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6 pros to having a first look (+ why I always recommend them!)

what is a first look?

First looks are an intimate private moment between you and your fiancé before your ceremony. Luckily you’re getting married in an age where it’s no longer considered bad luck for the wedding couple to see each other before walking down the aisle, so a first look is definitely on the table! If you’re on the fence wondering if a first look is for you, here are a few benefits of having one: 

1. You can actually spend your wedding with the person you’re marrying (this point is a MUST read)

Guys, I can not overstate this one. Unless you have already been married before, there’s simply no way to fully comprehend the wedding day experience until you’ve lived it yourself. Even if you’ve been a bridesmaid or a groomsmen, you’ve only felt a small fraction of the wedding whirlwind. I’ve heard it from newlyweds time and time again – and after years of shooting weddings, I can fully confirm – that your wedding day FLIES BY.

From the second you wake up, to the moment your reception ends, it is non-stop. Non-stop thoughts in your brain, tasks to be done, pictures to take, people to see – if you don’t carve out dedicated time to spend with your fiancé, there’s a very good chance the only time you get to even talk to each other on your wedding day is when you’re exchanging vows during your ceremony and in-between bites at the beginning of dinner before speeches start. I don’t say this to overwhelm, I say this to encourage you to be intentional about your wedding day timeline and give space for the experiences you want to have.

A first look is a great way to carve our intentional time with your soon-to-be spouse. Private time alone on a wedding day is truly vare rare (which makes first looks extra special!) but couples who choose to do them gain 2-4 more hours with their fiancé.

2. Ease any pre-wedding emotions

All talk of cold feet aside, preparing for a wedding day can bring a lot for your mind to juggle. Sometimes you just want to be with your person, the one who knows exactly what to say to feel balanced again. So if butterflies have been mounting in your stomach all morning while you’ve been apart getting ready, a first look is great time to relax and feel reassured together.

Important note: Even with a first look, you’ll STILL experience feel the impact of that epic first moment at the aisle. I’ve seen plenty of couple still fight back tears during their ceremony after spending the morning with their partner! For some, calming their pre-wedding nerves with a first look actually allows them to be more in the moment when it comes time to walk down the aisle.

3. A great opportunity for private gifts + vows

Many couples give each other special gifts on their wedding day. Sometimes these are delivered to wherever the other is getting ready, but first looks offer an opportunity to exchange these things in person. The same goes for vows as well! I’ve often seen couples exchange traditional vows in front of their friends and family during their ceremony, and opt to share more personalized remarks they have written to each other together. 

4. Gain space to capture all of your beautiful reception details

More often than not, your reception space won’t be fully set up and ready to photograph until your ceremony begins. First looks often enable many of the traditionally post-ceremony photos to be taken earlier in the day, and free up space to be more present after tying the knot! Less scheduled post-ceremony photos allows more time for your photographer to sneak away during cocktail hour and thoughtfully capture all of those special reception details you worked so hard on curating.

5. Ease the stress of family/group photos

Much like #4, first looks can free up some post-ceremony photo time to enable more time and less rush for important captures, like family and group photos!

6. You’ll be able to attend and enjoy cocktail hour with all of your loved ones

Traditionally, the bulk of wedding photos with the wedding couple happen during cocktail hour. (ie. combined wedding party photos, newlywed photos, sometimes separate bridesmaids and groomsmen groups). Opting to see each other before the ceremony gives the option to tackle some, or all, of these shots in the morning so you can attend your cocktail party, enjoy some of the delicious hors d’oeuvres you selected, and mingle with your guests!


First looks are highly encouraged for evening ceremonies and winter weddings to ensure enough time to capture couple portraits in daylight before the sun sets!

– The Big Takeaway –

First looks are personal choice and should align with your unique wedding day goals. That said, I always recommend a first look because I truly believe it provides a better day-of-experience for my couples. Chat with your photographer to figure out the best decision for you!

Considering a first look?
Save + pin this to reference later! 📌👇

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