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  • Writer's pictureRachel Griffin, owner & lead wedding planner

First Looks

First Looks are a hot-button topic these days along with ALL the many options, versions and twists on this new tradition.

How do you know what the best choice is for your own wedding day? I’m here to help!

Let’s run through some fun and different ways we’ve coordinated these over the years with our couples, and you’ll hopefully get some awesome ideas for how to make this moment uniquely your own.

Some of the options are:

  • Traditional First Look

  • First Touch

  • Private Vows

  • First Look with Parents or Family

  • First Look with your Bridal Party

Traditional First Look

A traditional first look is where your photography team sets up a private moment for you to see each other for the first time. Typically, it’s just both of you and your vendors capturing the memories. After you see each other and take it all in, you’ll usually take some photos together as well, just the two of you.

I’m a huge fan of them and here’s why:

  • My favorite thing is that they slow your day down and let you spend your wedding day together. They give you time alone together to just take the whole day in and relax a bit. If there are nerves at all, once you’re together, they are drastically reduced.

  • First Looks also give you plenty of time for your couple and bridal party pictures. You’ll have separate time set aside for these, so all you’ll need to worry about after the ceremony is the family list. You won’t have to rush through the pictures you (in reality) probably care the most about. You can also consider multiple locations for pictures since you’ll be able to plan as much time as required ahead of time.

  • You’ll both also be fresher for pictures since you just finished with hair & makeup and put your dress & suit on.

  • Finally, seeing each other before the ceremony takes all the pressure off the processional. Everyone can be on the same side of the venue, you don’t have to worry about sight lines that might ruin the aisle moment, and you all can walk and line up together at the same time.

First Touch

A first touch gives you a special moment together to connect before you walk down the aisle, along with a gorgeous photo opportunity, without actually laying eyes on each other. So, if you’re a couple that wants to keep with tradition and not see each other before the “I do’s,” this gives you the best of both worlds.

Your photography team will find some sort of wall, fence or door and place you each on either side. They’ll be in the middle, capturing you both simultaneously as you hold hands, talk, share letters, or pray together.

Private Vows

With either a traditional first look or first touch, you could choose to share private vows. For our couples that really want their promises to each other to be an intimate moment, this a beautiful way to share your love in a meaningful and quiet way. Oftentimes, during the ceremony, you could share traditional vows, that aren’t personalized, in front of your guests.

First Look with Parents or Family

A bride and her grandfather share a first look on her wedding day, while he laughs with joy as he sees her for the first time.

Regardless of whether you’ll see each other before you walk down the aisle, you could also add in a first look with your dad, both parents, siblings, or grandparents. These are always very special moments and help you take in and treasure the special getting ready time before your next step.

You can usually set up these first looks right in your getting ready room too, making them really easy to fit into your wedding day timeline.

First Look with your Bridal Party

A big reveal with your bridal party can be a super fun way to wrap up getting ready before you head out for your ceremony. Have your bridal party step outside while a person or two helps you change into your wedding day attire. Once you’re all set and ready to go, have your photography team bring the bigger group in for the surprise.

Tips for the perfect First Look of any kind:

  • Talk with your photography/videography team ahead of time to get an idea of how they usually arrange whatever type of first look you’re considering and how much time they like to have planned. Everyone works differently, so knowing your team’s preference is key.

  • Scope out a location and factor in how travel time effects it to make sure you’ve got plenty of buffer time built into your timeline.

  • For a traditional first look, consider asking your family & friends to help you keep the moment private by staying away for the first little bit. Your planner or photographer can run and grab them to join in afterwards for their pictures. Having a small amount of time to yourselves (with just your photography team present to document) makes all the difference, I promise.

  • If you’re planning a first look in your getting ready suite (with your bridal party or a parent), be sure to have the group getting ready with you straighten up the space. Clear any trash like cups or used plates, pack up any bags and stray shoes. The clearer the area behind you, the better your pictures will look.

  • If you’re reading private vows, consider purchasing small booklets, journals, or special paper to write them in. They make a beautiful addition to details photos and a very sweet keepsake and memory of your promises to each other.

  • Have some tissues tucked away, because happy tears are often shed at these moments.

Images by Kiki Creates

What do you think? Are you considering adding a first look to your wedding day timeline? What type fits your style best? Comment and share with us which one you love the most!

P.S. If you need some help figuring out your wedding day timeline, reach out to us! We’d love to help you plan!

PPS. For more help with deciding what you'd like to include in your wedding day, check out Deciding What Traditions to Keep


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