Photography: First Look

When you’re ready to start planning your wedding day timeline, consider a First Look with your photographer.

The First Look. Also known as the “first glance” or even “first sight”, the first look is starting to gain in popularity. I still have to explain to many of my brides what this means but more and more brides are saying yes and doing away with tradition.

What happens during a first look is that we’ll stage it so that the photographer can capture the moment when the bride and groom first sees each other.  It’s very touching, romantic, and takes place way before the ceremony.

I know there are plenty of traditionalists who are completely against this: “Seeing each other before the wedding is bad luck.”  But where does the tradition even come from? Most people do not even know the reasons behind the traditions they follow. Maybe if you know the reasoning behind this tradition, you’ll feel more comfortable going against it.

The tradition stems from the days of arranged marriages. For fear of the groom running if his bride were “ugly”, the bride and groom were not to see each other until the bride walked all the way down the aisle. Obviously, most weddings are no longer arranged these days.

I think the advantages of doing a first look completely outweigh the disadvantages.  As my friend Chelsea Nicole likes to explain in her consultations, “nothing can take away the moment when you walk down the aisle and see each other for the first time”. So even if you decide to do a first look, it is still an overwhelming experience full of emotion as you walk down the aisle!

I honestly find that the couples who decide to do the “first look” are a lot more at ease for the few hours before the wedding ceremony.  They can spend quality time together before the wedding and do not have to miss out on the cocktail hour! And, they usually never regret that decision.

If bridal portraits are important, I suggest keeping an open mind and considering the first look. Your photographer will love the time to take your bridal portraits and you’ll thank your photographer once you see your photos!

Here’s a series of photos from one of my amazing photographer friends Chelsea Nicole.  I love the playfulness of these photos!

So did you do a first look? Why or why not?

Photos: Chelsea Nicole

Head over to Chelsea’s blog for her recent work. I promise you’ll love what you see.



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Originally published in December 2010

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  1. I completely regret not doing the first look. We were rushed with the one hour we had during cocktail hour and I didn’t get the shots I wanted. DO THE FIRST LOOK!

  2. I love the one of her doing the bunny ears behind his head. That is classic. That will be a nice surprise when they are looking at those wedding photos together 🙂

  3. Such a great article Juliet!! I can’t recommend first sights enough! Not only are they fantastic for photos and help the flow of the day go super smooth, but they are so incredibly romantic. It’s adds an extra super sweet moment to the day. 🙂

  4. At first I thought a first sighting felt like I was cheating. It felt a little like having dessert first. But when it was thee day, I was SO glad we made the decision. I was anxious all morning and 90% of it was because I did not have my partner with me! As soon as I saw him, the anxiety melted away and we just had fun. When I walked down the aisle, rather than feeling like an emotional wreck, I was just really happy. And we got to enjoy cocktail hour, bonus!

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