First Look for Weddings and Why You Should Do It

First Look for Weddings and Why You Should Do It

One of the biggest questions I often get is should I do a first look? I’ll start off by saying, after 7 years of doing Vancouver wedding photography, that I believe it’s so important to do one! I’ll be the first to tell you that I always believed in tradition and that seeing the bride for the first time should be reserved for when she walks down the aisle for the first time. However, over time, I’ve been swayed into doing the first look! Check out some first look wedding photos below and a wedding first look alternative in tip #6!

1) Quality Time Together with Each Other Before the Wedding

First looks allow you to be together and have some alone time on your wedding day. Normally portraits are a little rushed after the family and friend portraits following the ceremony. Once those are done, they want to spend time with you and take photos as well. It’s hard to regain that intimate feeling again. Vice versa, after your first look, you have all the emotions. These are some of the best times for photos (and photos during the golden hour). Lastly, often ceremonies are followed by a cocktail hour and reception. Take that time to spend with friends and families!

A emotional bride after their first look in Vancouver Olympic Village

Groom and Bride walking along Olympic Village for their bridal portraits

Photos from Rebecca and Nick’s wedding at Heritage Hall

2) More Portraits After The First Look

You’re investing so much into wedding photography, why not get more photos. Touching on my last point, allowing a first look gets you more portraits simply because you’re not rushed after the ceremony. In addition, you’ll look the best during this time with fresh hair and makeup!

Bride and Groom at Pitt Lake for wedding portraits

3) Enjoy the Surprise Freely and Get The Reaction Twice

You actually get intimate time on your wedding day with each other. Often times couples forget that when they see each other for the first time, it’s when she’s walking down the aisle and it’s an overwhelming experience. He can’t touch you, embrace you or speak to you, after he’s wowed by how stunning you look. You have to wait until 40 minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you how amazing you look. And after 40 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same.

Some may worry that they won’t get the same reaction as she walks down the aisle. However, I’ve seen grooms cry twice! Once during the first look and during the ceremony.

Bride walking towards his groom for the first look
Groom crying as he see's his bride for the first time


4) You Get Rid of the Nerves Before The Wedding

I’d say, literally 1/2 of my couples who have done the first look, the grooms were not fans of it at first. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve-racking it can be.

Groom eagerly awaiting his bride as they prepare for the first look
Groom taking a look at the Bride after the first look at Parq Vancouver
Parq Vancouver Wedding

5) Extend Your Day by 2 Hours

Normally the wedding day would start when you come down the aisle, then the ceremony would end, you would rush through portraits so that you’re not late for the reception. With a first look, your wedding day is extended by almost 2 hours! Instead of being rushed for your bridal party portraits you actually get to enjoy them and have fun hanging out with your BEST friends on your wedding day. In the end, I believe that’s what your day is about. Celebrating this milestone with those who have been a HUGE part of your life.

Bride walks towards his groom for the first look at Stanley Park Pavilion

6) First Look Wedding Alternative, Keeping the Tradition

Another alternative to a first look is what I call a modified first look. You still get a chance to talk to each other, hold each other, and embrace the moment before the ceremony. You can either use a wall or door and do a non-traditional first look. I’ve seen couples exchange gifts and or exchange cards during this moment and read it out loud. For those looking for more first look alternatives!

Alternative to a first look as groom and bride holding hands behind a window bride crying during a first look alternative as they hide behind a wall

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