First Look Wedding Photos | What Every Bride Need to Know

First look wedding photos blog post featured image of bride and groom by White House Wedding Photography

First look, wedding photos have been around for quite some time now. However, as a bride planning your wedding, this may be very new to you. So what exactly are first look wedding photos, and what do they have to do with you? In this post, I will share with you everything I know about first look wedding photos. I will tell you why I love doing first look and why I believe you should consider doing a first look on your wedding day. 

Keep in mind that I’m a wedding photographer, and this information might be a tad bit bias 😜 ! Over the many years of photographing weddings across America, I do find that weddings that incorporate the first look tend to go a lot smoother. Nevertheless, regardless of your decision, my number one priority is to go above and beyond to ensure that all my couples’ wedding experience is nothing but the best. 

Let’s dive in, shall we?

What Are First Look Wedding Photos?

First look wedding photos are photos taken during the first look. The first look is a portion of private time set aside for the bride and groom to see each other before the wedding ceremony. Traditionally, the bride and groom would see each other for the first time as the bride walks down the aisle, and the groom is standing at the altar. 

On the other hand, the First Look is the modern way of seeing each other before the ceremony, and it is super romantic and beneficial for the couple getting married. Personally, I love photographing the first look, and I believe that once you see the benefits, you will love it too. 

My Thoughts on First Look

Some couples don’t realize how unique a First Look is. Perhaps that is because they get so couth up in thinking how untraditional it is that they just write it off. But I believe that what brides want more than tradition is a reaction. A bride wants her groom to be so surprised and overcome with joy as she walks down the aisle that he bawls like a baby the moment he sees her. And isn’t this every girl’s dream? Which bride wouldn’t want this?

I have photographed many First Look, and I’ve seen grooms become so emotional at the sight of seeing their bride that they breakdown and cry – these are everlasting memories. I can only assume that brides who are not interested in seeing each other before the ceremony usually think that they will miss their groom’s reaction by doing so. They also assume that it won’t be as intimate and emotional as walking down the aisle, but nothing could be further from the truth.

The world knows that the wedding day is stressful for the groom and bride. Why? Because they are the stars for the day, all the focus is on them. 

They have to be perfect, she has to be drop-dead gorgeous, and he has to be Mr. GQ, all while trying to figure out how to tie your bowtie and done your veil.

Hell, no wonder some couples say to hell with it and elope. By the time the groom emerges from his sequester for the ceremony, he is a ball of jitters and emotional tension. And you know what? The bride is no different.

Sure walking down the aisle and seeing your man for the first time is magical, but what if you could have an intimate private moment, just you and him, before walking down the aisle? 

🤔 Do you think that would remove the pressure? 

🤔 Would you have fewer jitters and be calmer? 

🤔 How much better do you think he will feel seeing you coming down the aisle? And I promise you, he or she will be just as emotional as they were during the first look or perhaps even more emotional.

Wedding First Look Pros

Here are some benefits of considering doing a first look on your wedding day:

  1. Acquire Calmness  – Doing the first look will undoubtedly eliminate the pre-ceremony jitters and set you up for enjoying your ceremony and being present. Most couples don’t realize how nerve-wracking the wedding day experience can be.
  2. Intimate time Alone – You get to see touch, kiss, and embrace each other before the ceremony. The first look is often the only time you will get to be with each other intimately on your wedding day. Think about it! Your wedding day will be filled with events in which you will both be the subjects. All eyes will be on you both. From ceremony to cocktail hour to the grand entrance, first dance, toast, and others, you both are at the pleasure of your families and guests. 
  3. More Opportunity For Beautiful and Authentic Pictures – First look allows you to get more photos of the two of you. Furthermore, the pictures taken during the first look reflect your genuine love and emotion as a couple. Because you are not under your guests’ watchful eyes and don’t have any requirements to adhere to, you can be yourself and be in the moment, which makes for beautiful photos.
  4. Timing – A first look can significantly improve your wedding day timeline. If your wedding is in the winter months and you want couples portraits in natural light, then the first look is a must if you are having an evening wedding. Here in Miami, sunsets during the winter generally occur between 4:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. If you are having a winter wedding and want to skip the first look, consider having your ceremony two to three hours before sunset. Doing so will give you ample time to get all the pictures you need. 
  5. More Time With Guests – Incorporating a first look into your wedding will give you more time to spend with your family and friends. Typically, right after the wedding ceremony, your guest will go to the cocktail hour to grab a bite and a drink as they catch up with each other. If you don’t do the first look, you will be doing family photos, wedding party photos, and couple’s photos during the cocktail hour. By the time you get done taking pictures, it will be time to freshen up for the grand entrance. Cocktail hour will already be over, and your guests will be seated and awaiting your entrance as Mr. and Mrs. for the first time!

Wedding First Look Cons

Here are some cons of doing a first look:

  1. Reduce Excitement – Doing the first look can reduce the excitement that builds in anticipation of seeing each other for the first time while walking down the aisle.
  2. Getting Ready Earlier – First look will require you to get ready earlier. If your wedding party photos are taken during the time allotted for the first look, your wedding party will have to get prepared sooner too. 
  3. Makeup Touchup – You will most likely need to have your makeup touchup before the ceremony.
  4. Can Be Tiring – Because the first look gives you more time for photography, it can be exhausting by the time you get to the reception. A good photographer will know how to pace things out so you don’t get tired and overwhelmed by taking photos. 

The bottom line is that no matter what anyone tells you, your wedding day experience is you and your partner’s choice. Get the emotion out of it and think about what is practical and give you the best experience. Remember, you only get to married once. At weddings, there are no do-overs! Ensure that you are doing what makes you happy and if you don’t want to do a First Look, then skip it. Traditional weddings are totally cool too! 

Work with your wedding planner and your photographer to make sure that you have a wedding day timeline that will accommodate enough time for first look wedding photos or traditional wedding photos. I want you to live in every moment of your wedding, don’t just relive it through your photos. Smell the sweetness of the flowers, taste the bubbles of the champagne on your tongue, see the tears in your father’s eyes, feel the heartbeat of your forever love, and laugh and dance like you, there will be no tomorrow. It is your day, and I want the best for you, regardless! 

Have questions? Let’s connect here.

If you like this post, you may also be interested in these other posts:

Wedding Vocabulary | An A to Z of Wedding Word Association

Why I Became a Wedding Photographer!

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