Benefits Of A First Look

A New Tradition: Couples Say YES To First Look


One of the coolest parts about being a wedding photographer is working with brides and grooms with different styles, tastes and personalities. From white wedding dresses to colored wedding dresses and traditional champagne toasts to grooms doing keg stands, it is always rad to work with people who want their wedding day to be their own type of awesome. One of the things that I am most proud of as a wedding photographer is working closely with each couple to give them a unique experience that is truly reflective of their style and personality. This is why one of the very first questions I ask my brides and grooms is if they intend on having a pre-reveal or what is also known as a first look on their wedding day.

What The Heck Is A First Look!?

A first look is when the bride and groom decide to take a brief moment out of a sometimes (more than likely) hectic wedding day to see each other before the actual wedding ceremony takes place. Although it may not be traditional and not for every couple, I believe setting up a first look can provide a deeply intimate and special moment for a bride and groom that they will cherish forever. I did one for my wedding and thought it was f***ing awesome and one of the best parts of my wedding day so I am totally one to encourage couples to consider a first look. A first look captures the very first time a bride and groom see each other on the biggest day of their lives, allowing them to experience the authentic emotions and love they have for one another in a secluded and private area. The overwhelming feeling of seeing your life partner for the first time in full wedding attire can literally be breathtaking and that is why the first look is so brilliant because it allows a bride and groom to experience those emotions before the actual ceremony. Not to mention, allocating this time for photography reduces any pressures due to time constraints if things fall behind schedule, which basically happens at every wedding since the history of weddings.

As a groom who together with his wife made the decision to break tradition and see each other before our walk down the aisle I can say that the first look gave us an opportunity to have a very personal moment together that freed us to express our most sincere thoughts and emotions. We were able to chat while I drank a nice glass of Scotch and just enjoy being awesome together. Looking back upon our October wedding in the Temecula wineries I can honestly say that our first look was one of my favorite memories of my wedding day.

Choosing to do a first look before the wedding ceremony is certainly not for every couple, but brides and grooms who do often say it allowed them to enjoy the wedding ceremony more. This is because when they were able to move past the wedding day jitters of seeing their future Mr. or Mrs. for the first time they had a more clear head. The clarity allowed the couple to better absorb the enormity of the day while also helping bring a level of calmness that some said actually helped them better remember their wedding vows.

As a photographer who has documented many weddings I can say with certainty that the hours on a wedding day are very precious and move rather quickly. Even with my experience behind the camera working weddings I was shocked how fast our wedding day came and went. This is why maximizing the time a bride and groom have together is critical. Photographers want to have the time to capture and document the love between a bride and groom the way it is meant to be captured: pure and uninhibited. A first look before the wedding ceremony offers this opportunity.

Below is an example of a first look, and even though the photographs are not new wedding work (don’t judge me too hard on the images) they provide some insight to why I am so passionate about communicating with my brides and grooms to discuss options they have on their wedding day. The only question is whether you want your wedding day to be old traditional or new traditional with a first look! Honestly, it does not matter to me because this is your wedding. If you always wanted to wait to see your soon-to-be husband or bride then F*** Yeah! Let’s do it your way. It is your wedding and I wouldn’t want to change that vision. But I do believe all brides and grooms should consider a first look so here is what a few brides I photographed in the past had to say about choosing a first look! Cheers!

Benefits of First Look At Wedding

“Honestly seeing Mitch a couple hours before the wedding ceremony made me feel 100% better! I was so nervous, and all I wanted was just to see Mitch and have a couple moments alone with him before all our guests arrived. I will always remember that look he had on his face, the moment he turned around. It helped calm me down, gave me my appetite back, and he even brought beer which was the best part!” – Marcelline

Should I Do A First Look Should I Do A First Look

“The first look” was  something I never would consider throughout my entire engagement (and even before I was engaged). I couldn’t get over the fact I would be breaking tradition while seeing my soon-to-be husband right before I went down the isle. I decided to do a first look solely for the picture timing. I realized I wouldn’t have enough time to spend with guests and family if we had to do our wedding pictures after the ceremony. I didn’t want to take away valuable memories with them by taking pictures that could be taken at an earlier more convenient time. So, my husband and I ended up doing a first look and if I could do it all over again I absolutely would. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Not only did it save a crazy amount of time, it was the most special moment of my wedding day. On your wedding day there are so many emotions that hit you all at once. Happiness, nervousness, excited-ness, “oh my gosh am I really doing this” type of feelings.. But then the moment you see your spouse during your first look, all of the emotions are reciprocated and the feeling you get when you see your soon to be husband/wife is the most unforgettable moment ever. It was also very intimate and special.  It is perfect because not only are you getting your pictures out of the way, you get to forever keep the moment in photographs. I instantly felt so relieved and ready to go get married the second we saw each other. I was still very emotional when I was walking down the isle and the first look didn’t make me any less excited. Getting our first look photographed was so special, we will forever have the memory of the moment we shared right before we made the biggest commitment of our lives. Ryan did such an amazing job at keeping that moment private and intimate, while taking our favorite pictures of that day. Thank you Ryan! Xoxo” – Brooke

“During my 2 year engagement, I heard about other couples doing the “first look.” However, I initially opposed it. I felt it went against tradition and took away from the moment between the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time down the aisle. Yet, we decided to do the first look a month before our wedding and it was one of our best decisions. It created a smoother flow for the entire day. We did not have to rush after the ceremony to take pictures and got a chance to actually enjoy the cocktail hour with our 200 guests! This was important to us because many guests travelled pretty far and the day goes by so fast that it’s hard to find a moment for everyone. Seeing each other for the first time was very emotional and we got a chance to chat and talk about our excitements and fears about the whole day. It actually calmed my nerves down a lot more and it did not take away from the moment of seeing him again down the aisle at the ceremony. To sum things up, it felt like we saw each other for the first time TWICE! Each moment a little different but just as special.”- Jessica

Still Not Sure If A First Look Is For You? Here Are A Few More Benefits:
  • Bride has fresh make-up and hair
  • Get emotions and ugly crying face out before the wedding ceremony
  • Couple can feel less stress knowing some wedding photos were taken before the ceremony if things get hectic later in the day
  • Shorter wait time for guests after the wedding ceremony
  • Bride & groom can choose to socialize with guests during cocktail hour rather than take more photos
  • Couple can enjoy a private moment to express love and appreciation for one another or talk about Star Wars movies