The First Look is an amazing part of the wedding day! It is when you and your soon-to-be spouse will get to see each other for the first time and you will get to have that moment captured in your portraits and video. It’s typically a private moment, away from guests and family, where you both can see each other for the first time. It’s different than the walk down the aisle, it’s a chance to see your lover, your best friend, your everything before the ceremony even begins.
First Look (n.) — a chance for you and your husband to see each other before your official wedding ceremony! It’s that magical moment when your soon-to-be husband first sets eyes on you, the beloved bride, and both your emotions come rushing out.
One of the very first questions I typically ask my brides is, “Are you going to have a First Look?” This structures the day, determines what pictures can be done before and after the ceremony, and determines my recommendations on time and 2nd shooters. However, when I ask this question there is never a right or wrong answer—you can do your big day however you want to do it! But it is important to know what you and your fiance are wanting in terms of seeing each other before the walk down the aisle.
The First Look for the wedding industry is thought of as a private moment between the bride and groom before the ceremony takes place. Typically what will happen is a secret location is selected that is away from your guests and your wedding party. You’ll want to talk with your photographers, videographers, and wedding day planner/coordinator to determine these details. After you and your groom are both dressed and ready, the groom will be directed to that secret location and positioned so that the photographers and videographers can clearly see his face; however, we’ll be working hard to ensure that he won’t be able to see you as you make your way to your groom. The second shooter will usually have their camera pointed at the you, the bride, so they can clearly see your face while your main photographer/videographer will be positioned on your groom.
Then the magic moment takes place! You will walk up to your groom who is facing in the opposite direction and tap him on the shoulder. You may also be asked to pause for pictures so that we can capture this exact moment. When your photographers let you know, the groom will then be asked to turn around and see you for the first time!! Awww.
This is a sweet and romantic moment that’s private and intimate for you and your groom. You’ll spend the majority of your wedding day surrounded by other people — getting ready with your bridesmaids, saying “I do” in front of all your guests, posing for lots of photos with your family and, of course, dancing the night away with your guests. The First Look session is the calm moment during what can feel a little bit of a chaotic day. It’s an opportunity to remind you both that when it comes down to it, it’s just the two of you, for as long as you both shall live.
The decision to have a First Look or not to have one needs to be one that you and your fiancé feel confident on. That first look, whether it be a special separate moment or the moment when you walk down that aisle, will take your breath away, and your heart will want to explode with the overwhelming wave of love that you’re both feeling for each other in that single moment of time. You may forget to breathe, or burst into tears, or simply be grinning from ear to ear; however you both react, this is one of the most intimate moments of your life together, so deciding if this moment will be before the ceremony, or as you walk down the aisle, has to be the right call for both of you.
Firstly, some couples choose to have a First Look because then you’re less likely to become an emotional mess when you walk down the aisle. If you know you or your fiancé are going to be blubbering all the way through the ceremony, then having a First Look can help to take some of the overwhelming emotion out of the important “I do” part of the day. You’ll also be more likely to calm any nerves that you have. There’s no doubt that your wedding day can be nerve-racking, especially if you don’t like standing up in front of a crowd or being the center of attention, so having a private First Look might make the wedding ceremony not seem as overwhelming.
A First Look is also common because the photographer and videographer will have more chances to capture photos and videos of you. By having a First Look, you’re adding more time with your memory keeping vendors to get those unique shots of just the two of you. This also means your photographer will have more time to get that perfect bridal portrait of you both. A First Look is a practical choice when it comes to photography especially. With most weddings, an aisle reveal will mean you’ll need to schedule more time between your ceremony and reception for bridal portrails which can keep your guests waiting.
And, like I said earlier—it’s your only private and intimate moment all day. Your wedding day can be a cluster of commotion. Getting ready bright and early, spending time with family, saying hello to every guest, doing everything with everyone watching. The First Look session is the calm moment when you and your soon-to-be husband can be alone, remember what you’re here for, and take a few breathes before being surrounded by people again.
To have a First Look or not to have a First Look? That is the big question. The First Look decision is something that will split most people into one side or another. You’ll either be blown away by the idea and be calling your wedding planner right now to make sure you include this in your wedding, or you’ll be wondering why on Earth you’d want to lose that moment when you first lock eyes coming down the aisle. After all, it goes against the superstition that it’s “bad luck” to see the bride before the ceremony. We recommend you talk with your fiancé, weigh the pros and cons, and come to a decision that works best for both of you. Remember—there’s no right or wrong way to do your big day!
For us, it’s quite a predicament. For our own wedding not too long ago, we chose not to do a First Look because it meant a lot to us to share the special First Look with our guests and family. We wanted to have everyone around while we saw each other for the first time that day. Plus, we’re both kind of suckers for traditional things.
However, as photographers and videographers we find ourselves guiding others into actually having a First Look before the ceremony. We love the moments that we are able to capture with photos and videos when we have those intimate First Look pre-ceremony sessions. We also love the flexibility that it adds to a wedding day timeline and schedule giving us more time before the ceremony for pictures and a more seamless connection from the ceremony and reception.
While our recommendation would be to have a First Look, please make this decision solely based on what you and your fiancé decide is best for the both of you.
Northern Indiana Photography & Videography provided by a husband and wife team
Your important Family milestones should be captured with photos and video!
husband and wife
Book with Us
Northern Indiana Wedding and Family Photography & Videography | Joyful, Authentic, Timeless | Trevor & Danyell, a Husband and Wife Team Based Full Time in Winamac, Indiana & Partially in Kansas | Helping you commemorate your life's important milestones with beautiful photo and video | Memories captured
Danyell helps busy moms and families learn how to document their every day lives using easy and consistent methods.
Read her blog