Wedding Wednesday Discussion: First Look – Would You Do One?



Today I wanted to open up the blog to you and ask you a question; would you consider a first look on your wedding day?
If you don’t know what a first look is, it’s when a wedding couple decide to see each other prior to the actual wedding ceremony, kind of a big reveal but just the two of them (and your photographer). It has been popular in the US for quite some time now and I have seen the trend move across to us here in the UK and personally I love it.
But why break with tradition? What’s wrong with seeing your groom/bride for the first time at your wedding ceremony?

OK I’ll go through some of the benefits for you.

first look photography

(Photo by  Joielala Photographie)



Wedding day nerves are a BIG thing; the build-up to a wedding can be quite overwhelming for any couple. The ceremony can be stressful enough for couples, but mix in that ‘first time you see each other moment’ with all eyes on you, for some couples it can just add to the stress.
Doing a first look can take away some of those nerves and make the first time you see each other a much more personal and intimate moment, without the whole church or ceremony room looking at you. It means you can take time with each other and really appreciate the other alone, which means you can enjoy the ceremony in a much more relaxed manor.

First Look Photography

(Photo by Debs Ivelja )


Doing a first look means that you can get a lot of your couple shots done early, which means that your time will be freed up later to spend with your guests and enjoying the reception. So many couples feel that their day is spent having their photo taken which means that they sometimes minds out on key moments of the wedding. A first look will means you get to enjoy more of the big day you have spent so much time planning. It also means you can get your bridal party shots dozen early if you’re wedding party are close at hand.
Photos taken at a first look can also be incredibly tender and touching and will be moments that you will treasure forever.

first look photography

(Photo by Assassynation)


Winter Weddings

Winter weddings are great but a big problem with them is the lack of light. If you have a 2pm ceremony the light six going to be gone by 4pm which doesn’t leave much time for photos. Getting a first look in will mean your coupe shots and a majority of your group shots can be done while the light is good, leaving more time after the ceremony for any extra ones that the photographer needs to take of your guests.

first look photography

(Photo by Claire Penn)


More time at your own wedding

By doing a first look you are effectively giving yourself and extra hour or two at your own wedding. The day will start sooner for you, which means less time hanging around getting ready, you will spend more time with your new groom or bride and it will mean you get to spend more time with your guests later on at the reception enjoying the wedding.
It is also of great benefit if you are having a later wedding.

first look photography

(Photo by Shandi Wallace)


When it doesn’t work??

OK so this isn’t going to be for everyone! I get that for some people this is just breaking with tradition way to much!


If you’re having an early wedding

As much as this is a great idea, if you are having an early wedding ceremony then this might not be for you, unless you are an early bird. It will eat into your getting ready time, so a 12pm ceremony may be too early to get your hair and makeup done, do your first look and get to the ceremony venue.

first look photography

(Photo by Hilary Cam Photography)


So what are your thoughts? Do you think it’s a good idea? Would you consider doing a first look? Have you already done one?
I’d love to know what you think.




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    Jaye Cole | Tux & Tales Photography

    I love first looks. I think it makes that first special moment so much more personal and focused.

    Also, I love the idea of how a first look means that bridal photos are gotten out of the way so you can get on with partying the day away. More time to visit with guests… more ability to have a little tipple without being worried about going redfaced in your photos.

    I would love to see more couples embrace this idea. :)


    I think they’re a lovely idea but not for me- I want the first time my OH sees me (and the time and effort put into my outfit and hair etc!) to be seconds before we begin the ceremony and from the bottom of the aisle. We’re not doing anything very traditional in other ways but this is an element I want to keep.


    Great discussion Kelly.

    When Nick and I were wedding planning I did come across the idea of first looks and contemplated it for a short time. I have to say I didn’t find any blog post written as well as this, and actually, in retrospect, the part about getting bridal shots out of the way is a very valid point and that is the only thing that might have swayed me if I’d thought more about it.

    However, I absolutely loved seeing Nick for the first time when I walked into church. And no, I have zero recollection of hearing the music as I walked down the aisle, or seeing the decorations we had painstakingly chosen, but that is because I was just so incredibly happy to see him and for him to see me. Having my gorgeous bridesmaids, pageboys, flowergirl and my Dad walk with me down to Nick to see him for the first time was incredible and it is by far my favourite part of the wedding day.

    I guess if we had had a first look it would have given me more opportunity to take in everything at the church but there is no way I would swap the feeling I had at that moment for absolutely anything. Xx


    I’ve seen a couple of these now and the idea does keep popping in to my head! The first one I saw was a wedding by Claire Penn (above) and I love how she captured it and it made me think how amazing that moment would be! But then the other half of me is saying that I’ve dreamt of the moment I see my husband to be at the end of the aisle while I’m walking towards him. To be honest I’m torn! And depending on how nervous Simon is nearer the time, it’s still a maybe… So we will see! I do love the idea though, because after all the day is about you two so why not have that moment by yourselves. Hmmm :) xx


    We not only had a first look but also went to the ceremony together on the coach with our guests and saw the registra together.
    It took nothing away from the day for us in fact I believe it added something more to the day for us.
    If I had my way we’d also have walked down the aisle together at the start.

    I loved our first look. It was one of my favorite parts of the day.


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