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5 Reasons to Consider a First Look

May 11, 2021

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First looks are becoming more and more popular at weddings. Traditionally, you won’t see each other until the moment you walk down the aisle, which is a beautiful moment and one that is important to a lot of couples! However, a private first look can be just as special, if not more. If you’re trying to figure out the timeline for your wedding or elopement day and wondering if a first look is the right way to go, here’s my top 5 reasons why I think every couple should absolutely do a private first look! 

partner one approaches partner two during first look in the woods in washington
partners seeing each other for the first time during their photographed first look. 3 images side by side.
partners embracing in the washington woods on the coast before elopement

First, let’s talk about the privacy and intimacy of that first look.

It’s the first time you’ll see each other in the dress or suit you’ve been hiding for months. There’s so much anticipation as you’re getting ready that seeing your person for the first time can lead to a lot of emotions for the two of you to share. As you get ready to celebrate your wedding with everyone that you love, it’s important to take those moments alone to remember that your wedding is all about you, and celebrating together. A first look is just one way that you can center your day and enjoy it with just each other. 

partner one approaches partner 2 in her wedding dress for first look
partners seeing each other for the first time during their first look before wedding.
partners embracing joyfully during their first look. 2 side by side images.

Second, a first look doesn’t have to just be the moment you see each other the first time!

Remember, your day is all about YOU, which means you can incorporate special and personal touches into that private moment, like sharing gifts or letters, praying together, etc. Many of my couples have chosen to do private vow readings during their first look, which is a really special touch, especially if you’ve written vows that are too personal to be read in front of everyone. (Browse my First Look Pinterest board for some unique inspiration!)

couple exchanges letters during their unique first look
couple reads handwritten letters during their first look, standing back to back.
partners see each other for the first time during their first look.

This next one is all about photography –

Of course, as your photographer I’m biased toward getting you the best photos possible of your day, but can you blame me? Capturing the first look allows me to photograph both of you together. When the first look happens during the ceremony, you won’t be in the photos together, which is totally fine! But those first look photos are so full of powerful emotion and can be some of the best to look back on years down the road, which is why I especially love photographing private first looks. 

partner one taps partner two on the shoulder under a beautiful fall colored tree for their first look.
partners seeing each other for the first time during their first look.

Fourth, a first look can ease those wedding day jitters!

I hear all the time from my couples how nervous they are as they get ready, and as soon as they see each other that first time it all just disappears. Nothing matters but that moment with your person, admiring how beautiful they look and breathing in all the joy of starting a new chapter together. There is NOTHING more romantic, seriously!

groom admires bride's dress at their elopement
couple holds hands at their mt. rainier cabin elopement

My last point is about how much time you’ll get to celebrate with your guests.

When you factor in a first look, often your photographer will be able to get a lot of photos of the two of you before the ceremony, as well as family and bridal party photos, and they won’t need to steal you away for quite as long after the ceremony is over. What does that mean? You can spend more time with the people you’ve invited to celebrate with you, instead of missing out on your own party! 

couple embraces during first look outside their cabin at mt. rainier

One last reminder – your first look can still be so, SO special during your ceremony. Mallori and Brian didn’t see each other until she walked down the aisle, but just LOOK at Brian’s reaction to seeing his bride for the first time!! No matter how you choose to do your first look/schedule your day, the most important thing is that it’s special for YOU. 

Now, these are just some of my reasons why I think first looks are the best and can be so special on your wedding day. But ultimately, consider what’s important to you as a couple – do you want that moment to be private, or do you want to invite everyone into it with you? How emotional of a moment will it be for the two of you, and as a result of that, should you give yourselves some private time to enjoy it? How might having a first look affect the timeline you’re hoping for? No matter what you choose, that moment should be right for YOU.

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