Have you heard of a wedding first look moment? A wedding first look is exactly what it sounds like! The nearly weds have an intimate and private moment just before the wedding ceremony where they will see each other for the first time. If your wedding day is approaching, you’ll be wondering whether you’ll go for a first look or keep things traditional and wait for the big aisle entrance. We’re here today to go over all the pros and cons of wedding first looks with advice from our incredible Recommended Photographers! Here’s what you need to know. 

Wedding first looks - all the pros and cons with some of our favourite reveals! 

What is a wedding first look? 

A wedding first look is traditionally when the couple getting married have a private moment before the ceremony starts where they get a ‘first look’ at each other in their wedding outfits. It’s the first time the couple sees each other on their big day! If you’re having a wedding first look, they make for incredible wedding photos because they always show such pure and emotional reactions. The first look is when everything really sinks in - you’re actually getting married! First-look photos are carefully scheduled to optimize lighting, emotional readiness, and the day's logistics. Typically, they are scheduled after getting ready and before the formal ceremony. Some couples choose to read their wedding vows at the same time as having their first look!

Who gets a first look? 

Do parents go to the wedding first look? They certainly can! One of our favourite photos to see from our real weddings is when the father of the bride sees the bride for the first time. Tears are guaranteed every time. We also see bridesmaids getting a first look at the bride in her wedding dress too! Here’s a list of ideas on who gets a first look from Recommended Supplier, Anita K Photography

  • Bride and Groom/Bride and Bride/Groom and Groom
  • Father of the Bride/Groom
  • Mother of the Bride/Groom
  • Bridesmaids Seeing the Bride 
  • Groomsmen Seeing the Groom
  • Siblings
  • Children or Flower Girl/Ring Bearer: If the couple has children, or if there are young members of the bridal party, capturing their reactions can be incredibly sweet and candid. Little ones often have the most genuine and unfiltered reactions!
  • Grandparents: This often overlooked generation can offer some of the most emotional and poignant reactions. Witnessing their grandchildren ready to embark on a marital journey can evoke memories of their own wedding days.

So, you can include parents and other members of your wedding party in a first look. However, the traditional option is one just between the couple getting married. Here are a few of our favourite father of the bride first look moments!

Does a first look ruin walking down the aisle? 

There’s an old saying that it’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding. This comes from the time when arranged marriages were more common and it would ensure the wedding would happen no matter what the bride looked like! But, there is obviously no evidence that this dated superstition is true. If you’re superstitious you might consider a first look bad luck. When it does come to walking down the aisle, if you have had a first look, you already know what each other looks like. However, we think it makes that aisle walk all the more sweet. You’ll be feeling the love no matter what! 

What do you do during a first look vs. a first touch? 

The first look often takes place in a secluded spot, away from guests and other distractions. The groom may be positioned with his back turned, and the bride approaches. The photographer then captures the reactions of both parties as they turn to see each other. A first touch is a variation of the first look. Here, the couple might stand on either side of a door or around a corner, holding hands but not seeing each other. It’s a way to connect and share a moment without breaking the tradition of seeing each other before the ceremony.

Pros of having a first look

Firstly, if you’ve already had your first look, when it comes to walking down the aisle you’ll feel way less nervous. You already know what each other looks like, so you can actually picture the love of your life and it can help keep that racing heart and sweaty palms under control. 


Next, a first look usually happens with just the couple and your photographer. The main benefit of a first look is that it is private! That raw and visceral reaction of seeing each other is something shared between you two lovebirds and you don’t have to worry about anyone else. 


If you’re worried about not getting enough couple photos later on in the day because you’ll be busy greeting guests, having a dedicated first look is a great way to get some more photos! Plus, as we’ve said, you’ll treasure these photos forever because they’re usually so emotional. 


Having a winter wedding? Then a first look is a great idea! During the winter when the sun starts to set around 5 pm or even earlier, you can often miss out on the chance to grab a dazzling golden hour portrait. But who needs one when you have an intimate first-look couple portrait instead? 

Cons of having a first look 

The main disadvantage of having a wedding first look is that you’ll have to get ready earlier in order to fit this in! Your makeup will have to wear longer and your suppliers will have an earlier call time. That being said, we think it’s worth it! 


If you are having an early ceremony, the lighting early on in the day may not be ideal for photos. Sometimes, the sun doesn’t burn through the clouds until the afternoon or it might be really harsh light and your photographer may have to work some magic to make sure your photos blow you away. Your photographer will never ruin such a beautiful moment, but you’ll probably still want to get some more photos in the softer afternoon glow! 


As we said earlier if you are superstitious, a first look may be considered bad luck to you. But these beautiful couples are certainly proof of the opposite! 

Tips from our Photographers 

Recommended Supplier, Anita K Photography, is here with all the tips and tricks to get the perfect first look wedding photos!

  1. Scout the Location: Prior to the first look, scout the chosen location to ensure good lighting and a serene, unobtrusive setting. The background should enhance, not distract from, the emotional forefront.
  2. Clear the Area: Limit the number of people around during the first look. An intimate setting helps the couple feel at ease and allows emotions to flow naturally.
  3. Prompts Over Poses: Rather than giving strict poses, use gentle prompts. For instance, "Think about the journey that brought you two together" or "Take a deep breath and, when you're ready, turn around." Prompts can help elicit genuine emotions.
  4. Candid Captures: The moments right after the initial first look—the smiles, giggles, or tears—are gold mines for candid shots. 
  5. Communication: Before the big day, talk with your photographer about the first look. 
  6. Focus on Details: The touch of a hand, a tearful eye, or an excited foot-tap can speak volumes. First looks don't just have to focus on faces. 

A wedding first look is such a beautiful private moment to have just before your lives completely change! 

Love this first look photography idea? You need to check our even more must-have wedding photos. The key to having wedding photos you’ll love forever is finding a photographer that fits your vibe exactly. Here are all the questions you need to ask your photographer to make sure you have the perfect match! 

Leah Blundell

Written by Leah Blundell

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