Vendor Spotlight | Tracy Autem Photography

DFW Wedding Planner: Vendor Spotlights

This week we’re revisiting a helpful series on the blog: Vendor Spotlights! We’ll interview a few of our favorite vendors, so you can get the inside scoop on wedding industry tips and trends—from experts we trust. Executing a seamless wedding must be a team effort; top-notch vendors all work together to bring your creative vision to life. As a DFW wedding planner, we’ve had the pleasure of working with countless businesses over the past decade. As such, we’re proud to showcase our tried-and-true vendors, helping you connect with qualified professionals we can confidently recommend for your big day.

For our first Vendor Spotlight, we’re welcoming back Tracy of Tracy Autem Photography. After over a decade in business, she’s a true expert on timeless wedding photography… and she’s always pushing her own creative boundaries to find and capture the unique qualities about every couple’s relationship. Meet Tracy and her amazing team at Lightly Photography, Amanda McCollum and Annie Norvell (both incredible photographers in their own right!):


Today, we’re revisiting Tracy’s take on a controversial topic: the “First Look.” What are the pros and cons? Could a first look be right for you? As a photographer, Tracy has had ample experience at weddings with and without a first look. She sums up the best advice we’ve heard in just one statement:

“Seeing one another before the ceremony is a big decision for today’s brides. When asked this question by my couples, I have one simple bit of advice: Be Authentic.”

We couldn’t agree more! Like most wedding decisions, the option to have a first look is a personal choice that should reflect your authentic love story. Tracy goes on to say:

“It is your day, your vision, your romance and as a bride and groom. Everything about your day should reflect you as a couple. When it comes to first looks, you should do what feels right and makes sense for your desired photography.”

Tracy is right on point. Unfortunately, it may not always be so black and white. What if you’re on the fence about a first look? There are some practical pros and cons to consider; take a look at Tracy’s list to help inform your decision.


  • Are either of you the nervous type or get flustered in front of large crowds? At the thought of being the center of attention do you turn green? If you (or your spouse to be) suffers from anxiety or some major nerves, seeing each other beforehand takes the edge off. Besides, you have picked this person to spend the rest of your life with! They are probably the best cure to those anxious feelings and being apart just seems unnatural.
  • Get to the party faster! Guests can enjoy a short cocktail hour and then on to the party.  Why?  Because with a first sight most (if not all) of your formal photography can be accomplished prior to your guests arriving at the ceremony.
  • Location, location, location!  Seeing each other early sometimes means capturing daylight in the winter months before your evening ceremony, visiting a favorite spot, adding variety to your images by changing locations and having a relaxing time doing so (no rushing!)
  • Emotional responses and plenty of time to twirl in your gown and let that guy gush over your wedding day look. Hug, smile, kiss, laugh and actually get to talk to each other when you see one another (during a ceremony you might get a whisper in—no major conversation until that ring is on!)


  • You’re a traditional kinda girl/guy. It’s okay! If this is you, then skip right on down to saying no to this trend. If you love all things time-honored and true, you may regret stepping out of your box this time.
  • You are having a BIG split of time on your wedding day (think hours between the wedding and reception.) If this is the case, all the pro’s above are null and void—you have so much time in between to take photos that you can be leisurely about it.


As a photographer, Tracy is definitely in favor of first looks; they allow more time for her to capture those intimate moments between the bride and groom, preserving this special moment on camera. However, what we love most about Tracy is that she puts her couples first! No matter which route you take, she will capture timeless romantic photos that speak to your authentic love story.

It has been a pleasure to work with Tracy time and time again. Her passion for wedding photography  and her enthusiastic personality are a welcome asset on your big day. We recommend her services with confidence, and love working alongside this talented photographer! Take a peek at some of our recent work together, and be sure to check out her portfolio for more.


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If you’re still undecided about a first look, A Stylish Soiree is happy to help. As a full-service DFW wedding planner, we will assist you with a customized timeline that suits your style—with or without a first look. Contact us to tell us more about your vision for your dream wedding. Plus, stay tuned to our blog for more vendor spotlights that will help connect you with the best in the industry!

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