Wedding First Look: Why You Should Have One


A wedding first look is a special and private moment for a couple. It is the first time a couple sees each other on their big day. The trend of doing a private first look only became popular in the wedding world within the past few years. Seeing each other for the first time when the bride walks down the aisle has always been tradition. It is probably what your parents and grandparents did. Due to this, couples sometimes struggle trying to decide if they want to do one or not. However, there are many benefits for doing a wedding first look. My name is Kirsten and I am a wedding photographer and the owner of Kirsten Ann Photography. In this post, I will tell you why I recommend that couples do a first look on their wedding day.

First Look Benefit #1: Helps with the timeline

Planning the timeline for your wedding day can be a very stressful task. It is especially challenging if a couple decides to wait and see each other for the first time when walking down the aisle. When this is the case, all portraits (i.e. couples, bridal party, immediate family, and extended family) have to be done after the ceremony and during cocktail hour. While this is a doable task, it can be overwhelming and not allow for a ton of photos. That is why I recommend that couples consider doing a first look on their wedding day. A first look takes place before the ceremony. Therefore, the photographer is able to capture all portraits, besides extended family, before the ceremony even begins. There is no hour long time constraint, so couple’s can allot as much time to photos as they want.

First Look Benefit #2: You can enjoy cocktail hour & eat!!

If a couple decides to see each other for the first time when walking down the aisle, it means that all portraits must be taken during cocktail hour. Therefore, you won’t be able to enjoy the beautiful cocktail hour space that you designed. Worst of all, you won’t be able to enjoy all of the amazing foods you picked to serve! People will tell the couple all day long to make sure they eat and drink a lot of water. Unfortunately, due to nerves, stress, and time constraints, it doesn’t always happen. That’s why doing a first look before the ceremony and being able to eat at your cocktail hour is so crucial. Being able to go to your cocktail hour also allows you to start saying hi to all of your guests. Therefore, you can enjoy your reception more and not have to run around trying to talk to everyone.

First Look Benefit #3: It allows for an intimate & private moment

A wedding first look takes place in a beautiful and private location. Your photographer will typically scope out the best place for the first look as soon as they arrive. The only people who are usually there when it happens are the photographers, videographers, and couple. When it comes time for the special moment, the groom will be put in place with his back to the area the bride will enter from. Then, the bride walks up to the groom and taps him on the shoulder. Next, the groom turns around and sees his glowing bride all dressed up. More often than not, the couple gets emotional at this point. Since they aren’t surrounded by people at the front of the alter, they are able to be themselves. As a wedding photographer, I see a lot of first looks. Every single one is special and filled with so much raw emotion.

First Look Benefit #4: It is always a calming experience

Wedding days are always filled with a lot of different emotions. Couples spend months, sometimes even years, planning their perfect day. That can cause a lot of stress. Due to the pressure of wanting the day to be perfect, a lot of couples get anxious on the morning of the big day. Their anxiety typically peaks right before the ceremony. Friends and family always try their best to keep the couple calm. However, the truth is that the bride and groom are the ones most likely capable of calming the other one down. Therefore, first looks are incredible because they allow the couple to see each other and calm each other down before the ceremony. While watching a first look, you can see the anxiety and tension leave the bride and groom’s bodies the second they lock eyes and embrace one another.

First Look Benefit #5: The moment will be captured perfectly

When a couple decides to see each other for the first time while walking down the aisle, there can be a lot of unforeseen circumstances that get in the way of the perfect shot. A guest could put their head right in front of the photographer or someones iPhone could appear out of nowhere in a photo. The space could also be so tight that the photographer and videographer are on top of each other trying to get the perfect photo. Yes, photographers almost always are able to pull it off and get beautiful photos. However, doing a first look removes all of those challenges. There aren’t a bunch of guests hanging around with their iPhones when it happens. It is also always done in a space with plenty of room for the videographer and photographer to get an amazing angle.

While I see the beauty in sticking to tradition, it is hard not to acknowledge all of the benefits of doing a wedding first look. Regardless of what you decide to do, the moment will be special and lovely in its own way.

If you are interested in doing a first look on your wedding day, please contact me through my website or email! or Kirsten Ann Photography

Kirsten Ann


  1. Patrick Kelly says:

    Thank you for this great advice! Such beautiful pictures too. I have always thought of doing the traditional style of first seeing my soon to be wife as she walks down the aisle, but logistically it makes more sense to do a first look. Also I like the idea of being able to see my fiancee and give her a hug just the two of us before the whole big ceremony.

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Meet Kirsten

Fine art Philadelphia wedding photographer

My biggest passion in life is being a wedding photographer. I love to photograph sweet and tender moments shared between two people who are madly in love with one another. I feel so honored and blessed to be able to capture such important and special moments in people's love stories. It is such a joy to look through my lens and see sweet smiles, warm embraces, and gentle kisses taking place between individuals who have decided to walk through life together hand in hand.

Philadelphia wedding photographer.
Engagements. Editorial.

I’m Kirsten


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