Yeah Weddings
first look wedding

First Look Wedding Photos: Pros, Cons, and Ideas

Should you have a first look, or wait to see your bride or groom at the alter? Figure out your first look plans ahead of time to help you plan photographs, schedules, and more.

What is a First Look?

The “first look” is the first time the bride and groom see each other on their wedding day. Old school tradition usually says that the first time the happy couple should see each other is at the beginning of the ceremony, from down the aisle as the bride processes.

If you choose to do a modern first look, you’d get to see your soon-to-be spouse before the ceremony. First look wedding photoshoots take place shortly before the wedding, and typically include a photo of the exact moment when the couple sees each other.

First looks are a recent addition to a long line of wedding traditions. Instead of seeing each other at the altar, first looks give couples a chance to meet privately before their wedding ceremony. Usually, a photographer and videographer will also be at the first look in order to capture the couple meeting for the first time on the wedding day. 

Not sure whether you want to have a first look? When you’re planning your wedding day, consider the pros and cons to first look pictures. 

Pros for First Look Wedding Photos

romantic first look

Share an intimate moment with your partner

On a day filled with so much excitement and surrounded by loved ones, it can be easy to be swept away in the celebration. Remember that your wedding day is about you and your partner celebrating your love for each other! Because of this, first look photos are the perfect way to share a moment together in private before you both get caught up in the festivities. 

Calm wedding day jitters

On such a momentous day, it’s normal to be feeling a little anxious. Taking some time for yourself and your partner is one way to remain calm, cool, and collected before you walk down the aisle. Seeing your partner for a few minutes will reassure you, and you can both support each other. A first look is a great time for some peace and quiet for the bride and groom before they get ready to dance the night away! 

Attend more of your reception

Since you can take photos at your first look, you won’t need to spend as much time on pictures after the ceremony. Instead, you can arrive at your reception earlier and spend more time with your guests while celebrating your big day. Once your ceremony is over, you’re going to want to be celebrating with your spouse! With the pictures finished at the first look, you’ll be more relaxed and in the mood to head over to the reception.

Typically, the bride and groom miss cocktail hour because they’re taking wedding photos. Taking photos before the ceremony with your first look means that you can make it to cocktail hour! Since you paid for the whole event, including the cocktails and hors d’oeuvres served at the beginning of the reception, you should get to participate and enjoy!

More opportunity for photos

To receive a variety of photos, consider doing a photoshoot at your first look. No matter what your preferred wedding style photography is, talk to your photographer to see if you can incorporate it into your first look! Photojournalistic photography is an excellent choice to capture your emotions in the heat of the moment.

Although it may take more time, you can have your first look pictures at a nearby location. Besides getting more photos of you and your partner, you can also get pictures in different settings. If your venue is inside, this is a great opportunity to take photos outside! 

Cons against First Look Wedding Photos

wedding ceremony

You don’t get to save the first look for the ceremony

If you prefer to follow time-honored traditions, skip the first look. Although first looks are a growing wedding trend, you don’t need to incorporate it into your wedding if you feel it’s not a good fit for you.

While some couples feel that a first look is more intimate, other couples want to save this moment for the ceremony. Being surrounded by a crowd of loved ones, the gorgeous decor, and the splendid venue may feel more formal and elegant. If this is the right setting for you, then pass on first look photos and reserve the ceremony for the time to see your partner!

Timing can be tricky

Although you’ll be able to attend more of your reception, the flip side of this is that you’ll need to start your wedding day earlier. To have enough time for your first look wedding photos, everyone involved in the wedding party will need to start preparing early in the morning.

Another option is to schedule your wedding later in the afternoon. Whatever you choose, make sure to set ample time for your first look photos! You wouldn’t want to keep your guests waiting for the ceremony. Like your partner, they’re also anxious to see you all dressed up. 

You won’t be with family and friends

This doesn’t necessarily have to be a con when it comes to a wedding first look. It’s up to you whether you want your first look to be between you and your partner or if you want to have close family and friends with you. 

You might need to fix hair and makeup before the ceremony

First looks are an emotional time, and you might shed a few tears. Don’t be afraid to express your true emotions, but save enough time to freshen up before the ceremony begins. After all, there will be more photos during the ceremony, too. Besides a timing issue, you may need to ensure whoever is doing hair and makeup is still around after the first look photos to look your best for the wedding ceremony. 

First Look Wedding Photo Ideas

Interested in a wedding first look but aren’t sure what to do in the pictures? There’s a wide variety of creative ideas for the ideal first look. Most wedding photographers will be able to offer ideas and give direction as well. To emulate a wedding ceremony, you can stand with your back facing your partner. Once your partner reaches you and you turn around, it’s an opportunity for a beautiful picture! 

eyes covered first look

The bride and groom can also face each other blindfolded for the first look. Members of the wedding party, like the maid of honor, best man, bridal party, and groomsmen can also be involved in first looks by taking off the blindfolds. If you don’t think blindfolds will match the wedding dress or tuxedo, then have someone cover your eyes! 

While first looks often involve just the couple, if you would prefer to have a small group, invite your family and friends to participate. After the first look photos, you may want to take pictures of the entire wedding party. Make sure the bridal party is ready and the groomsmen are prepared for photos.

If you’re outside, you and your spouse can walk toward one another in an open field.

first look

If you’re inside, a long hallway or staircase can be great places for first look photos.

peek around door

You can also sneak up on your partner behind a pillar or tree! Do whatever makes you feel most comfortable and have fun with your photos. Ask your wedding photographer to help with ideas, or research online for inspiration!

So, Is a First Look for You?

If you prefer to see your partner in a more personal and private setting before the wedding, a first look is for you! If you’re unsure, talk it over with your friends and family as well as any other couples you may know who tried the first look. Many couples cherish their first look photos, but couples who opted out are just as happy with their decision.

If you’re interested in taking first look wedding photos, ask your photographer about them before you book. As you’re choosing a photographer, first look wedding photos might be one of your considerations. 

Making the first look a part of your wedding is a personal choice. While it gives you and your partner another extraordinary and special moment, some couples prefer to save this when they see each other at the wedding ceremony. Regardless of whether you choose to take a first look, you’ll still of plenty of wonderful memories of your wedding.

This page may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we'll earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.

Sophia Lo

Add comment