“Should We Have a First Look”? The Pros and Pros

I always recommend having a “First Look” on the day of the wedding with you and your significant other. If you are dead set on seeing each other for the first time during the Ceremony, I totally support it, however if you’re on the fence or not quite sure what the benefits of seeing each other before-hand are, hopefully you’ll find this info useful regarding the “First Look”.

What is a First Look?

The “First Look” (aka “the reveal”) is a moment where you and your soon to be husband/wife see each other for the first time on the wedding day. Traditionally, a couple would see each other for the first time as they walk down the aisle in front of all their guests, but in recent years and following more recent wedding trends couples have opted to see each other beforehand. You can opt to have it privately between just you and your spouse, or invite a few of your bridal party/family members to enjoy and revel in the moment as well. Whoever started this trend was a genius, because there are so many advantages to doing so. 

So Why Should We Have One?

Well, there are 5 benefits to a “First Look”:

There’s Less Pressure and Time Constraints

On the day of the wedding there is A LOT going on and sometimes it can get hectic trying to fit in every photo on the portrait list. Every wedding is different, but for the majority of brides and grooms it is important that they get a lot of photos with their family, bridal party and friends and this takes time. Typically your wedding venue/coordinator will only give you an hour after the ceremony to take all of your photos because the kitchen/caterer is on a schedule and is required to get food served by a certain time. An hour may seem like a long time, but keep in mind we have to take extended family photos, immediate family photos, bridal party photos and photos with the couple together. Especially with a big guest list (we consider 65+ guests big), every minute counts. As a professional in the industry since 2010, I’ve been very successful at managing my time efficiently and getting all the required photos but sometimes it can be stressful on everyone making sure they’re there for photos on a time crunch. By having a “First Look” before the ceremony, this gives us the opportunity to slow down the pace of the day and get our family, bridal party and couple photos beforehand. Less stress is a good thing for everyone!

You’ll Get to Enjoy Cocktail Hour

Because we’ve taken the majority of our posed photos before the ceremony, this means you’ll have time to enjoy cocktail hour and actually mingle with guests! This also puts less pressure on you to greet every guest during the reception, which means you’ll have more time to party! It’s a win for everyone.

You’ll Receive More Unique Photos

Probably my biggest advocate of having a “First Look” is for the sheer reason that we’ll have the opportunity to take more unique photos. Because we won’t have any time constraints, we can literally set our own schedule before the Ceremony and take photos wherever we want! For example, a lot of the wedding venues in Estes Park are a short drive away from some absolutely gorgeous spots in Rocky Mountain National Park. A lot of our couples that get married in Estes will have a “First Look” so we can spend some time before the ceremony incorporating some absolutely beautiful scenery into their wedding-day photos without having to worry about time or getting back to guests on time.

It’s a Private, Intimate Moment

This doesn’t go for everyone, but often we find that our couples prefer that the moment when they see each other for the first time to be private and intimate. This gives them the opportunity to not hold back any emotions and enjoy that moment alone or with who they choose.

You Can Make it Unique To You!

Not only can you choose the exact location you want to do the first look, you can also cater it to your own unique personalities and what is special to you!



I recently captured a wedding where we had a first look and we were able to do the bride and groom portraits, wedding party portraits and ALL of the family portraits beforehand. Ten minutes before the ceremony started, it DUMPED rain and delayed the ceremony by 45 minutes. Because we had done all the portraits beforehand, we were able to stay on track with the reception and everyone was extremely happy and thankful.


I hope this has helped give you all some insight as to why we love “First Looks”. We know they’re not for everyone, and that is OK, but if you were on the fence hopefully this will help you see the pros. 

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