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Monday Wedding Madness: First Look

Today on Monday Wedding Madness we are going to discuss what a "first look" is and why you should consider doing one.

While discussing your wedding with your wedding photographer they are most likely going to ask you if you are interested in doing a "first look." A first look happens before the wedding ceremony and after the bride and groom have gotten dressed. A typical first look session will start out with the groom and bride separated from each other. The bride will then walk out and the wedding photographers will capture the looks on both the bride and groom's faces as well and the hugs, kisses, and looks of happiness. First looks are a really great moment that the bride and groom can have and have documented for their albums. After the first look session the bride and groom will typically go ahead and take their couple portraits. This frees up time for them between the ceremony and reception and allows for them to get to the reception sooner.

First let's look at the pros and cons of a first look session:


- more images of the two of you

- you get to see each other before the ceremony and get to have some alone time

- you are able to take the couple portraits before the ceremony

- have more time for the couple portraits

- able to get to reception earlier

- are not rushed between ceremony and reception

- do not keep guests waiting


- you will see each other before the ceremony

- you will have to get ready earlier

- not sticking with "tradition"

First, lets get the cons out of the way....

The whole "seeing each other before the ceremony is bad luck/not traditional" mantra started way back in the day when arranged marriages were common. Brides and Grooms were not allowed to see each other AT ALL before the wedding. Arranged marriages were more of a business agreement and both sets of parents did not want their children, the bride and groom, to back out of the marriage or run away if they did not like what they saw in their future mate. This is why seeing each other before the wedding is considered bad luck and not traditional. Nowadays Brides and Grooms already know what their mate looks and act like. Grooms are not going to run away if he sees his bride before the wedding and brides are not going to run away if they see their groom before the wedding.

*As a side note to this, I know a lot of brides are afraid that if the groom sees them before the ceremony that when they walk down the aisle he will not have that "aaahhhh" reaction. Let me tell you, that is not true. All the weddings that I have photographed that had a first look session, the groom still had that look of wonder and joy when he saw the bride walking down the aisle. It won't hit either of you that you are "really getting married" until you walk down the aisle/see your love walk down the aisle. You will still have the same emotions run through you if you see each other before the ceremony or not.

The second con, you will have to get ready earlier. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is something you will have to consider.

Now the pros: You will have more images of the two of you and will get those super cute reaction photos. Doing a first look also will give you more time for your couple portraits without feeling rushed. You can go to that cute park that is a drive away from your ceremony. You can go to multiple locations. This will give you more photos with different backdrops. One of the main reasons a lot of couples opt for a first look session is so they can get to the reception earlier. If you do not opt to take your couple portraits before the ceremony then they are taken between the ceremony and reception which means you will get to the reception later than most couples would like. However, one of my favorite reasons for doing a first look (and why I choose to do one for my own wedding) was that it is a time for the bride and groom to be together. It is a special time that you both can share. During the wedding you will be with each other but will be busy greeting guests and doing activities so this time is a great time for the two of you.

One last thing to think about: If you are planning on having an evening wedding you may want to strongly consider doing a first look out of necessity. If your ceremony occurs after the sun starts setting then when it is time to do your couple portraits it will be dark outside. You will want to plan your couple portraits for before the ceremony so you will still have daylight.

Whether or not you do a first look is completely up to you! However, give it some thought and throw the idea out simply because it does not follow tradition.


Monday Wedding Madness is a blog series that occurs every Monday and answers the questions you have about wedding photography. Have a question you would like to have answered or something that you wish you would have known before your wedding or are you a wedding professional who would like to contribute? Send your questions to



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