First Look

First look is a term used by photographers all the time. But what in the world does it mean and how does it apply to your wedding? 

Imagine for a moment that instead of your soon-to-be husband seeing you for the first time as you walk down the aisle, he gets to see you before that moment. And as you two look at each other, your photographer is capturing the moment. This is the first look.

So, why would you choose to do a first look? Why not stick with tradition and see each other for the first time as you're about to say I do? Let's look at the pros of a first look.

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bride walking to groom for first look before portofino wedding in pensacola beach
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Capture the Emotion

Think about your soon-to-be husband. Does he hold his emotions back in public? Is he determined not to be the guy to cry? If the answer to that is yes, then think about how he would react to seeing you for the first time if the two of you were alone. In my experience, the reaction of the groom is very genuine and open during a private first look. 

Imagine capturing the look on his face as he sees you for the first time in your dress.

Better Photos

A private first look means that as the two of you are seeing each other for the first time in your wedding gear, your photographer can quietly capture the moment. There are no distractions. There isn't an Aunt Jenny or Cousin Helga stepping out into the aisle to capture a photo on their iPhone, planting themselves firmly in the frame of your reaction photo. You don't have to worry about pausing or walking slowly to allow plenty of time for beautiful photos. The frame of the photos showing your almost-husband's reaction won't be filled with groomsmen and an officiant.

The focus of the first look is the two of you and your photographs will reflect that.

Also, your hair and makeup will still be fresh. Your feet don't hurt yet, and you aren't starving. It means more portrait time when you feel your most beautiful.

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He is your rock. He's the one who holds you steady in times when you're feeling stressed and pulled in a million directions. And you are the one who helps him open up and feel whatever he's feeling. The two of you balance each other out. You are his compass and he is your source of confidence.

Imagine how calming it will be to have a moment alone together before the ceremony begins? You'll have a chance to breathe. Breath in the moment and settle back into your assurance of each other's love and commitment.

You can also share with him that your dad has already cried three times, your mom is reapplying her makeup for the fifth time, and the flower girl has had to use the bathroom no less than seven times in the last 30 minutes. 

This is your moment to prepare for the next step. 


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The traditions of the past are always worth questioning. The tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other before the wedding dates back to the days of arranged marriages. In those days, a marriage among the affluent was a business transaction arranged to strengthen a family's reputation, line their pockets, and secure a legacy they viewed as favorable. A bride and groom would often never meet prior to the nuptials for fear that one of them would insist on the wedding being called off. The veil was part of that tradition, because a groom wasn't allowed to see her face until after he had married his bride. I bet you can fill in the blanks as to why that was the approach of the times.

But, this isn't then. You are a bona fide Millennial and a rebel at heart: You don't like to do what's expected of you. Instead, you prefer to approach every situation with your own outlook. You like to make your mark and make sure the path you choose is one you're choosing because it's what is right for your life. 

So while the first look might be nontraditional, you aren't a traditional kind of person. Is a private first look right for the two of you? 

Schedule Flexibility

Because you'll have your portraits taken for the first look, you'll spend less time posing for photos after the ceremony. It will allow you both more time to enjoy your day, enjoy your guests, and get to the cocktail hour faster. 

This also means that you'll have more flexibility to sneak away at sunset for a few more portraits when the light is just right

So, all of that said, what are the pros to sticking with tradition?


Not seeing each other on your wedding day builds the anticipation for that moment when the bride walks around the corner or down the stairs and toward her groom (or the groom walks to his groom, or bride to her bride). The moment is made more poignant by the absence. 

You'll be sharing a very special moment with all of your guests, too. They will feel as if they are part of your moment. Those good feelings will reel everyone in and having even the most stoic guest reaching for a tissue.

Wedding second shot for Indie Pearl Photography. 


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I'm Tahiry (Tahiti - Like the island) and I specialize in outdoor weddings for my off-beat couples. You know, the couples who aren't afraid to dance in the rain or walk to the beat of their own drum (while getting some good shots of it, too). Sound like you? Let's connect ❤️