Planning your wedding – Should I do a first look?



Welcome back to the blog!

I’m so glad you came by, and I hope to give you some good information and a few things to consider as you decide whether or not a “First Look” is something you want to incorporate into your big day!

First things first, what IS a “First Look”?

Simply put, a first look is the opportunity a groom and bride have together to see each other in private before the ceremony.

Tradition dictates that the first time a husband sees his bride, it should be as she is coming down the aisle to marry him, many now feel that this is something that shares what really should be a beautiful, private moment with a large group of people, and want to recapture the intimacy of that moment.

The groom has seen his bride many times before and after the engagement, but until this day, never has he seen her in all her beauty, glowing with all the emotions that the day has finally arrived!  She has not yet seen him in his tailored suit or tuxedo, waiting just for her.   Traditionally, this first look was in front of all of their friends and family.  His first reaction to her has been there at the altar, a beautiful moment for generations.  If you chose to stay within tradition, you’d be in good company, as all of our grandparents, aunts, uncles and parents saw their spouses dressed for the marriage ceremony for the first time as the ceremony began and the congregation stood.

But, if you are open to other ways of doing things, and if you’d like to recapture a moment of privacy just for you two and a chance to relax during what promises to be a very busy day, then maybe the First Look option is for you.

This is how is works:  During the wedding day, the Bride and Groom get ready with their attendants in separate quarters.  With a First Look incorporated into your timeline, that “getting ready” time would start 30-45 minutes earlier.  Your photographer will scout out some places around the immediate area that provides some shelter from many eyes, and will have the groom, ready for the ceremony, stationed at one end of this spot.  He either closes his eyes or is turned around, usually, and the bride comes behind him and calls his name as she gets close enough, and they get to see each other, dressed, the most handsome and beautiful they’ve ever looked, and ready to finally become husband and wife!

Photographs will be taken from a short distance away to capture your reactions – this is a very important emotional moment.  However, we will not be close to you and will use longer lenses to get images of your time together.  You take a few minutes to talk to each other and let us know when you are ready to go get your pre-ceremony portraits with just you as a couple and then incorporating your wedding party.  Seeing each other this way will mean you are making this magical moment private, just for you both to treasure, before going on to celebrate more publicly.


The practical advantage of the First Look means we can get a lot of portraits before the ceremony, when everyone is looking their best and fresh from the hair and makeup chair!  We focus on you as a couple first for 15-30 minutes, based on what images you want to capture, and then bring in all the attendants for full wedding party photos.  Family portraits will be saved until after the ceremony.  You save an amazing amount of time after the ceremony doing a First Look, and can get to the reception sooner to start the celebration!

First Looks are being used more and more in today’s weddings, and give you more options for images, it preserves the feeling that this day is just for you as a couple, and breaks up the portrait time into more manageable chunks of time, not to mention, it allows a short time away from large groups of people and a relaxing retreat from a busy wedding day!

So, what do you think?  Maybe this can be your “something new” from the old saying.

Comment below, and let me know what your thoughts are, even if you aren’t getting married (or are already married!)

Much love while we look for the light,


Photo credit:  Katya Pile

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