F.A.Q. | The First Look?

“What is a first look?” is a question I get from many of our clients. I’m going to explain what it is and why it can be beneficial to you on your wedding day.


A “first look” is the moment when  the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony. Yes… you read that correctly… before the ceremony.

I had honestly never heard of a first look before I got married. I was the traditional bride. I did not want Jordan to see me until that big moment when I walked down the aisle.

My mind was made up.

After I met with my wedding photographer and discussed it with Jordan, I began to think differently. I wanted to see Jordan because I wanted that special time together.

We had a first look on our wedding day.

Let me tell you, I am SO glad I changed my mind.

Before I get started on the reasons why I think it’s important, please know that your wedding day is your day. I’m just here to tell you my personal and professional opinion, and will support whatever decision our brides and grooms make!:)

Here is our personal experience in choosing to go with a first look, and the benefits our clients get from choosing it as well.

1. I don’t believe in luck. I don’t believe that it is bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony. There, I said it. Of course I wanted to keep my dress a surprise for Jordan until the wedding day, but that was just for the sake of surprise. I believe that God blessed us with each other, that we chose to love each other, luck had nothing to do with it, and that Jordan seeing me in my dress before the ceremony had absolutely no effect on the type of marriage we have/will have.

2. Real emotions come out in beautiful photographs. The number one reason I hear that couples don’t choose a first look is that they are afraid that their ceremony will be less emotional or meaningful if they have already seen each other. Just because you’ve already seen each other doesn’t mean your ceremony will not be emotional. You are making a lifetime commitment to one another, vowing to love each other in front of God and your closest friends and family. How can that not be a meaningful moment? Nothing, not even seeing each other beforehand, can take that away. First looks just allow a private moment together.  I rarely get emotional in public, so to see Jordan for the first time privately (with the exception of our photographers in the distance) instead of in front of all our guests, really made our moment special. I wasn’t worried about anyone else but him. I could actually talk to him. Some of our most beautiful images, filled with genuine emotions, are taken during the first look.

3. Spend your day together. Couples who don’t see each other before the ceremony spend most of their day apart, taking photos or greeting guests, etc. Although we take as many photos as possible before the ceremony, we usually require at least an hour (preferably more) after the ceremony to take the remaining wedding party photos, family photos and couple photos.

Couples who choose to see each other beforehand take all of their photos before the ceremony and have nothing to do afterwards but relax and enjoy their reception! We allot a substantial amount of time before the ceremony to take photos, so we can take our time and not rush to get to a reception.

After Jordan and I saw each other, we both felt more relaxed and at ease. Just being together the entire day calmed my nerves. My memories of our wedding day are not filled with hurrying through photos and greeting guests to finally get some time together… my memories are filled with the time I spent with my groom.

4. Enjoy your reception. When all photos are taken before the ceremony, the couple is free to go and enjoy their reception. We might take a few sunset photos for about 15 minutes if time allows, but other than that, you are free to relax and  enjoy yourselves! This prevents chaos and rushing through photos so that family members, the wedding party-and more importantly- the bride and groom can get to their reception.


Most of our couples opt for a first look.


As you can probably tell, we are pro-“first look”. We strongly believe that it makes the day more enjoyable for the bride and groom, not just to ease the job of the photographer, More importantly, however, we are pro-“it’s all about what the bride and groom want”. Like I said before, it’s your day. We just want to educate everyone on the benefits of a first look. We will respect our clients’ decision, whatever it may be!  I just hope this answers some questions!:)


And just for funsies, here are some photos of our first look. This is me genuinely happy, excited and emotional. I LOVE these photos.

November 21, 2009



Photography: Eternal Reflections Photography by Alyson


In a few weeks (when life slows down a little) I will pick out some of my favorite first looks from our 2011-2012 couples and post them. As well as how a “first look” takes place.:)


If you have any questions about the “first look”, feel free to email me at amanda (at) littleyellowhousephotography (dot) com

May 9, 2012 - 8:06 pm

Scarlett - I completely agree with doing a first look! It makes the entire day run smoothly. I remember just trying to avoid running into Zach for the hour or two while we were both at the location before the first look and how stressful that was, I can’t imagine waiting the whole day. Plus its likely that several of your bridesmaids and groomsmen are all friends and seeing it other before allows everyone to get together and celebrate.

I too thought we’d wait till the ceremony and that’s all I had ever thought. However, if you’re like us and your reception and venue were at the same place, it makes it so much better logistically!

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