Considerations, Tips, and Trends for Wedding Day First Looks (from a Wedding Photographer)

I want to start out this post with the most important thing about First Looks on your wedding day: the only opinions on this that matter are YOU and YOUR PARTNER’S. Ignore trends, ignore suggestions about your timeline, ignore what is most convenient for other people. If you WANT a first look, I’m going to talk about some considerations, recent trends, and tips I have for you. If you DO NOT WANT a first look before your ceremony because you want to see each other for the first time at your ceremony, then ignore all that follows because that’s the only thing that matters!

Considerations When Deciding Whether or Not to Have a First Look
Again, if you’re positive you don’t want one, none of this matters. And if you’re positive you DO want a first look, then these considerations don’t matter either. BUT if you aren’t sure whether or not you want to do a first look (with anyone – not just the person you’re marrying), here are some considerations.

-Do you have a long list of family photo combinations? (If you do, and they all need to be done between the ceremony and the reception because you’re not doing a First Look, that means you’re going to be away from the majority of your guests for a longer time)
-Do you have a large wedding party and want a lot of wedding party photos? (If so, it’s the same consideration as above)
-Do you want to have a lot of time for portraits of you and your spouse in an intimate setting, i.e. not around your whole wedding party, family, etc.? (If so, it’s the same consideration as above)
-Is there travel time to be accounted for between your ceremony and reception? (If so, that might be a great time to work in photos we couldn’t take before the ceremony if you don’t want a First Look)

Tips for First Looks

-Have a CLEAR plan. Make sure you and the other half of your First Look know exactly what to expect – is this a First Look or a First Touch? Where will you meet? How will you/they know when to turn around or say something or do something? Are either of you bringing anything to this moment?
-Whether or not you’re doing a first look, make sure EVERYONE is on the same page! Make sure your wedding party, your photographer, your planner/coordinator, your family all know your plans for when you are going to see any person you’re doing a First Look with.
-Let your photographer/videographer know whose perspective you want to be the focus (if you only have one person covering the moment). So if you have one photographer and/or videographer, make sure they know whether to be behind you or the other person so they can focus on the right person’s reaction.
-If you are working with a photographer who offers the option of a second photographer for some/any/all of your coverage, consider adding that second photographer during your First Look so that you can capture both perspectives. These are always some of my favorite photos when I can flip back and forth between their faces.
-Consider picking a location for your First Look that allows your photographer to be in a spot that allows them to quickly rotate between perspectives if you’re only having one photographer.

Trends for First Looks

First of all, trends are trends. If you love one, go for it! If you aren’t into one, skip it! But here are some of the current First Look trends that are going on, so you can decide whether or not they’re your jam or not!

First Looks with Someone Other Than the Spouse: First Looks with attendants, parents, grandparents, and siblings are all things I’ve seen in the last year or two, and I’m here for it! If you have a special relationship with someone and you want *that* memory with them on your wedding day, a First Look is a great way to honor that relationship so you can have an intimate, special moment together.
First Touches/Vows In Lieu of First Looks: If you want to do something special with your partner before you see each other ‘officially’ at your ceremony, First Touches are a great option! We can find the perfect corner or doorway so that you can hold hands or link arms or even kiss blindfolded (!) while you say hello or I love you, or even exchange private vows before going before your friends and family to exchange your official vows.
First Looks Down the Aisle: If you want to see your soon-to-be spouse before the ceremony but you want to have the feel of the “Wedding Ceremony Aisle First Look,” this is a great option. As long as it’s planned into the timeline, we can make a First Look happen with one of you at the altar and one of you walking down whatever your ‘aisle’ looks like. It simulates the moment of walking down the aisle but allows you to have this moment in private.


Okay, so the point is that the most important factor in your decision is whether or not YOU and YOUR PARTNER want to do a first look. If you don’t, and you don’t want to do any other first look – like with siblings or attendants – then that’s all that matters; don’t do a First Look. If you’re considering it or you’re set on doing it, there were some considerations, tips, and trends for your First Look. Happy Wedding Planning!

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