What is a Wedding First Look and Why You Should Have One

So what is a wedding first look anyway? For those who haven’t heard of a first look: It’s a moment when you get to see your spouse before the ceremony. You share a private moment together that sets the day up for calm and joy. I actually think it’s more special and more romantic. It will make the experience of the day smoother and better than seeing your spouse at the end of the aisle.

Here are five reasons why you should have a first look at your wedding:


Traditional looks don’t create a space to really be in the moment. You’re trying to not trip in the grass with your heels, trying to ignore the crowd of people staring at you, and you’re memorizing your vows in your head. With a first look, all walls come down. There’s space to be able to talk to the love of your life and hug, kiss, cry, freak out, etc. You get to make it your own. You get to have a private moment with your person to feel all the feels you want without a hundred eyes watching you.

bride and groom cry during first look


With all the activities going on all day, it becomes hard to take a private moment away to yourselves during your wedding. I wish we did a first look! I was barely able to talk with my husband on our wedding day! We definitely didn’t get the opportunity to share a private moment. The reality is unless you schedule it in, you likely won’t have much time to hang out with your new spouse. A first look is a great way to make sure you have this time! After that you can sped the rest of your day celebrating and dancing with your guests! I’ll give you guys private space during your first look where I’ll let you have your time by yourselves. I’ll also make sure that couples photos will be private and special. That way you can relish in the fact that you’re MARRIED WOW!

bride and groom ole hanson beach club


Cocktail hour started as an event with the intention to provide a time for couples to take all their photos in 1 hour. It was a given couples would not be able to have a drink and mingle. You should be able to enjoy every single part of your wedding. A lot of my couples just want to spend time with their guests and have a good time at their wedding. They want to get the pretty photos out of the way early so they can unwind and party it up the rest of the night. That’s eactly what you SHOULD do on your wedding day! By doing a first look, all we have to do is a few sunset pics (optional) and family photos immediately after the ceremony. That means you’re good to have fun for the rest of the time after! Most of my couples get to mingle at cocktail hour if they do a first look.

groom cries during first look


One of my brides last year got married in the fall. We were originally planning to do photos after the ceremony. However, her ceremony ended at 5pm… and the sun set at 5:30… which means we would’ve had 30 minutes to take all family photos, all wedding party photos, and all couples photos. But ONLY if we sped through them full speed ahead which is NO fun at all. There was no way it was gonna happen. So I suggested doing a first look and they LOVED IT. We did their first look, family photos, all wedding party photos, and couples photos BEFORE the ceremony. It was perfect! She was so glad we didn’t have to risk missing photos. It was a much better timeline and allowed everyone to enjoy the moment instead of rushing to beat the sunset.

Sunrise Yosemite Elopement Wedding photo


Having a first look absolutely DOES NOT take away from the emotion of that epic “walk down the aisle” moment. EVERY groom I’ve ever photographed cried both during their first look AND when he saw his bride walking down the aisle. That moment is just too special for anything to take away from it. If anything,I think it makes it more special. You’ll lock eyes with your future spouse and remember the secret special moment you shared just a few minutes prior. All the emotions of that moment and this one collide. As you look back on your wedding photos, you’ll have more variety and more photos of you two just soaking in each different moment together. It tells a story of your private love that is just for the two of you and the love you share together with your families.

If you need some more reasons to do a wedding first look, here are a few of my favorite first look moments from past weddings I’ve photographed: Joanne & JJ’s Malibu Elopement and Caleb & Megan’s Eureka Building Wedding

Speaking of the Eureka Building…It’s one of my FAVORITE venues right in the heart of Orange County. It’s the perfect venue for an intimate wedding. It has a modern, industrial feel. My favorite part of the venue is the GORGEOUS tree in their outdoor space that also gives it a nature/rustic vibe. The Eureka building has so much flexibility and is the perfect blank canvas.

So what about you? Are you convinced to do a first look yet?

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