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Growing up, I am guessing you always thought about walking down the aisle, maybe holding onto the arm of a parent or someone special to you. Seeing the love of your life gasp as they try to catch their breath at the sight of you. In the last couple of years, the wedding industry has changed drastically, Trends are changing and social norms are being challenged. Gone are the days of white dresses, matching bridesmaid dresses, and seeing each other for the first time in the aisle.

The number one question I always get asked as a wedding photographer is, “should I have a first look?” It is one of the most important questions to consider when getting married. There are many pros and cons to doing a first look vs. seeing each other in the aisle. Here is the thing, ultimately the decision is yours. I am not going to sway your opinion one way or another because it is your day, and I am sure you are already feeling the pressure with every decision that you make. What I will do though, is provide you with a list as to why they are popular and tips to help your day run smoothly if you decide not to.

touching groom for first look

So, what exactly is a first look? Simply put, it is when the bride/groom-or really anyone-sees you for the first time all fancied up in your wedding attire. It is most commonly done with your significant other in order to capture the raw emotion of the moment. However, I have done Daddy-Daughter first looks, Mother-Son, and even Bridesmaid-Bride. Here is a list of why I love first looks!

You can do your first look on a different day in a different location

You can get pictures in a location other than just your wedding venue. The reason I love this is let’s say you have dreamt of having wedding photos in Zion National Park, but your family doesn’t support the idea of eloping there. You can do your first looks in Zion and still have a wedding venue. It’s also becoming popular to have first looks displayed at the wedding.

It saves time on the wedding date

The typical wedding schedule allows for one hour to get all the family, wedding party, and couples photos. If I am being completely honest, this simply is not enough time to complete all these photos. I would say 80% of the time it actually causes the timeline to get backed up. So, if we can get the couple’s photos done ahead of time, and then say maybe do a few at golden hour, it will help relieve the stress of that hour. The day will flow better and you will feel less anxiety.

Your first look is more private/intimate

One of the best parts of first looks is you can get out of your head, and just have fun with them. You don’t have to worry if people are watching you, or if everyone is betting whether or not the groom will cry, or waiting for you to hurry up and finish photos so they can start dinner. You can relax, take your time, and just be in the moment with the love of your life.

first look library log haven

A few tips to make your day run smoothly if you want to stick to tradition

So you are telling me you have read all this and still dream of seeing your boo for the first time walking down the aisle! That is totally ok! I have several brides that still request to do it this way, and the feelings you get from these photos are unmatched. If this is how you prefer to keep it here are a few tips to help your day run smoothly.

  • Plan extra time for all your photos
  • Plan to have wedding party photos done before the ceremony starts
  • Consider doing couples portraits at golden hour instead of after the ceremony
  • Have items for detail shots ready to go when the photographer arrives
brides see groom

When it comes to first looks there are no limits. You can do them with anyone, it doesn’t just have to be a spouse. I have done them with family members, friends, and even a groom seeing his best man in a wedding dress. Have fun with your first look! Check out more inspiration for first looks and even first touches here, and don’t forget to book me as your photographer!


January 17, 2023

Should I do a First Look?

Kailah Page


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