What is a first look?

March 6, 2020

I got to marry a reeaaalllllyyy amazing man. Seriously, he is so fucking wonderful! And I loved our wedding! But there is something that we both regret about that day…we never even considered doing a first look.

We had a pretty ‘traditional’ wedding. We got married in a church. We didn’t see each other before the ceremony. We invited the guests that we wanted…and the guests that our parents wanted. You know, the typical go-with-the-grain wedding. Let me translate that for you in real terms…our wedding was a show that we put on for everyone else. We did it the way everyone thought that we should.

And we hardly spent any of it together.

A first look wasn’t something that was really a “thing” in 2011 when we got married, at least if it was we were not hip to it. I wasn’t a photographer yet and so I had no idea about the possibility of actually spending our day…wait for it…together!

So what is a first look? Here’s the short version that will totally turn you off: you and your spouse see each other before the wedding. 😳*GASP!*

Wait, you mean he/she won’t see me coming down the aisle for the first time? We won’t have this emotional, totally personal moment in front of all of our guests? If he doesn’t cry when I come down the aisle did we even get married? 😆 LOL!

Let me break this down for you. And I want to note that this is not being written as a photographer that wants more portrait time with you (of course I do, but…) this is coming from a BRIDE that wanted to spend more of her wedding day with her fucking awesome groom!

If you don’t do a first look…baby pandas will die. Lies. Obviously no one will die. Your day will be amazing. You will have time for wedding photos. Everything will be OK! But here’s what your day will likely feel like:

You spend most of the day getting ready, separately. You finally see each other when you walk down the aisle! The you stand there. In front of everyone. Your officiant starts talking, welcoming guests, telling stories about you, angels are singing, you can’t believe that you are getting married to your kick ass person…and you have to just stand there. You don’t get to run up and hug them and gush over how amazing you look or how excited you are…you don’t get to say much of anything. Womp womp.

All of that build up leads to a brief moment that you share in front of an audience. A brief moment that you don’t get to savor and embrace. And then it’s gone. Cut to your ceremony ending, the moment has passed, and now you rush into family photos and spend your cocktail hour trying to fit in family photos, bridal party photos and all of your couples portraits while your guests are eating all of your bacon-wrapped scallops and hitting the bar without you. You get introduced in, spend the reception trying to see all of your guests and dance with everyone and then, in the blink of an eye, your wedding is over. You and your spouse, the people this day should be about, hardly spent any time together. Man, I am a serious buzz kill.

It doesn’t have to feel like that.

Let me tell you what your day would feel like if you chose to do it a little differently. You spend the morning with your tribe getting ready. Then, in a quiet, private space, you and your soon to be spouse get to share this intimate moment where you see each other before your ceremony.

First look during a wedding at Derryfield Country Club

You get to share your emotions about your day with each other, without everyone staring at you. It is just about the two of you.

First look during a wedding at Derryfield Country Club
Groom sees bride for the first time during a first look at their wedding at Derryfield Country Club
Groom sees bride for the first time during a first look at their wedding at Derryfield Country Club

You can spend as long as you want to talking about how awesome you both look, laughing, crying, hugging, kissing, just being together.

Groom sees bride for the first time during a first look at their wedding at Derryfield Country Club
Groom sees bride for the first time during a first look at their wedding at Derryfield Country Club
Bride and groom playing at their Derryfield Country Club wedding

And then you get to have all of your bridal party photos and your couples portraits DONE. Before the wedding. There is no rush, you can relax and enjoy your photo time, and have more time for creative photos. There is no pressure to fit it all in during your cocktail hour. Then you can hang out together in the bridal suite as your guests arrive. You get to spend 15-20 minutes after your ceremony on family photos and then you get to relax and enjoy most of your cocktail hour! You can spend it together with your guests or you can hide out in the bridal suite and get a break together. Are you noticing a trend here?

Listen, whatever you decide to do your wedding will be amazing! And a lot of couples dismiss the idea of a first look saying “oh. no, we don’t want to see each other before the wedding.” I just want to make sure you realize that choosing to wait to see him or her means you get to see them a lot less on a day that feels better when you spend it together.

Bride and groom Derryfield Country Club wedding

I am always so honored when I get to be a part of a wedding day team! If you are looking for a light, natural, fun and candid wedding photographer to spend your day with you then I would LOVE to chat!  Contact me here!!

  1. Auntie Deb says:

    Love this idea. In this day and age why not flip things around. Hell have breakfast together and a morning cocktail. Then get ready and meet up again for the first look in your gear. Save the Groom from passing out at the alter when he sees your gorgeousness! Have another cocktail and so on….photos with your gang. Then on to the main event. Then dance down the aisle to the party….with all the people you love and even those you don’t. Love you.

  2. […] waiting until you see each other down the aisle, then I strongly encourage you to check out this blog post about our biggest regret from our own wedding […]

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  13. […] Once the couple was dressed and ready they shared a sweet, private first look on the beach! As soon as Derek saw her he gave her a huge hug! Then he may have tried to immediately carry her away to their honeymoon right then and there! This is why I love a first look, that just doesn’t happen if you wait until you get down the aisle to see each other! And if you need more convincing if a first look is right for you then check this out! […]


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