A First Look

Bride walking down the steps to see the groom for the first time

When Vitaliy and I got married almost 6 years ago, we had never heard of a First Look and opted to go with tradition and not see each other before the ceremony. The funny thing about this tradition – it actually started with arranged marriages. Typically more of a business transaction, parents didn’t allow the groom to see the bride before the ceremony so that he couldn’t back out of the agreement in case he didn’t like what he saw. This is also where the tradition for the veil came into play which was meant to hide the bride’s face.

If only we knew then what we know now! Though it is each couple’s personal preference, here are five reasons we recommend a First Look to our clients based on our own wedding day experience.

1. Privacy.  

During our ceremony, Vitaliy didn’t know how to respond when I was walking down the aisle. Knowing everyone was watching him made him feel like he didn’t get to naturally respond to seeing me. A First Look gives the bride and groom the privacy to react naturally to seeing each other for the first time without everyone’s expectations weighing on them.

2. Calming nerves.

I was EXTREMELY nervous on my wedding day. I was marrying the man who was best at calming me down and yet I couldn’t see him. A First Look gives the opportunity to calm nerves and allows the bride and groom to face the day together.

3. Safety in the timeline.

Now that we’ve been photographing weddings for 4 years, we know there are any number of things that can occur on a wedding day to affect the timeline. We recommend a First Look so that couples can have their photos taken without rushing, as it’s the first item of the day. And in case the weather ends up going bad, you can rest assured you were able to get all of your photos taken ahead of time.

4. Time with family and friends.

Typically, if a couple decides not to opt for a First Look the photos are taken during cocktail hour which means you end up missing that fun time with friends and family who may be visiting from out of town. We ended up missing cocktail hour and a portion of our reception in order to take photos which was obviously less than ideal.

5. Time alone.

The number one reason we recommend a First Look is simply to give our couples time alone on the wedding day. Once that ceremony starts, you will feel the day is over in the blink of an eye. A First Look gives our couples time alone to reflect on what a monumental day they’re about to have together.