First look wedding photos have become very popular over the last few years and it’s rare that couples are on the fence about it. Some are incredibly open to the idea because they want to plan to organize their portraits earlier in the day. Some couples won’t even consider it because they want to save it for the ceremony aisle. It’s certainly not for every wedding, but there are a lot of advantages to planning a first look.

Groom waits for his bride during a first look at the Lyman Estate.

The groom awaits in anticipation during a first look moment at Lyman Estate.

  • It can take the pressure off of the couple.  Seeing each other all dressed up before the wedding is thrilling and incredibly emotional. There’s a lot of anticipation leading up to the ceremony, and setting up a first look can provide a release before standing up in front of 200 guests.  Some would say that it takes away from seeing each other in the aisle, but I would disagree and say that it adds another facet.
  • Speaking personally, when Ashley and I did our first look I cried… and when I saw her coming down the aisle I cried again. It allowed me to process my emotions a little bit more and it greatly improved the experience for me.
  • It frees up time after the ceremony. A lot of couples choose to have a first look because once we are finished with the couples’ reveal we can then jump right into wedding party portraits and family photos. This way we can knock out these formalities and allow everyone to hit up the cocktail hour.
  • It allows a few minutes of alone time. Despite the presence of photographers, a couple planning a first look will have a few minutes to themselves after the initial reveal. Before we begin portaits it’s important for the couple to just take it all in without all of their guests looking on.
bride walking down to the reveal of the first look

The bride walking towards her groom, who is waiting to see her for the first time.


I love the smile on the bride’s face as she approaches.


As he turns and sees his bride, the groom’s look says it all.


And now they have a bit of quiet time before the ceremony to take it all in and be together.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on your first look or why you chose not to have one.