What is a First Look at a Wedding?

Choosing to do a wedding first look has become a popular option in recent years. If you’re not familiar with what they are, it’s actually quite simple. A first look during a wedding day is an opportunity for you and your partner to see each other in your wedding attire for the first time before the ceremony. Below we’re going to discuss a few reasons why you may want to consider incorporating one into your wedding day.

Why have a first look at your wedding?

1. It Can Simplify Your Timeline

By doing a first look it removes the need to keep you separated from each other until the ceremony. That opens up options for doing photos as a couple and with your bridal party earlier in the day. This can potentially give you more time to head around town and get photos at all the locations you’d love to without making your guests wait hours between the end of the ceremony and the start of cocktail hour.

You can also opt to do family photos before the ceremony if you choose a first look. This can be useful even for church weddings, as some churches have strict time limits on how soon you need to leave following your ceremony.

Wedding first looks can also simplify transportation. Instead of having to hire separate party buses, limos, uber rides or requiring multiple trips, everyone can ride together to each location.

For more info on wedding day timelines you can read this post:

2. First looks Provide an Intimate Moment Together

Weddings are great because you get to spend them surrounded by your closest family and friends. However it also means you don’t get much private time just between the two of you. A first look provides a few (slightly) more intimate moments to yourselves. Typically your family and your bridal party aren’t present for these, just your photographer(s) and videographer(s).

One hesitation that I hear from many grooms is that they want to feel that anticipation and excitement of seeing their bride for the first time as they walk down the aisle. However, all of the grooms I spoken to who chose a first look have said they didn’t feel as though it took away from that moment. Instead, they talk about how they got to feel the excitement all over again during the ceremony. Also many guys have a harder time showing emotion in front of large crowds (shocker, I know). A first look can provide a more private environment where you both can open up and feel comfortable showing all your emotions.

3. Portraits While You’re Still Feeling Fresh

After your first look, often we’ll do portraits of the two of you together and with your bridal party right after. This places the bulk of your wedding portraits earlier in the day when your hair and makeup is freshest, you’re the least tired, and most willing to spend those extra few minutes getting amazing photos.

4. They Allow you To Spend Cocktail Hour with Guests

As mentioned earlier, many couples also choose to do family photos before the ceremony when they do a first look. An additional benefit of doing all these portraits beforehand is that it frees up your time during cocktail hour.

Some couples choose to use this time to hide away in a bridal suite and relax for a bit and freshen up before the reception. It can also give you time to bustle your dress or change into entirely new, reception specific dress.

Or after a short break you can choose to spend cocktail hour mingling with all your guests.

5. First Looks Enable Winter Weddings

If you’re planning a winter wedding you really need to consider a first look for your day. Couples often overlook the fact that it gets darker much, much sooner than during the summer months.

You’re going to want portraits as a couple and with your bridal party while it’s still daytime. This requires that you choose either a very early ceremony (roughly Noon or 1:00pm) or a first look. Portraits can be done at night, but it’s going to be darker and colder and require more setup with lighting to get you great photos.

When Should you Do Your First Look?

Typically the best time for a first look is right after you finish getting ready. If you’re both getting ready at your wedding venue or the same hotel, we’ll find a great spot for your first look at that location. If you’re each getting ready at separate locations then we’ll figure out the best spot for your first look when we build out your photography timeline.

Are First Looks Just for the Couple?

Nope! You can choose to do a first look with whoever you want. Often brides choose to do a first look with their bridesmaids. Here you’ll have the bridesmaids get dressed first, then the bride just after. Once ready you can do a reveal to your bridesmaids and get some awesome photos of them freaking out.

Another common choice is for the bride to do a first look with her dad (or both parents). Again this is another great opportunity for the two of you to have a semi-private moment together just before the ceremony.

First Look Wedding Photos

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