Wedding Tip: The First Look

One of the biggest wedding trends that has spread like wild fire over the last decade or so has been none other than the First Look. I would even venture to say it has surpassed the title of trend and become somewhat of an alternative tradition. In case you have never cracked open a bridal magazine or have never downloaded Pinterest (but why, tho?), or if you are just a guy whose eyes glaze over when you hear wedding talk, I will briefly explain the concept of the First Look.

The First Look is a moment that is organized for the groom to privately see his bride for the first time; away from family, and without an “audience”. Most often your photographer and videographer will be present to capture this moment for you in lieu of the groom’s reaction when the bride walks down the aisle during the ceremony.


Why has the First Look become so popular? As wedding traditions adapt with our ever changing culture new things begin to “fit” better into weddings of the modern bride and groom. One of the primary reasons for choosing this option is the idea of the intimate moment of the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time and soaking in that second in time without the pressure of a sea of faces staring. This may be reason enough for some, but the benefits don’t stop there! Since the First Look is an event built into the wedding days agenda, it can take place anywhere where there is no people. This allows us to capture this precious moment in the most photogenic location available! *Happy dance!* This is a huge plus if your ceremony is taking place in a venue that you may have chosen for sentimental or religious reasons but may not have the best lighting or allow for flash.


Last but most definitely not least…when you do a First Look, we can move right on to the portraits immediately after! *Even happier dance!* In my lifetime of doing photography I have yet to have a couple regret being able to get their portraits done before the ceremony. This ensures that we have the best natural light for photos and the proper amount of time for photos! For some reason when ceremonies start late or run long, the first thing to get a time cut is portraits (which is baffling to me considering it’s your only visual memory of the day…but that’s another rant for another day). Other times because of the start time of the ceremony, we are racing against time to finish portraits before the sun goes down. The First Look eliminates so many variables that can negatively affect your portraits when they are set typically after the ceremony.
The last last plus is…after the ceremony you can mingle with your guests worry free! We can often see the sigh of relief in our bride and groom’s demeanor when the ceremony ends and they know they can now relax and have fun the rest of the evening.


Now is there a wrong way to do a first look? Well no, not really but I can give a few pointers to help you really nail it and make it a moment you will cherish forever.
  1. Try to choose a secluded area away from where wedding party may be getting ready or people setting up.
  2. Choose an area that photographs nicely and has some space. This will allow us to get killer photos of such a priceless moment and not have to intrude on y’all’s personal space to get the shot.
  3. Let your photographer direct you on which shoulder to tap to spin around the groom and which direction to have the groom turn. This is so we can be ready to get that split second reaction shot.
  4. Just take a minute to be with each other and soak it all in. Don’t feel like there are people waiting for you to finish, your photographer is there to capture what’s happening, not to rush you out of a priceless moment. Try your best to ignore us for a second!
  5. Lastly, make sure you build in at least 30 minutes into the timeline for your First Look. You may not need all that time, but it allows for buffer room to get the groom situated before his bride comes out. 

I hope these few pros and cons (but mostly all pros) will help you decide whether a first look is right for you and your wedding day. What do you think? Will you be incorporating this tradition into your day?

With Love,

Rachel Ann

All Photography courtesy of ©Rachel Ann

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