Wedding Planning Tips, Weddings

May 3, 2017

Should You Do a First Look on Your Wedding Day?

wedding day first look

You may have been hearing about this wedding day first look. Is it something you should do on your special day?

First of all, if you’re a future bride or groom, I want you to know that above all your wedding day is exactly that: yours. Every minute of it tells your unique story. So if you truly don’t want to do a first look for personal reasons, I totally get it! You should never feel like you have to do one.

What I will say, however, is that you might want to take a little more time to think about it before making a decision. I pride myself on being very transparent with my couples. And that includes letting you know all of your options, even ones you haven’t considered yet.

Because I just want one thing for you: to have the happiest day as you start your future together! First look or no first look, I want you to enjoy every single moment. But I’ll be completely honest – sometimes doing a first look can make a big difference in the day! So if you’re on the fence, take a look at these six reasons to consider one.

1. You’ll spend more of your wedding day together. 

You’ve likely heard your wedding day is going to fly by. And it’s so true! Wouldn’t it be nice to spend more of that time together? When you do a first look, that’s exactly what happens. You don’t have to wait until later in the day – you start enjoying it much earlier! And I’ve never heard a couple say they wished they spent less time with their husband or wife on their wedding.

2. The first look moment lasts longer. 

Don’t get me wrong. Seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle is an incredible moment! But as soon as you get there, you won’t be able to talk to each other, hold hands or hug. In fact, you won’t get to do that until the end of the ceremony! And by that time, you’re quickly moving forward to keep the schedule on track.

When you do a first look without an audience, you can make this moment last as long as you want. Instead of stealing one quick glance before the ceremony starts, you can spend a few minutes just holding onto each other. He can tell you how beautiful you look. You can tell him how excited you are to marry him. And you don’t have any pressure of an audience!

Bonus: many couples say that a first look doesn’t take away from the emotion of walking down the aisle. Quite the opposite – instead, you essentially get TWO first looks. One as a private moment, and one with your loved ones. You can even wait to put on your veil until you walk down the aisle so you look a little different than the first time.

wedding day first look

3. You’ll get WAY more portraits of just the two of you.

When you do a first look, we can start shooting your portraits right away. You won’t feel rushed or like you’re missing out on anything because there is nothing else going on! There isn’t a cocktail hour, or excited guests waiting to see you. And as a result, couples tend to be more relaxed and in the moment! Not to mention we’ll have more time to shoot with different backgrounds and poses to give you more variety in your gallery. Meaning you’re getting the most out of your wedding photography!

Without a first look, it typically takes about an hour and a half to get through bridal party photos, family formals and newlywed portraits after the ceremony. By the end of it, many couples would rather get to the party instead of doing photos by themselves. Unfortunately this often means newlywed portraits are cut short – leaving you with less photos of just the two of you. And I’ll be honest, these are the ones you’ll want to frame! So making sure you have enough time to take them is always worth it.

wedding day first look

4. You can spend more time celebrating with your loved ones. 

When you complete all the formal photos before the ceremony, you can go straight to the party after saying “I do” – no waiting around required! You won’t have to worry about keeping your family members or bridal party in one location while we go through the list. (Which can be a real challenge when there are so many distractions and emotions happening simultaneously). Plus, you can actually enjoy those delicious cocktail hors d’oeuvres you picked out!

If you don’t do a first look, you have to be ok with missing some (or all) of the cocktail hour. For some couples, they don’t mind this at all. But if you know this would make you or your fiancé upset, you might find that a first look is a good option.

wedding day first look

5. You won’t have to worry about running out of sunlight. 

This is one of the more common dilemmas couples face, especially in the spring, fall and winter when the sun sets earlier in the day. If your ceremony doesn’t start until 4pm, but the sun sets at 6, you are running the risk of running out of light before we finish formal photos.

What does this mean? If any part of the day runs late, you might find that some of these photos are done without natural light. As much as I can use my flash, the aesthetic just isn’t the same. And while that’s perfectly fine for reception photos, you’ve likely envisioned your newlywed portraits done outside in natural light, with your beautiful venue behind you!

When you do a first look, you ensure that these photos are all done in natural light. In addition, you immediately get rid of the stress of hustling after the ceremony to get those photos done as quickly as possible! You also won’t have to worry about making it back in time for your reception grand entrance.

6. You eliminate timeline stress.

When a first look happens, you automatically get rid of a lot of wedding planning headaches. You no longer have to decide between formal photos and cocktail hour. You won’t have to feel rushed or on a tight schedule during newlywed portraits. And you won’t have to worry about losing the gorgeous light that makes your photos so beautiful.

Instead, you’ll be able to enjoy the entire day peacefully, knowing the most important photos were taken care of at the beginning, and the rest of the day is yours to celebrate.

Learn more about the Wedding Experience 


  1. […] intimate wedding party, which I loved. And of course, you already know I’m a big fan of first looks on a wedding day! Theirs was so […]

  2. […] with the experience. I have to keep everything else a secret because B can’t see it until our first look on the big day. But I can give you one hint: it’s from […]

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