A first look is a quiet, private moment between you and your significant other where you see each other all dressed up in your wedding attire for the first time. Typically, it is in a location that is private and looks great for photos.


Be Able to Interact Together

Imagine the moment you walk down the aisle and see each other for the first time, all dressed up in your wedding best. It’s a moment you both have been anticipating, waiting months or even years for. If the first time you are seeing each other is at the end of the aisle, you are surrounded by your family and friends. All eyes are on you. The nerves are high. When you get to the end of the aisle, you don’t have a chance to talk or hug or interact with each other because you’re in the midst of your wedding ceremony. You don’t get a chance to really take in the moment.

Now imagine doing a first look. It’s private with just the two of you and your wedding photographers/videographers. It can be at a location with a pretty backdrop. You’re nervous but as soon as you see each other you get to interact and talk and take a moment just the two of you to appreciate that this is your wedding day. You feel a sense of relief at seeing each other, with checking in on how their day is going. When it’s time for the ceremony, you can appreciate it even more because you aren’t as nervous. You still cry upon seeing each other at the aisle because now it’s actually real. It’s still a special moment and the first look doesn’t take away from it.

Spend More of Your Day Together

If the first time you are seeing each other is at the end of the aisle, once the ceremony is over you go right into family photos, wedding party photos, a few quick photos of the two of you and then it’s time for your reception. You’re getting announced in, cutting the cake, having a few moments together to eat food but guests keep coming up and talking with you. Then you have a couple of minutes together for your first dance, but all eyes are on you and you are nervous about dancing, then you are going right into your father/daughter dance and mother/son dance. As soon as that’s over you get to dance a little but are soon pulled off to talk to more guests. The night becomes a blur of catching up with friends and family and trying to dance and celebrate. As you are leaving at the end of the night you realize that you’ve barely gotten to see each other.

If you do a first look earlier in the day, you can get a lot of the photos out of the way before your ceremony, like the wedding party, groom with groomsmen, bride with bridesmaids, the two of you, and sometimes even some of the family photos. Once the photos are done, there’s typically time built into your timeline where you can relax and refresh and hang out together before the ceremony. After the ceremony you have time to greet guests together, take a few family photos and then spend the rest of cocktail hour either just the two of you getting more photos or you guys could actually attend your cocktail hour if you wanted. At your reception, after all the formal dances and cake cutting you have already greeted most of your guests, so you guys are pulled away less from the fun. Overall you have gotten to spend the majority of your day together.

A Better Flow to Your Day + More Time to Enjoy Your Reception

Doing a first look is going to give you a better flow to your day. You will get most of your photos done earlier on and the stress of getting all of that out of the way will allow you to get to be in the moment enjoying the experience of your wedding day rather than pulled away constantly during the reception to grab photos you didn’t have time for because you only had an hour long cocktail hour. You’ve also had time after the ceremony to greet and talk with more of your guests, so you don’t get interrupted as much. The reception should be the fun part where you should be celebrating and enjoying it and not spending it cramming to get a photo with Great Aunt Theresa and your seven cousins because you didn’t have time to after the ceremony. Doing a first look can allow for you to get all the formal photos out of the way earlier so it’s just you enjoying the rest of the evening, celebrating.

Get a Wider Variety of Photos

Lastly, to get really creative unique photos you need to give your photographer time. Time to get the standard photos you would expect and then more time to get anything really unique, creative, or go to a variety of locations. Doing a first look and spending more time together earlier in the day will open up a ton of time to do that rather than maybe 15-20 minutes of you and your spouse after the ceremony and 10-15 minutes if you sneak away for a quick sunset session. That’s in total MAYBE 35 minutes or so of time for photos of just the two of you if you don’t do a first look. That’s really not a whole lot of time to get a wide variety or much more than your standard poses. If you didn’t do an engagement session with your wedding photographer, you also have to get used to how they pose you and how they prompt you into the really natural looking authentic images and that’s not a whole lot of time at all.

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When You Want to Stick to Tradition

I get it, sometimes you have a vision for your day that includes seeing each other for the first time at the end of the aisle because that’s traditionally what you’ve always envisioned. It can be really hard to change from what you’ve always wanted or what your family wants for you. It’s totally up to you and how you want your day to flow so ultimately do what makes sense to you but be realistic about what you can expect from your photographer if you don’t give them time. If this reason resonates with you, then consider adding in a day after session where you and your spouse get dressed back up and go take some epic photos on a day sometime after your wedding, especially if you want a wide variety of images to choose from!

When Your Timeline Doesn’t Allow for It

If you only have your venue, photographers +/or videographers for a limited amount of time on your wedding day, it’s easier to cut back on hours when you don’t include a first look and aren’t trying to get a lot of photos out of the way earlier in the day.

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Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how you want your day to flow and when you want to see each other. It’s your day and you should do it whatever way you want to.

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