To Look or Not To Look...First Looks at Your Wedding

What is a First Look?

First Look

A growing trend amongst couples is to do a First Look before their wedding ceremony. If you’ve never heard of a First Look, it is when the wedding photographer arranges a private area for the bride and groom to see each other and both the photographer and second photographer simultaneously capture the reactions of the bride and groom as they first look at one another on their wedding day.

Sticking to Tradition

Some brides get nauseous even thinking about breaking tradition and seeing their groom before the ceremony, but fortunately for those brides their wedding doesn’t have to include a First Look. If you’re a traditionalist, embrace it and plan accordingly! I would never push or force a First Look onto any of my clients because this is their wedding and I want it to be exactly the way they want. I remember being a young girl dreaming about getting married and when the time came to actually get married, there were a few things I just had to have the way I envisioned it when I was a tween. I 100% respect your decision and whoever you choose as your wedding photographer should as well!

Partial First Look

Now there are some brides that are kind of on the fence about the whole First Look or maybe who like the idea of the First Look but just can’t bear to break tradition. There is an option of a Partial First Look as well, which allows you to talk to and be photographed with your partner without seeing them. This is arranged by using a wall, door, tree, or some other partition to separate you two which will prevent you from seeing each other but allow for your wedding photographer to capture you two in the same image as well as enabling you to pass each other notes or gifts so you can have an intimate first look kind of moment without breaking the tradition of not seeing each other before the ceremony.

Father of the Bride's First Look

There is yet one other kind of First Look…kinda. This is the first time the father of the bride sees his daughter all dressed and ready for her wedding day. This allows your photographer to capture your dad’s expression when he sees you in all your beauty and gets ready to give you away to your groom. While grooms may or may not have tears, fathers tend to get tearful during these moments and it is such a sweet moment to capture!

Things to Consider

Now that we’ve established what kinds of first looks there are, let’s discuss some of the things to consider when deciding whether to have a first look or not.

Benefits of a First Look

It is an intimate time where you can not only see your partner before the busy hustle and bustle of your wedding ceremony and reception starts, but first looks also allow for you to have most of your formal posed portraits done before the ceremony. This frees up the cocktail hour time after your ceremony to take your immediate family portraits and husband and wife sunset portraits without rushing to stay on your timeline so you can move through your wedding day more relaxed.

Timeline Adjustments

If you decide to not do a first look, you will need to make sure you have enough time planned in your wedding day timeline to do all of your formal posed portraits between the ceremony and reception. This can get a little tricky, especially with larger bridal parties, but if you have your heart set on not doing a first look, don’t let the fear of not enough time pressure you into doing a first look, that’s why we plan the wedding day timeline in advance. Just know that your cocktail hour may be longer than an hour and you may need to break away from your reception to get your husband and wife sunset portraits taken.

Your Expectations

It is important that if you plan to have a first look you have proper expectations. Some brides have full expectation that when their groom sees them for the first look he is absolutely going to cry, but ladies we need to remember, if he isn’t a crier normally he most likely won’t be on his wedding day. I would hate for you to get your hopes up because of these types of expectations and then be disappointed instead of elated during your first look. Most grooms usually have a very happy and sometimes deer in the headlights look as if they are frozen in the gaze of their bride’s beauty, but every groom is different and I would expect them to react how they normally react when they are extremely happy.

Your Wedding = Your Decision

Overall, the decision to have any kind of first look is completely up to you and your fiancé. I hope that this blog post has given you a better idea of what first looks are about and things to consider to help you make a decision that will be perfect for you two!   


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