Three Reasons to Consider a First Look on Your Wedding Day

As you’re researching different wedding day traditions and especially wedding photography ideas, you’ve probably come across couples doing first look photos before their ceremony starts. A decade or so ago, it would have been pretty much unheard of for the couple to see each other before the bride takes her first step down the aisle, but now, it’s actually very common.

There’s a lot of great reasons to consider going with a first look on your wedding day, but I’m going to outline the top three reasons I think it can be a smart idea, from a wedding photographer’s point of view.


A majority of couples choose to do their posed portraits and family portraits between the ceremony and the reception. This generally works just fine, but it can get a little rushed, especially after you account for the time spent in the receiving line after the ceremony, traveling to the photo location(s), bustling the dress, and touching up hair and makeup. Some couples choose to take their portraits before the ceremony to make sure they have a little bit of a time cushion before the reception starts.

Trust me, the pictures will end up looking even more spectacular when you’re not feeling rushed or stressed about the time. When you’re worrying about whether your guests are getting impatient or whether or not you’ll be able to fit in all of the different family portraits you wanted, you won’t be able to be fully present in the moment and your photos will reflect that.


Guests love to watch for the groom’s reaction when the bride makes her grand entrance during the ceremony. It’s totally understandable, but for some grooms, this kind of attention and pressure to react “correctly” is really terrifying. If he’s a little shy or just feels uncomfortable about this aspect of the wedding day, a first look can be a huge help.

When you have the opportunity to come together and celebrate one final private moment before saying your vows, the ceremony will feel more relaxed, and I guarantee, you’ll both remember more of it. Nerves have a way of stealing the moment, and the first look is a simple way you can take more control of your day.


Wedding photographers are pretty amazing (if I may say so myself) but we do our best work when we’re not rushed for time. Some of the most beautiful moments I’ve captured for couples happened during their first look. This is because when you wait until after the ceremony to take photos, you’re going to have a crowd watching, no matter how stealthy you are!

Also, if you wait until the ceremony to try to get that reaction shot, you’re really only going to get one or the other. Even if your photographer has a second shooter, the best you’re going to get is two separate photos; one of the bride’s reaction and one of the groom’s. A first look solves this problem. Whether the bride sneaks up on the groom, or you turn around to face each other at the same time, the photographer can very easily it up so both of your genuine reactions are in the same shot. This photo ends up telling a more complete story, in my opinion.

Ultimately, deciding whether to include a first look in your wedding day plans is entirely up to you. Many couples have to weigh pros and cons, and you will want to have an honest conversation with your fiance to find out how they feel. Talk to your wedding photographer and ask about their experience doing first look photos, and ask to see some of the photos they’ve shot.

It can be easy to get swept up in all the wedding day advice out there and feel pressured to do things one way or the other. Remember that it’s YOUR big day and no matter what you decide, the only thing that matters is that you feel 100% confident and comfortable!

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