6 Reasons You Should Consider a First Look


May 7, 2020

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Today’s post is about the top 6 reasons you should consider a first look because they are a serious GAME CHANGER for your wedding day. Don’t get me wrong, you can still end up with amazing photos and a fantastic wedding if you are dead-set on waiting to see each other until the ceremony. Some of my all-time favorite weddings I’ve photographed haven’t had first looks. It can totally be done. BUT I would like to present you with my 6 reasons you should consider a first look because there are some serious pros to doing them!


You guys, speaking from experience it’s waaaay more intimate! This is one of the only moments on your wedding day that you’ll get to spend together, zero expectations. When Tate and I look back on our wedding day, the pockets of time that we got to spend together alone are what we think of first!

Non-First Look: Let’s be real here for a sec. Think about how different your reaction is going to be when you see your husband by yourself, vs with 200+ guests staring at you?

  • Can you tell him to spin around so you can check out how good his butt looks in that fitted suit? NOPE.
  • Can he embrace and kiss you after he picks his jaw up off the ground? NOPE.
  • AND you’ve gotta stand in front of all your guests and listen to an officiant talk without hearing a word because all you can think about is how you want to kiss each other.

First Look: Let me paint this picture for you. 10 minutes after you’ve stepped into your dress, you’re walking up to see your almost-husband. Your makeup and hair are fresh, and you’ve got butterflies in your stomach as you get ready to show your man the results of your months of planning. You walk up to him and tap him on the shoulder, he turns around, and absolute joy washes across his face.

  • Can you spin him around so that you can see how good his butt looks in his fitted suit? YUP.
  • Can he embrace and kiss you after he picks his jaw up off the ground? YUP.
  • Can you laugh and soak up this sweet moment with your best friend? YUP.


It’s more than likely that by now you’ve heard me say, “the way you feel when your photos are taken is the one you’re going to feel about them when they’re printed and framed.” This is because photos bring our memories to LIFE since they have the ability to take us back to a moment.

Now think about the pressure you’ll both be feeling (but especially the groom), when you wait to see each other until the ceremony. More than likely you’ll both have the pre-ceremony nerves, but for the groom these will be heightened as soon as he walks down the aisle and sees between 75 and 300 sets of eyes fixed on his face, watching to see his facial expression as his bride walks down the aisle. And I don’t blame the guests, because it’s a truly beautiful moment, BUT we can all admit that that is a ton of pressure to have on you.

The bride feels this pressure, but in a different way. After months of planning every detail– from choosing the perfect dress, to sitting through several hair and makeup trials– now is the moment when she gets to show her man the fruit of her labor. She wants to know what he’s thinking, what he’ll say, and if he’ll have to pick his jaw up off the ground. But with several hundred people watching, and a ceremony to get through, it’s not likely she’s going to get the same degree of affirmation she’s been dreaming of for the last few months.

Whether your angst is minimal or huge during your processional, keep in mind that you’re going to remember those feelings when you look at your photos later.


During wedding photography consults I always ask the question, “at the end of the day, what photos are most important for you to walk away with? What’s going to be your phone lock screen and printed on your wall?” And the answer is pretty much always the same: “the photos of us!”

With a first look, you get to increase the amount of couple’s portraits you’ll take by 40-50%. Which means more bang for your buck when it comes to your wedding photography investment! Here’s an example that shows the breakdown of bride + groom portraits for a first look and non-first look wedding day:

Non-First Look:
– Bride + Groom portraits (15-20 min), post-ceremony
– Bride + Groom sunset portraits (5-10 min); not guarantee

First Look:
– First Look (5 min)
– Pre-Ceremony Bride + Groom Portraits (20-30 min)
– Post-Ceremony Bride + Groom Portraits (10-15 min)
– Bride + Groom sunset portraits (10 min)

Check out the example below from our wedding! Here’s what our bride + groom portraits would have looked like if we hadn’t done a first look:



That’s a pretty beautiful spread, right? Imagine having twice as many photos of you + your sugar! That’s what we have, since we opted to do a first look. So, in addition to the photos above, our wedding gallery includes these beauties that we took prior to our ceremony:




A first look will also give you the flexibility to have different types of lighting in your final gallery! For example, if your first look is at 1p when the sun is overhead, then your post-ceremony portraits can be at golden hour when the lighting is more romantic.

Here are examples from three weddings that show how much variety you can get in your bride + groom portraits when you opt for a first look:




Oh, and did I mention that you’ll have more time for some fun, low key wedding party photos? Extra time to spend with your favorite people without the pressure of punching the clock to get to your reception!


Doing a first look allows you to knock out the majority of your formal portraits pre-ceremony. This is what my husband and I opted to do for our wedding, and the transition from our ceremony to reception was SEAMLESS and we didn’t lose any guests! By knocking out our family and wedding party photos before our ceremony, we didn’t have to worry about rushing to get those done so that we could hurry off to our reception. We had to do a room flip between our ceremony and reception, and we used that time to take some extra bride + groom portraits. I’d highly recommend because it was SO low key for us and our family!

Even if you opt to do your family formals post-ceremony, those typically take between 20 and 40 minutes (depending on the size of your family + the groupings you choose!). That’s still way less than the 90+ minutes you would spend trying to squeeze all of your photos between your ceremony and reception.


This might be my favorite of the 6 reasons you should consider a first look! If you opt to do a first look, you get to extend the length of your actual wedding celebration! More time to show off your dance moves and extra time to spend with your guests! Oh and little to no time constraints on your celebration!

In conclusion, these are my 6 reasons that you should consider a first look! That being said, your photographer will support whatever option you choose because at the end of the day, we want you to choose what’s best for you!

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