(Closed) Why do photographers do a "first look" photo?

posted 6 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
224 posts
Helper bee

Honestly I am one of the ones planning a first look. Its a way to have a few ALONE with him, steadly the nerves, and get some KILLER pics. I think that the intamacy of it more then makes up for not seeing eachother until the walk down the aisle. 

Post # 4
450 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2013 - Garden

It’s really just personal preference, I think your groom is going to be excited to see you walk down the aisle whether he’s already seen you on the day or not. A first look is great for private couples or anyone who really wants to have that first moment alone with just their partner. I really like the fact that we are making up new wedding traditions and moving with the times.

Post # 5
765 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

It’s a personal choice. Many brides (myself included) are doing it so that my groom and I can have a private moment before the craziness of the wedding begins. It gives the groom a private moment to react–rather than having it be in front of the entire group. Plus, many brides say that it helps calm their nerves. 

It also allows you to get your photos taken with the bridal party BEFORE the wedding ceremony, so the bride and groom can actually spend more time with their guests later and can actually enjoy the cocktail hour.  So…there are lots of reasons to do it. 

Remember–the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding stems from the outdated tradition of arranged marriages (as does the tradition of wearing a veil). Historically, fathers would arrange their daughters’ weddings (and bribe the groom with a dowry to do so–so it was a financial arrangement between families, not about love), and they often feared that the groom would back out if he didn’t think the bride was beautiful enough. That’s why a) the bride wasn’t allowed to see the groom, and b) the bride wore a veil to hide her face until the very last minute. Many brides (again, myself included) don’t want to be part in continuing that tradition–as it harkens back to a time when women had very little rights and marriages were financial agreements between families, and not about the joining of two people in love. 

It’s a personal choice. Frankly, I’ve never heard ANYONE regret doing a first look. For most of my friends that did it–it turned out to be their favorite part of the day (except getting married) because it was the only part of the day where they had a private, romantic moment with their groom. 


Post # 6
9951 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

This is a tradition that is in transition.

Not seeing each other before the Wedding itself… the walk down the aisle.

I’d say that the “First Look” thing has been around for maybe 10 years or so.

It is neither RIGHT NOR WRONG… it is a personal choice.

Some couples choose to do it because they like the idea for what it is.  Be that a full-on First Look where both the Bride & Groom SEE each other, or a partial, where ONLY the camera sees BOTH of them in the same frame… done with something between them like a wall, door, pillar etc

Many couples opt to do First Look and other Wedding Pics BEFORE the Wedding, because they want to use the time after the Wedding to be with their Guests… and not off having pictures done for “minutes or hours” (shortest I ever recall was 15 Minutes… longest Guests left without the B&G for over 2 Hours !!)

Hope this helps,


Post # 7
765 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

By The Way…my photogs do LOTS of first looks and they said they’ve never seen a wedding where the groom didn’t react when the bride walked down the aisle. Even with the first look, the aisle moment can still be special. 

Post # 8
1063 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I think the primary motivator behind first looks is so that you don’t spend forever taking pictures after the ceremony while your guests wait to eat.  You need to do couple pictures, wedding party pictures, family pictures…that’s a lot of time standing between your guests and dinner.

I’ve definitely heard couples say that it diffuses some of the stress of the day as well.

Plus I’m probably going to be crying/trying not to fall on my face as I walk down the aisle, so I probably wouldn’t get to fully appreciate his “first look” there anyways 🙂

Post # 9
5543 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2011

You get a few minute in the chaos to see your SO before everything starts, you have no rush taking pictures between the ceremony and reception so your guests dont wait on you forever, and no on I know has had any less emotion at THE moment of walking down the aisle because they saw. each other first. The whole “not seeing the bride before the wedding” came from arranged marriages to keep the groom from bolting if his bride was ugly. I like to think Darling Husband saw me and still showed up at the alter.

Post # 10
1314 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2006

Couples do first looks, not photographers.  A good photographer just explains what options you have for your timeline.  Also there are a million threads on this topic in the forum, just search first look.

Post # 11
509 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

It wasn’t for me at all, and I havent heard of a first look in the UK. I get the rational of saving time later, but I wanted photos with my husband, not my fiancé! Also I’ve yet to see a first look photo I like and wanted him to see me in my dress for the first time walking into the church. But each to their own!

Post # 12
2084 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

It’s definitely a modern day thing. I actually never heard of it until I joined WB. Now it’s like I must do a “first look” saves time so that you can actually attend your cocktail hour or relax during that time with your SO and you get more at your wedding in general.

Post # 13
1589 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Well my Aunt and her husband saw each other for photos before the ceremony in their 1991 wedding, so it’s not entirely new.

Post # 14
11232 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

Here’s a great article on first looks.

Post # 15
11744 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

It’s personal preference. I loved our first look to share that moment wimny my husband alone. It also gave us way more time for bridal party and family photos so we didn’t miss any of our reception or make our guests wait.


 If you don’t like it then don’t do it. Simple as that.


eta – tradition isn’t always right or best. Not seeing each other beforehand is not the nicest of traditions that stems from arranged marriages and not allowing the groom to see his potentially ugly wife before its too late and they’re already married.


Post # 16
4495 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I think seeing each other for the first time without having anyone else around is much more intimate. Obviously the moment would be special either way, but I want that time with just my Fiance, not a room full of people.

The topic ‘Why do photographers do a "first look" photo?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors