If you’re in the process of planning a wedding, chances are you’ve seen or heard about couples breaking tradition and choosing to do a “first look” — While it might seem like this is a new trend in weddings, I truly believe that this is simply the way weddings are evolving, and choosing to see each other before the ceremony just makes more sense sometimes! The tradition of not seeing your bride before the wedding is SO old and outdated. Do you guys even know where this tradition really comes from?? Back in the day when marriages were arranged, the groom was kept from seeing his bride before the wedding in case he saw her and decided to RUN! Pretty messed up, right?
Now I’m assuming your marriage is not an arranged one, so why not consider breaking this tradition?
I’m a wedding photographer, so this post might be a little biased — But that’s only because I want to capture your wedding day in the most beautiful way possible, and I want your photos to be everything you dreamed of and more! Oh, and I also am ALL about having a more relaxed and enjoyable wedding day experience! I want you to have the happiest wedding day possible, as well as the best wedding photos possible!
Let me clarify that I am not writing this with the intention of pressuring any of you into doing a first look! I would never push any bride or groom into doing something they don’t want to do. If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of seeing your partner before the wedding, that’s totally okay too! We will work it out. I simply want to help educate you and let you know about your options. If the things that I cover here are things that are important to you on your wedding day, a first look is definitely worth considering!
So let’s get into the reasons why I think you should seriously consider seeing your bride or groom before you say your vows:
1. Take the pressure off
Nerves. Everyone’s got them. Even the calmest people start to feel a little nervous when their ceremony is approaching! Couples usually mention feeling like “a weight has been lifted” after doing a first look. Instead of letting the anticipation build ALL day, you can kill those nerves by doing a first look earlier in the day. This is especially helpful if you or your partner is prone to feeling super nervous or anxious. The anticipation turns into pure joy and excitement once you lay eyes on each other, and it’s honestly magical to watch every single time!
You might be thinking about how you’ve dreamed of that “walking down the aisle” moment your whole life, and you are afraid that seeing each other before the wedding will make this moment less special. Please don’t think that! I’ve seen SO MANY emotional reactions from grooms in that moment, even after doing a first look — I promise you the magic is not lost just because he’s already seen you! I truly think that because you are no longer nervous and anxious, you can really allow yourselves to feel all the feels. If anything, now that he’s already seen you, he’s even more excited to marry you! Only now his nerves aren’t keeping him from really enjoying the moment. I have seen brides and grooms tear up during this moment, even after seeing each other earlier that day. That moment is still going to be magical and emotional, and it will still be an amazing memory that you’ll cherish forever. When you choose to do a first look, you get to feel this rush TWO times!
“The photographs Lainey took of my then future husband and I during our first look are some of our most cherished photographs from our wedding day. Lainey was able to capture candid moments of my husband and I calming one another’s nerves by simply seeing one another before our ceremony. She was also able to capture my husband’s reaction to seeing me in my wedding dress for the first time. I can’t recommend doing a first look enough!” — Erin Troxclair
2. Have some alone time
The first look is as intimate as it gets. You’ve spent months (maybe years) planning this day to be special for the both of you. Doesn’t the thought of sharing some time alone with the person you’re about to marry sound awesome? The day is going to FLY by like crazy! You’ll most likely be surrounded by lots of people at ALL times from morning ’til midnight. Before you know it your reception is over, and you’ve hardly spoken to your partner all day. If you think spending an intimate moment together on your wedding day sounds lovely, you would love a first look!
Doing a first look allows you to share that special moment of first seeing each other all dressed up between just the two of you. You can hug, kiss, laugh, talk, and really enjoy the moment without worrying about anyone watching! (except for us camera people, of course! haha) It’s such a special moment, and many of my past brides and grooms have said that this was their favorite part of the wedding day because of how intimate it was.
“I was definitely not a traditional bride, and I really wanted to save time at my wedding for more partying and less time taking pictures! So we decided to do a first look. When I look back on my wedding day, I am so happy we made that decision. I loved that we had a moment between just us two and no other eyes on us. It created such an intimate and fun moment between me and my husband without the distraction of others. I also loved that we got most of our photos done before the wedding so we had more time to mingle and actually enjoy our wedding. Plus we got some amazing photos from our first look!!” — Audra Daniel
3. Enjoy more of your day together
When you choose to do a first look, you don’t have to spend the majority of your wedding day hiding from your future spouse! This is the person you’re about to spend the rest of your life with. So why are you spending so much time hiding from them?! True story: I’ve helped hide a bride behind a sheet just to get her to a restroom, in order to keep her hidden from her groom. It’s really silly when you stop and think about it! Instead of spending most of your wedding day hiding from each other, you could be spending more time together with your family and friends, enjoying the fact that this is your wedding day and you’re surrounded by all of the people you love.
After your first look, we’ll be able to get some great photos of the two of you alone. We’ll also get to take photos with your bridal party and family members before it’s time for the ceremony. This leads me to my next reason —
“The day had finally arrived that I would be marrying the man of my dreams with our family and friends surrounding us with so much love. So many memories, laughs, and tears were shared that day, and so much anticipation led up to this moment when Jesse and I would first lay eyes on one another. I can’t help but remember counting down every minute until 4:00 PM arrived. It was time for our first look. We were both present at The Dansereau House meeting for the very first time hours before our wedding ceremony on a beautiful, white balcony that overlooked the grounds of the plantation. My heart was beating so fast as Lainey walked me out onto the balcony where Jesse anxiously awaited to turn around to first see his bride. In that moment, I immediately felt calm. It was a dream. We laid eyes on one another, both speechless, yet feeling so happy and blessed to be in this moment. We laughed, we cried, and shared words that we will never forget all while Lainey captured every single second of this unforgettable experience. Our first look will forever be cherished. It was officially the start of our journey together as husband and wife. We can’t thank Lainey enough for suggesting this opportunity, allowing us this time to share with each other, and documenting this moment perfectly. Hours later as I walked into the Cathedral making my way down the aisle towards my groom, we laid eyes on one another like it was the very first time. That moment was perfect. I’ll never forget it.” — Macie Pizzolato
4. More time to relax
Instead of spending an hour after your ceremony rushing through taking all of those must-have photos with your family and bridal party, you can head straight to your reception! You’ll actually have time to relax, have a drink, mingle, eat some of that delicious food you picked out, and enjoy your reception to the fullest. Doing a first look allows you to get all of those posed/formal photos done earlier in the day while you’re fresh, so you’ll have more free time after the ceremony! Trust me, your friends and family members will LOVE this too. It’s a win for everyone!
5. More photos!
Listen, I know that weddings are very expensive. I know that hiring a wedding photographer is a huge investment (and if I’m lucky enough to be your wedding photographer, I know that you really value your photos!) Doing a first look is the best way to get the most out of your investment. It’s as simple as that. You will get SO many more portraits of you and your partner together! I know that you are going to love and cherish all the photos taken on your wedding day, but the portraits of the two of you together are most likely what’s going to be framed and displayed in your home for the rest of your lives! These are the photos you’re going to show your future children and grandchildren someday. So being able to get more photos of you two together throughout the day will leave you with a variety of options when it comes to your wedding portraits.