Should I do a first look?

Should I do a first look? by North Carolina Wedding Photographers, Keepsake Memories.

You might have heard about first looks at weddings but what are they? A first look is when the couple chooses to see each other before the ceremony, usually revealing their wedding day looks in a special way, often alone.

First looks have become one of our favorite wedding trends. When we first heard about them, we were completely against the idea. We always thought it was more special for a groom to see a bride coming down the aisle for the first time. But after shooting more than 300 weddings, we’ve experienced first-hand how awesome first looks can be.


A common myth is that first looks take away from that special moment of you, the bride, walking down the aisle. We’re here to put that myth to rest. We’ve seen more reaction after a first look than when there wasn’t one at all. Doing a first look relaxes the groom and he is then usually more excited about the ceremony. There is a lot of build-up and pressure mounting for that one moment of when he’ll see the bride walking down the aisle. All eyes are on him and all eyes are on her. This can be overwhelming for a groom - sometimes so overwhelming they can’t react to it all.

Another great reason to do a first look is to cut down your formal photo time after the wedding. Most couples typically need one hour set aside for their photos along with family and wedding party photos. Some photographers may require more time depending on their style. We have found a lot of couples don’t want to keep their guests waiting too long or would enjoy some time at the cocktail hour.

We typically recommend doing all the couple and bridal party photos before the ceremony. After the ceremony, take about 10 minutes of family photos. We’ve had some couples who were able to get all their family dressed and at the ceremony location early. This allowed us to take all the photos before the ceremony. However, we’ve found it can be difficult to have all family ready that early so the likely scenario is the first option.

If you’re having a small intimate wedding, then you don’t necessarily have to do a first look. Smaller weddings are a little different and allow for plenty of formal time. First looks are mostly for weddings with 100 or more guests. But we’re always happy to do first looks even for elopements.

At the end of the day, we want your wedding to feel special and everything to run as smoothly as possible. Think it over and listen to the ideas that most speak to you.

Feel free to use our contact form if you have any additional questions on first looks. We’d love to answer any questions you may have.