This is a question a lot of bride and grooms have when planning their wedding. Some know the answer immediately and some need to think about it awhile.

For those that don’t know, a “first look” is when the bride and groom set up a time before the ceremony to see each other alone. The photographer is often there is capture this priceless moment for the couple.

This is your wedding, and if there is a certain way that feels “right,” that is probably what you should go with, but I will share some of my thoughts on this from a timeline and photography point of view.


Why you may want to break with tradition and have a first look:

After having decided against a first look myself, I do sometimes regret not having those photos of those first (and really only) moments alone together with my husband. I don’t honestly feel that seeing each other before the ceremony would have made the walk down the aisle any less memorable or special. Even if we would have done a first look, we still would have had that “big reveal” moment where I came down the aisle. And there is something so much more intimate about the first look.

As a photographer, when I capture the first look, I use a large zoom lens. What does this mean for you? I am far enough away that it feels like you are alone, which, let’s be honest, is probably the closest thing that you are going to get to privacy during the wedding day. Honestly, Tyler and I  had zero time alone on our wedding day. The first look sets aside that time for a couple to make sure they get time together without distractions. During first looks with my couples, I will usually capture the moment, then step away for a few minutes so the couple is truly alone to enjoy the moment.The moment you first see each other during the ceremony is special in it’s own right, but having those intimate images of just the two of you alone is truly something to treasure,

Another reason to see each other before the ceremony: it completely changes the flow  and timeline of your wedding day. If you choose to see each other first, you can do all your formal photos beforehand. This means no lining up bridesmaids and grandmas for an hour or more after the ceremony- you get to just go enjoy. Some couples still choose to do family formals after, but can do bridal party portraits beforehand since the bride and groom have seen each other anyway. Some couples still wait for all formal photos, but use this as a time to just capture their own photos together.

This leads to an AMAZING impact on your timeline as well. You are able to have your ceremony quite a bit later in the afternoon because you will only need 30 minutes or less of family formal portrait time after the ceremony. This is especially awesome if you are having an outdoor ceremony because the delayed ceremony time will allow you to have the ceremony at a time of day where you will not be in harsh sunlight.

Most of my couples who have done a first look just seem, in general, far more relaxed and less rushed during their wedding day. They are less nervous before the ceremony  than some of my other couples. There is less rushing after the ceremony (when, let’s face it, you just want to go eat…and maybe have some celebration drinks).

Check out some gorgeous Alisha Marie Brides (and grooms!) below who opted for a first look!

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Should We Do a First Look?

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