,” I told everyone (even when they didn’t ask for my opinion on the subject). I adored that traditional aspect of a wedding. I wanted it to be this grand, unforgettable moment – walking down the aisle in a white dress I’ll only get to wear once, Corey crying like a baby as he sees me for the first time, and our guests surrounding us, witnessing all the feels and emotions (and if it’s really dramatic like I expected, maybe Corey’s reaction would end up on Pinterest).

Groom's reactions on Pinterest

However, it only took about 10 minutes of observing post-ceremony family portraits at Castleton to change my mind. Instead of spending the first 45 minutes or so of wedded bliss alone, this couple spent it posing and smiling with 30 other family members, trying to get the kiddos to look at the camera, and sending bridesmaids to find cousin Jimmy, who’s already introduced himself to the fruit and cheese display. After all of that, the two still had to take bride and groom pictures! Guests travel from near and far for YOU, and trust me, they get a bit antsy when you’re not around because the party truly doesn’t start until you walk in.


As a bride who’s been there, done that, these are just a few reasons why I would choose to do a first look again and again:

Sharing initial emotions. If we had waited for the initial reaction to happen during the ceremony, I wouldn’t have been able to hug and kiss him and tell him how much I was ready to marry him. I wouldn’t have been able to hear him say how excited he was or if he liked my dress. We would’ve missed out on that private, intimate moment together.

Aisle jitters and distractions. I can’t explain how nice it was to see Corey, for the first time, while it was just the two of us, instead of in front of every single guest we invited. Walking down the aisle, I was too busy worrying if I had lipstick on my teeth or how fast we were walking or oh! there’s Claire, so happy she could come! Don’t get me wrong, it was still an emotional experience – you’re walking towards your best friend, your forever teammate. I still almost cried (I’m not a big crier, folks), Corey still quivered his lips, and our guests still made comments about how sweet his reaction was. Having a first look, for us, didn’t ruin “the big moment” of walking down the aisle.

Seeing you for you. The first look was a chance for Corey to assess my dress and adjust to how much makeup I was wearing (I’m a mascara-and-go kind of girl). At the ceremony, since he had already taken in how I looked, he could see me for me – his bride, walking to him ready to begin our life together. It was able to be more of a “Wow, this is really happening” moment.

Post-ceremony privacy. Because we agreed on seeing each other before the ceremony, Corey and I were able to have a much more intimate moment immediately following our announcement as Mr. and Mrs. We were able to knock out our bridal party and family photos before the ceremony, so afterwards, we could escape and be together, just the two of us (and the photographers and videographers, of course).

However, all of that being said, choosing to do a first look is completely up to you! It’s what worked best for Corey and I, but that’s not to say it works best for everyone. Talk to your fiancé about it! He might surprise you by having an opinion. In the end, it’s about what YOU want, not what the Internet tells you to do.

Read Corey’s perspective on our first look here.