A “first look” is where the bride and groom see each other for the first time before the ceremony. Once the bride and groom are in their wedding attire, I will whisk them away to a secret, secluded spot for their first look. This can be done either on the wedding day or as a first look session by itself a few days beforehand.
The tradition of not seeing each other before the wedding comes from arranged marriages. The bride and groom didn’t even meet until they were saying their vows. Now, the choice is yours.
As a wedding photographer, I can tell you that first look sessions are the BEST! They are my favorite part of the wedding process! First looks create the most beautiful, candid photos. Plus they give the couple a chance to get those private, romantic moments together that are all too often missing from the wedding day.
I always liked the idea of my husband seeing me for the first time in a quiet, intimate setting. After doing a first look ourselves, I’m totally convinced that they’re the way to go. We did our first look session two days before our actual wedding day. The photos from our first look ended up being some of our favorite photos. Most of our framed “wedding” photos at our house are actually from our first look two days before!
My husband, AJ, was actually super nervous about the first look. He viewed it as more of a performance, which bothered both of us. We didn’t want to feel like we were putting on a show with our emotions or facial expressions. We decided we wanted to share that special moment between ourselves.
Our photographer placed AJ first, and then I walked up behind him. It was quiet as I placed my hand on his shoulder and turned him around to face me. I could hear his gasp, and he immediately pulled me into a kiss before holding me at arms length to get a better look at me. He had the perfect expression on his face. A giant grin! He finally saw all the details I had been prepping for months. My huge cascading bouquet, my beaded dress, my intricately pinned hair, everything.
We spent the rest of the session giggling and kissing before heading out to dinner with our bridesmaids and groomsmen. When we did meet on our wedding day, there were no cold feet. We were totally prepared and ready to do this! I felt a deep sense of peace, along with a weird mixture of calmness and excitement. AJ literally couldn’t keep the smile off of his face the entire day. What I remember most about our ceremony was his huge cheesy grin, or what I could see of it through my happy tears.
Embarrassing fact: I wore fake glue-on lashes for my wedding, and I actually cried so much during our ceremony that I cried my fake lashes off. They literally slid of my face- I had to reapply them afterwards. True story!
Here are some of my favorite photos of AJ and I! Can you tell which ones are from our wedding and which are from our first look session?
Taken by Casey McFarland
Trick question! Every single one of those photos is from our first look session.
What would you tell a couple who’s considering a first look?:
“Do it!!! The first look pictures are my favorite by far to remember and look at!” -Emily
“The pictures are really worth it. Savanah is amazing!” – Rachel
Did your first look affect the way you felt during your ceremony? Why or why not?:
“It did for sure because I knew how beautiful I really looked to my husband. And it gave us our little pocket of personal romance.” -Emily
“I was definitely happy I got to see him before the wedding since I hadn’t seen him all day.” – Rachel
Why did you want to do a first look?:
“First look pictures have always been the most genuine and romantic wedding day pictures I see and I wanted to capture that moment for my husband and I. Seeing how he reacted to me all ready to marry him was super emotional and wonderful. It helped me see myself from his eye and vice Versa.” – Emily
“The pictures”! – Rachel
If you would like to do a first look, I would love to be your photographer! We can do a first look photo session where we plan the perfect pictures a couple days before your wedding day. I even have a location guide to help you pick the perfect place! Or I can help you plan your wedding day timeline to include time for a first look. You can reach me at HERE to plan your first look session!
If you want to read more about photos you could take before your wedding, check out this post here.
How do you feel about a first look? Let me know in the comments down below what you think your favorite part of a first look session would be!
A stunning elopement on enchanted grounds.