What is a First Look and Why Do One?

what is a first look and why do a first look

What is a First Look? First Looks are AWESOME! However, not everyone’s aware of how awesome they are because they get caught up in how “non-traditional” it is. So they immediately write it off. Did you know that I was almost one of those brides?! In this post, I’m sharing what I believe every Bride wants, the truth about following tradition, the truth about doing a First Look, and benefits of doing a First Look.

Here’s the thing, I wanted a REACTION. I wanted Jimmy to be so surprised and overcome with joy when I walked down the aisle that he bawled at the first sight of me! Isn’t that EVERY girl’s dream? Who doesn’t want that reaction? Luckily, I was able to have the best of both worlds, because Jimmy and I decided to share an intimate “First Look” moment on our wedding day, AND we both still got the butterflies when I walked down the aisle. YESSS! Walking down the aisle on my wedding day was a moment that I’ll treasure for a lifetime!

What Every Bride Wants

Some brides love “traditions,” but I’ll go out on a limb and say that what a bride REALLY wants when it comes to her groom seeing her for the first time, is a REACTION. Those who aren’t interested in a First Look usually think that by seeing each other beforehand, they’ll lose part of that reaction. They also assume that it won’t be as emotional or as intimate as it would be if they were coming down the aisle. What I have found is so ironic! Oh, boy this is starting to sound like a research paper, ha!

The Truth About Tradition

Everyone knows that wedding days are a bit stressful for the bride and groom. The whole day is focused on them. They need to look their best, be on time, the groom has no idea what side the boutonniere is supposed to go on. Little-by-little, the tension grows.

It’s before the ceremony when the gravity of what’s about to happen starts to sink in, and the once calm, collected groom who was playing golf just a few short hours ago, is now starting to feel a little anxious. So what happens next?

The groom waits in a little room somewhere for his que 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 clammy hands, the groom enters the ceremony and what does he find? He finds anywhere from 80-300 people, and they’re all looking where? Right at his face. Everyone has expectations and anticipation about his first reaction.

This is the farthest thing from a private, intimate moment. Sure, it’s SO powerful and SO wonderful—I already said that walking down the aisle was one of the BEST PARTS of my WHOLE wedding day! It is magical! But because we did a First Look, Jimmy wasn’t a nervous wreck when I walked down the aisle, and the pressure was OFF. By the time our ceremony rolled around, he was ready to ENJOY our beautiful day! The nerves were gone, and when the nerves are gone, true emotions are free to be expressed.

The Truth About A First Look

So, if I were to condense what I just wrote, basically, 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, everything becomes VERY real! So, when the nerves start creeping up, instead of keeping the groom in a secluded space until his time to enter the ceremony, what if you took him to a private place with no people, on-lookers, or distractions and let you, his beautiful bride, the love of his life, quietly call his name and have him turn around to see you for the first time?

He’ll turn around and finally get his first look at his stunning bride. Not only would he get to see her, he could embrace her. Cry with her. Kiss her. ENJOY that moment with her for as LONG as they want. As she shows him her dress, twirls a few times, and then asks him what he thinks, his nerves start to diminish. After all, she’s the one who can make him most comfortable anyway. Because they aren’t on a time crunch, they casually move into their romantic portraits. No one’s around, the coordinator isn’t announcing “15 minutes left.” There’s 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 to be ALONE. When does that happen on a wedding day? Without a First Look…it doesn’t.

After their romantic portraits are done, they meet up with their best friends. Their bridal party joins them, and because they still have plenty of time to spare, the bride touches up a little makeup while the boys act like boys. After a few minutes the bridal party portraits begin and they are FUN. They’re FUN, because there’s 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 bridal party portraits are done, everyone separates and prepares 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 music 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, companion, sweetheart! She’s stunning…ABSOLUTELY stunning. The closer she gets, the bigger he smiles.

More Benefits of a First Look

40% more Portraits

You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography. With a First Look, you’ll likely receive 40% MORE portraits of the two of you, and those are the images you’ll decorate your first home with! (Believe me, our house is PACKED full of our portraits!) With a First Look, you make the most out of this large investment and get the most for your money.

Enjoy the Surprise Freely

You actually get to have intimate time on your wedding day with your man. Most brides don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally SHOCK him with your gorgeousness, he can’t even tell you how amazing you look. He can’t touch you, embrace you, or even SPEAK to you. You have to wait until the ceremony is over 30 minutes later for him to react and tell you how amazing you look. 30 minutes after the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance.

Extend Your Day by 3 Hours

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, and you would rush through portraits so that you aren’t late for the introductions. Shortly after, it’s reception time. Your wedding day is extended by almost 3 hours when you do a First Look! 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 your wedding albums could be filled with images just from this time together.

Your Only Alone Time

First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day. When Jimmy and I saw each other, not only was it intimate, it was our only time to be alone the whole day! Normally portraits are a little 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 are READY to love on each other.

Diminishes Nerves

You get rid of your nerves! However, because most couples have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve racking it can be.


Now let me put a disclaimer on here before we continue.  If I’m the best fit to be your photographer, you aren’t “required” to do a First Look by any means! I don’t want to push anything on anyone. However, I’ve seen the benefits of a First Look. So, I only share this because I want the BEST for my couples! It’s totally ok if couples choose not to share a first look! It’s just my preference to do one for many reasons!