First Look Wedding | The Ultimate Guide (2023)

July 27, 2022
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Before the ceremony, you and your partner exchange vows for the first time. White dress, intense emotions, happy tears — these are just a few things you can expect from a wedding first look. 

It often occurs before the ceremony because it’s said there is never a wrong time to share your first kiss. 

So how do you make the most of this moment? Believe it or not, it’s easier than you think! This guide will show you how to capture this extraordinary moment exactly how you want to remember it.

What Is A First Look At A Wedding?

A first look is when you and your partner get to see each other before the ceremony. It’s a bit of a tradition in some cultures and a beautiful way to spend time together before your ceremony.

Purposefully, First looks are becoming increasingly popular. If you remember one thing, it should be that a first look is not something you should do just because everyone else does. Do it because it feels right for you and your partner.

But what exactly is a first look? It can be as simple as walking into a room together, looking at each other, and crying tears of joy before leaving again. 

Or it can be more elaborate — maybe you want to take pictures together or share some words before the ceremony begins. It’s up to you!

What Happens In A Wedding First Look?

What happens after that moment when you see each other for the first time? Here’s what you can expect.

Most couples choose to do their first look during the ceremony preparation time. It is usually 45 minutes before the ceremony starts. It’s a great way to get photos done before it’s too late to see each other without being rushed or stressed out!

If you’re unfamiliar with your venue, getting lost or confused along the way is normal, but don’t worry — your photographer will guide you through it all! When they arrive at your location, they’ll give you some time alone together so that you can enjoy each other’s company before getting started with photos.

While there are several options available regarding where this takes place, it’s best if you can do it somewhere quiet so you can focus on each other and not be distracted by all of your guests gathering around you or trying to take photos at the same time.

The bride usually wears her dress during this time to have something beautiful to wear for photos. 

If she wants to change into something more comfortable after seeing her partner, that’s fine too! But if you want to keep it traditional, your dress is perfect for these photos!

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Do A First Look?

It’s a special moment, and you want to be able to share it with the people you love most. You will be able to enjoy your wedding day even more.

  1. It’s More Intimate

The first look is a moment in time that will never happen again. It’s a chance to take a step back and enjoy each other before the day’s chaos begins. 

It’s also a moment for you to share with your parents and bridal party, who may not have seen the bride in her wedding dress until this moment.

  1. You’ll Capture Better Photos.

When you combine two people’s emotions into one image, it makes for an even stronger photograph. It’s like having two people in one shot — but better! 

You’ll be able to see both people in their natural state, which will make your photos even more authentic than if you’d just had one person pose for the camera alone. 

You’ll also be able to capture their reactions simultaneously during this intimate moment, which will help tell your love story even more clearly through photography.

  1. It’s Easier On Everyone Involved

With two photographers present during your first look, you can capture every angle possible without stopping and asking someone else to get in position or move around. So you can get an unobstructed view of both parties involved in the ceremony.

  1. It Saves Time for Photos Later On In the Day

When you don’t do an official “first look,” you’ll need to take photos before the ceremony. That can be stressful because everyone is waiting on you, and there’s no time for mistakes or adjustments. 

With a first look, you can take all the photos beforehand so that once it comes time for your ceremony, all you have left is portraits!

  1. It Helps Eliminate Stress On Your Wedding Day!

As mentioned above, with an official first look, there’s no pressure to rush through photos or make any mistakes because they’ve already been done beforehand! This will help eliminate stress on your big day (which we all know is stressful enough as it is).

When Should You Do It?

You can set up a first look as possible. It can be done whenever the wedding party arrives at the venue, or I recommend setting it up before the bride comes.

The more time before the ceremony, the better. The best time is right after your hair and makeup have been completed, usually around 30-45 minutes to an hour before you walk down the aisle.

Where Should You Do It?

Choose somewhere that speaks to you as a couple and reflects who you are as people. If you love traveling, then why not do your first look at an airport or train station? 

If you’re an outdoorsy couple, maybe doing it on a hike or in a park will make sense. Perhaps you really like mason jars?

Think about what makes sense for your relationship, and choose somewhere that represents that well. Then let that guide your choice of location!

Top 6 Best Ideas to Plan Your First Look

  1. A Beach

The sand is soft, the breeze is fantastic, and you can walk into the ocean with your new spouse for a dramatic shot that will be instantly memorable for everyone who sees it. If you have kids, bring them along — they can play in the sand while you take photos.

  1. On Top of a Mountain or Hilltop with an Incredible View

This is perfect for a couple who wants something different from the traditional wedding photos being taken at the same old destinations year after year. (although, if you’re getting married in Hawaii or Colorado, you might want to pass on this one).

  1. The Ceremony Site

If you have a beautiful wedding venue that sits on its own, then there is no better place than to do your first look. It will give you some privacy from guests and give your photographer plenty of angles to shoot from as well as backgrounds such as trees or flowers that make for beautiful images!

  1. A Private Spot in Town or City Center

If you live near an urban area, there are plenty of spots where you can go for a private moment before heading back out into public view with family and friends! A rooftop bar or restaurant is always a great idea because they usually offer beautiful views of the city skyline or harbor!

  1. A Park

The park is a great place to plan your first look because it’s quiet, peaceful, fun, and exciting. 

There are many different types of parks to choose from too – parks with lakes, parks with playgrounds, etc. If you’re looking for somewhere that isn’t too busy, then the park is perfect!

  1. A Garden

Many people have their weddings in gardens nowadays! They provide beautiful settings for photos and ceremonies and are also great places for planning your first look at a wedding. 

Gardens are full of flowers which can make for some fantastic pictures! Plus, there’s something so romantic about being surrounded by nature when planning such a critical moment in your life together!

Pros and Cons of First Look at Wedding 


  • You won’t get caught up in the moment and forget about taking photos after the ceremony.
  • You won’t miss any time spent with family members during the cocktail/reception because you’ll be busy taking photos before it begins!
  • You’ll have more time for portraits outside (or inside!) to enjoy the scenery while taking pictures with professionals.
  • You’ll be able to see each other before the ceremony! This can help ease nerves before walking down the aisle and entering marriage as husband and wife.
  • You’ll also have time to get ready at separate locations, which means less stress on both of you leading up to the big day.


  • You will have less time to mentally and emotionally prepare before you see each other.
  • The whole day is ruined if something goes wrong with your first look.
  • You and your partner will have to get ready earlier. 
  • You will break tradition.

Bottom Line

I hope this post has given you some inspirational ideas for your first look at your wedding. As I mentioned, the first look is an experience that can be customized to fit your personality, and it’s one that you’ll remember for years to come! Congratulations on getting married, and I wish you a lifetime of love. Submit a contact form to inquire about your wedding!