Happy Monday, friends! I hope everyone had a happy Independence Day! The Katie O' team had a much needed weekend of rest and relaxation. So nice to just hang out with friends and family; have a BBQ; take in some sparkly fireworks; and sit poolside. But you know we can't stop (and we won't stop) and we're right back at it!

Today we're talking about first looks and why a first look might be something you may want to consider for your wedding. We're also going to look back at some of my favorite first looks from various Katie O' Weddings and Events (KOWE) couples from years past!

I love first looks because it provides the couple with a few minutes to themselves before the actual ceremony and wedding. The first look can afford a few private moments between the couple that they can cherish. Some couples feel that a first look takes some of the pressure off the ceremony and the first time they would traditionally see one another while walking down the aisle. As a planner, I think first looks are great because you're gaining time during the cocktail hour to socialize with your guests. After the first look a lot of couples choose to do their more formal group and family photos, too.

Some of my photog friends prefer first looks because of the lighting. This is especially true during the fall and winter when it gets dark pretty early.

There are plenty of reasons not to do a first look, too–tradition, being one, and wanting the first time you see your bride or groom be when they're headed down the aisle. The anticipation is pretty awesome; but, then again, I think that feeling is there regardless! Let's check out a few of my favorite first looks from KOWE couples!

Wow–how awesome is this image of Natalia and Carlos' first look from their October 2011 wedding (photo by our friends the Elarios)?!

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Or how about this AMAZING series from Kyle and Kate's 2012 wedding in Lake George. OMG–Kyle's reaction is perfect!

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Or this shot of Morgan and Pete from their Hall of Springs wedding?! I love both of their reactions!

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I also adore this image from Rachael and Danny's 2011 wedding…I call it “into the woods.” I love how everyone kind of hung back, too! Can you spot Big Joe Elario waiting to capture Danny's reaction? It's like a Where's Waldo book! Hah!

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Or this sweet shot of Lauren and Brad right before their ceremony.

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Last, a great series from Shannon and Avram's 2012 wedding and first look…

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So many great photos to choose from…so many amazing moments! Would you consider having a first look? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!

Keep sparkling–