“First Look” Thoughts



As a wedding photographer, I have many responsibilities to my couples. One responsibility that carries much weight is planning the timeline! Every bride wants a wedding day that has a beautiful, organic, stress-free flow. A relaxing wedding timeline doesn’t just happen – it is designed. In today’s wedding world, we see the new tradition of doing a First Look more often than not, and it is a major factor in timeline planning.

If this is something you are considering, I will say that choosing to do a First Look proves to help create a more relaxed day. It also helps when bridal party, family formals and bride/groom portraits are not required to be done in one quick hour following the ceremony. Having done all or most of your bride and groom photos and maybe even the bridal party photos following the first look moment, you may get to enjoy some of your cocktail hour if you wish to! (another new tradition). 


By now, I am sure most couples have heard of a First Look. If not, I’ll explain that it is a portion of the day devoted to the anticipation and relief of seeing the one you’ll marry BEFORE the ceremony.  Wait – we’re allowed to do that??? Yes! 

– “No! We can’t see each other, that is BAD LUCK!”

It is certainly not bad luck. Stubbing your toe on the foot of your bed as you wake up in the morning, and then tripping over the rug and twisting your ankle, causing you to limp and get a late start to your day is bad luck. Throwing your arms around the one you love at any time of the day is a blessing!

– “My mom won’t let me do that!”

With remaining respectful to all mom’s and other influences in our lives…we must ask ourselves what we want out of our wedding day!

– “I don’t want to take away from the moment they see me walking down the aisle!”

I get that, I really do! One of the things I looked forward to most on my wedding day was seeing my husband’s reaction to me as our church doors opened and I walked toward him. I didn’t really get to “see” that reaction as I had imaged in the moment because I was about 50 feet away from him and my guests were demanding my eye’s attention( then add in the distraction of guest’s phones / iPads leaning into the aisle). I did see his happiness once I got close enough to him. In my professional experience, a First Look has never taken away any special connection or emotion from the aisle moment. When that music is playing and your partner sees you walking toward them, emotion always wins them over! I would attest to a first look adding to your day, especially if it is a moment shared between the two of you only!

As a wedding photographer, I realize how intimate this moment can be. We like to capture the tears, laughter, embracing and raw emotion from a non-invasive distance! We don’t interrupt the moment, we keep photographing it until you realize that although you only see one another, you’re actually not alone 😉 


I married my hubby in 2012. This was only five years ago, but in wedding industry world…..it is about half a century ago. I’m talking pre-pinterest, pre-wedding hashtag or wedding planning app era. At the time I was not a wedding photographer, nor did I know anything about the industry.  I honestly wish I had heard of a First Look in 2012, or had an open mind to sharing a moment with my husband before the ceremony. I was 100% a traditional bride. While there is NOTHING wrong with the traditional route at all, I just wish I was aware of alternative options. 

If my couples are sincerely against seeing one another prior to the ceremony, I support that!  Your wedding day is exactly that – YOUR wedding day. What you have your heart set on is what should happen. No friend, family member or vendor should try to convince you otherwise. If you are undecided, please welcome insight to other options.

If you are on the fence on which option to go with, think of how you wish to share your anticipation and love for one another. Do you feel that you’ll want to just reach out and embrace your fiancé when you see them, or are you okay with walking 50 feet toward them and waiting 35-45 minutes until the ceremony is complete to share your first thoughts?

I have never had a couple complain that they saw one another before the ceremony, but I have heard brides and grooms say that they wish they had done a first look. Either way, in your heart you know what is best for you and rest assured the timeline will be designed to suit your needs and wishes! Happy Planning!

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