You may have heard of a trend called the “first look” at weddings and today I wanted to talk about some of the reasons that you may want to consider a first look for your wedding day.  

First, what is a first look?  The first look is simply where we set up a private moment between the bride and groom on the day of the wedding before the ceremony where they can see each other for the first time.  Usually we have the groom facing away from the bride and she can walk up and tap him on the shoulder and as he turns around, we capture those real first moments of you seeing each other for the first time.  You can hug, talk, cry, whatever comes naturally to you.  Easy right?  But why would you want to do a first look?  Well, here’s a few benefits you might want to consider:

Benefit #1 – After the ceremony, you don’t spend tons of time taking photos since you did them all beforehand.  This is a big benefit for most couple because everyone has been kept waiting at the ceremony for the couple to arrive and we, as photographers, want to get you to your guests as soon as possible.  With the first look, we can take bride and groom, bridal party and even most of the family photos before the ceremony so afterwards you can go straight to your reception!  The bridal party and family will love being able to eat and socialize after the ceremony and your guests will appreciate not having to wait around for the bride and groom to arrive before the fun gets started.

Church first look
First look wedding

Benefit #2 – A first look can give you greater variety in locations for photos.  Because we’re not in a rush to hurry and get you to the reception, we can walk around to different places around your venue to really get a variety of scenes.  We’ve even had first looks that take place at the reception venue and then we head to a second venue or the ceremony spot for even more photos.  Variety and a calm, laid back atmosphere for photos leads to some great wedding memories.

Charleston wedding first look by Ravenel bridge

Benefit #3 – You get real, unrestrained moments of seeing each other for the first time.   Some people are uncomfortable standing in front of large groups of people, so they tend to keep their first reaction more restrained.  With a first look, you have a private moment to hug and cry and talk, without having to worry that all your guests are watching and you get those real moments documented for memories.  

Check out this sweet couple’s Stone River first look.  What great, honest first reactions!

Stone river emotional first look

Benefit #4 – You get to enjoy some quiet, relaxed time with the person you’re going to married on your wedding day!  After the ceremony, everyone will be vying for your attention and there’s usually a tight schedule to keep so why not enjoy some time with just the two of you and get some great photos too.  After all the wedding day is really about the two of you so enjoy it!

First look portraits
First look bride and groom

Benefit #5 – Calm some of the pre-wedding jitters.  Our couples that have done the first look said they were much more relaxed before the start of the ceremony then they would have been without the first look- and we still get great “first time I saw her walk down the aisle” moments.  The first look just adds to those great memories!

State Museum First Look

Benefit #6 – Considering a sunset ceremony?  Since most of the bride and groom photos and family groups with a traditional wedding take place after the ceremony, take into consideration how much light would be available for photos after the sun goes down.  If you have a beautiful outdoor location and want the best photos, first look allows you to take the best photos to show the true beauty of your venue and when the sun dips down, it’s time to start the party!

Sunset Ceremony

The first look is just one option to consider for your weddings day.  Many couples prefer to keep the tradition of not seeing each other, and that’s totally fine too!  We understand that the first look is not right for everybody.  If you decide to wait until after the wedding to do your photos together, we have some other strategies to keep things moving efficiently such as taking photos of the bride and her bridesmaids/family and the groom and his groomsmen/family separately before the ceremony and getting a list of the family groups for after the ceremony so we know just who we’re looking for and can keep the photos running smoothly and efficiently.  And if you decide not to do a first look with your husband-to-be, you can still do one with your Dad instead.  That helps create a really special and unique moment for Dad and his relationship with you, and if you get emotional, it gives you time to have those emotions and can you both relax a little before your walk down the aisle together!

Here’s a sweet bride and Dad first look at the Farm at Ridgeway.


I hope this helps you take a look at whether or not the first look is right for you!  If you have any experiences you want to share about your first look, please feel free to add them in the comments!