Sharing a first look can add to your wedding experiencePro-Tip Series

First Looks are a great new tradition and can be an amazing part of your wedding day! If you aren’t sure about a First Look, let me explain why it could be a romantic addition to your wedding day celebration that will add to your wedding day experience and reduce stress as well!

First of all, let me just say that I have a deep love for “First Looks”. They’re AMAZING!! But, not everyone is aware of how awesome they are because they get caught up in how “un-traditional” it is, and they immediately write it off. 

I can talk about those brides because I was one. When Todd and I got married, I wanted a REACTION….I wanted him to be so surprised and overcome with joy when I walked down the aisle that he’d bawl at the first sight of me! Isn’t that EVERY girl’s dream? Who doesn’t want that reaction? But the reality is, Todd is not the type of guy to have a big reaction, especially in front of all of our guests. His emotions and reactions were kept inside his big ol’ heart. Had we done a “First Look”, I probably would have seen more of his emotions, and he could have verbalized his reaction to seeing me, because he wouldn’t be standing with the officiant and our wedding party waiting for the ceremony to begin.

After experiencing my own wedding and shooting others….I’ve come to this conclusion.  Most brides love “traditions”, but what she REALLY wants is for her groom to have a REACTION when he sees her for the first time. Brides that are not interested in a First Look usually think that seeing each other beforehand will cause the groom to lose some of that reaction. They also assume it won’t be as emotional, or as intimate, as it would be when they are coming down the aisle. Here is what I have noticed at every wedding. Wedding days can be a bit stressful for the bride and groom.  The whole day is focused on them. They need to look their best, they need to be on time, the groom has no idea what side his bout is supposed to go on, or how to even pin it on! The tension begins to grow…little by little.

Just before the ceremony the reality of what is about to happen starts to sink in and the calm, collected groom, that was hanging out with his buddies that morning, is now starting to feel a little anxious. He waits in a room somewhere for his cue from the coordinator. It seems like it’s taking FOREVER. Finally, the coordinator leans her head in and hurries the groom to get ready. With sweaty palms, he enters the ceremony and finds 80-300 people looking right at his face, because everyone has expectations and anticipation about his first reaction. This is the farthest thing from a private, intimate moment.

Grooms normally become incredibly nervous on wedding days, even if they seem cool and collected. For most grooms, the nerves kick in before they see their bride because when they see her, all of a sudden everything becomes VERY real!

When the nerves start creeping up, instead of keeping the groom in a secluded space until it’s time to enter the ceremony, imagine taking him to a private place…no people, no on-lookers, no distractions, and his beautiful bride, the love of his life, walks up to him and quietly calls his name. He turns around and finally gets his first look at his stunning bride! Not only does he get to see her…he can embrace her…cry with her….kiss her…and ENJOY that moment with her for as LONG as they want. She shows him her dress, twirls a few times, and then asks him what he thinks. His nerves start to diminish because she’s there with him, and she’s the only one that can make him feel calm.

Since they aren’t under the pressure of time, they can casually transition into their portraits. No one is around, the coordinator isn’t rushing the portraits, and there is no pressure. It’s just the two of them, and their photographer, capturing the excitement and the joy of their wedding day. This is their time to be TOGETHER and ALONE. When does that happen on a wedding day? Without a First Look….it doesn’t.

After their portraits are done, they meet up with their their bridal party, and still have plenty of time to spare. The bride touches up her makeup and the boys have some time to relax and hang out. After a few minutes, the bridal party portraits begin and they’re FUN. They’re FUN because there is time to make them FUN. There aren’t any guests waiting impatiently at the cocktail hour and there isn’t a DJ coming to find the photographer to get a time check.  It’s wonderful!

After portraits the girls and guys separate and prepare for the ceremony. The guests begin to arrive and the ushers are in place. Pretty soon it’s time for the processional music to begin and one by one, the bridesmaids make their way down to the front of the ceremony. As the groom clasps his hands…they aren’t clasped out of nervousness but excitement. The musics builds, the mother of the bride stands and all of the guests follow her lead. The groom looks up and here comes the BRIDE!!! His best friend, his companion, his sweetheart…..she’s stunning….ABSOLUTELY stunning.  The closer she gets, the bigger his smile.

Now let me be clear…my clients are not required to do a First Look…AT ALL. This is totally up to the bride and groom. But, I’ve seen the benefits of a first look over and over again so I am sharing this because I want the BEST for my couples!! It’s totally ok if couples choose not to share a first look!

Couples who opt for a First Look experience these benefits:

– You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography. With a first look you get 40% MORE portraits of the two of you…and those are the images you decorate your first home with! This is a huge investment for you so obviously your photography is a BIG deal. With a first look, you make the most out of this big investment and get the most for your money.

– You actually get intimate time on your wedding day with your man. Normally, most people think walking down the aisle is the BIGGEST, most emotional moment of the whole day because that is what the tradition is. But people don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally SHOCK him with your gorgeous-ness…he can’t even tell you how amazing you look…he can barely touch you or embrace you or even SPEAK to you. You have to wait until 40 minutes later, when the ceremony is over, for him to react and tell you how amazing you look. And after 40 minutes of gazing into each other’s eyes, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance.

– First Looks allow you to extend your wedding day. Normally the wedding day would start when you come down the aisle, then the ceremony would end, you would rush through portraits, so that you’re not late for the introductions, and then it’s reception time.  With a first look, your wedding day is extended by almost 3 hours! Instead of being rushed for your bridal party portraits…you actually get to enjoy them and have fun hanging out with your BEST friends on your wedding day. The WHOLE first half of our wedding album is filled with just images from this time together before the ceremony.

– First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day. Normally portraits are rushed after the family formals and it can be hard to really get back into that “lovey dovey” mode…. especially with family around! When you have just shared your first look, you’re READY to love on each other and I always capture some SWEET images during those moments!

– You get rid of the nerves. I’d say, literally 1/2 of my couples who have done a first look, the grooms were not fans of it at first. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve racking it can be. I have testimonials from grooms that initially weren’t a fan of the first look…but afterwards admitted to being SO much more relaxed and ready for the ceremony!

– If your wedding is in late fall, winter, and early spring, you will most likely run out of natural light for portraits after your ceremony. A First Look is a great solution for this issue!!

I could go on and on. I LOVE first looks and I love how much my couples appreciate them afterwards! It is definitely a HUGE decision, but I have never had a couple that wasn’t THRILLED that they decided to go for it! Now scroll on down and enjoy some of my fav first looks!

First look bride and groom
First look bride and groom
Criz and Shelby’s First Look was so sweet. He had the biggest smile!
First look bride and groom
First look bride and groom
First look bride and groom
Beth and Matt’s First Look had me teary. He was just in awe of her.
First look bride and groom
First look bride and groom
First look bride and groom
  1. Erica Camargo says:

    I think we’ll opt for this! 😍

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