bride pins on the boutonniere to her groom during the first look

Advantages of Having a First Look at Your Wedding

A first look is a modern twist on the tradition of the groom seeing the bride for the first time as she walks the aisle. Here's why it may be a great idea for your wedding.
Rachel Sue Boehm, 5 star rated wedding and elopement photographer, holding a camera and posing under a tree.

I’m a wedding photographer with over 10 years experience. Based in Wisconsin, I specialize in elopements across the USA and worldwide.

As a certified drone pilot, I can offer aerial photography for a unique views of your wedding.

I’m also ordained through the Universal Life Church meaning that I can be your officiant and your photographer!

Get in touch with me to discuss your wedding or elopement photography.

There’s nothing quite like being able to share a special moment with only each other – no one else around – letting those emotions overflow freely without judgement or distraction. It makes for beautiful photos too!

This is how the first look feels during your wedding day, and it’s a unique moment when the bride and groom can grab some time with just each other before the hustle and bustle of guests arriving during the big day.

I wanted to share with you guys what a first look is, and why you might want to include on in your wedding day.

What Is A First Look?

We all know the tradition of the groom first seeing his bride as she walks down the aisle during the ceremony. Having a “first look” is a modern trend where the couple can share an intimate first moment together in a private setting prior to the ceremony. Typically, this is arranged beforehand with just the photographer/videographer.

It’s an intimate, special moment between two people about to get married. This meaningful gesture allows them to share in emotion and build anticipation for their ceremony together privately.

Typically, a first look involves the groom standing with his back turned, just like a traditional wedding. His anticipation building as he awaits the arrival of his love, preparing to take in her beauty in her wedding dress.

The key difference is that the couple can share the moment with just each other, rather than under the gaze of the guests. This allows a more intimate experience, where the couple can express their emotions with just each other and no overwhelm from the many onlookers.

A first look during weddings has become increasingly popular among couples due to its many advantages. Nowadays, about 90% of the weddings and elopements I photograph opt to have a first look.

A groom looks away from the bride as she taps him on the shoulder for their first look

Why Have A First Look?

A first look provides time for couples’ portraits afterwards while everyone is still looking their best (and before any cake smashes!) We get to capture so many meaningful moments throughout the course of the day but these photos will always stand out amongst them because there’s something extra special about taking the time out from all the craziness to focus solely on each other. This intentional pause allows me as a wedding photographer to capture genuine emotion that resonates long after I’ve sent you the photo gallery.

The first look is not only a special moment for couples to share before the ceremony. It’s an intimate and romantic exchange that can be captured by your wedding photographer, allowing you to relive the moment in all its beauty for years to come. But it also has several practical benefits too!

Firstly, a first look can help reduce stress levels on the big day. Instead of worrying about walking down the aisle or how you both will react when seeing each other for the first time at the altar, having a private moment together beforehand takes away some of those pressures. You have time to get over any pre-ceremony jitters in each other’s arms while also creating beautiful memories with one another.

Secondly, opting for a first look can save you precious time during your wedding day timeline. Taking portraits after the ceremony often means missing out on cocktail hour with family and friends – not ideal if there are limited hours! With a First Look however, you can take photos prior to saying ‘I do’ without sacrificing important moments afterwards. This allows everyone more time to mingle and enjoy themselves with no rush involved.

Finally, there’s also an added privacy factor; something many couples appreciate from their photographers’ point of view. Having this exclusive moment gives you some uninterrupted minutes just between yourselves – free from people watching over you. A few stolen moments alone are perfect for taking deep breaths and calming nerves before making your way down the aisle hand-in-hand ready to say ‘I Do.’

I’ve often been asked if having a first look will “ruin the moment,” when the bride walks down the aisle. The answer to that is absolutely not! You are going to be flooded with emotions either way, and this can be a great way to ease nerves and allow the couple to truly focus on the ceremony.

How Long Is A First Look?

The length of a first look can vary greatly. Based on my experience of photographing weddings, couples that choose to do a first look spend an average of fifteen to thirty minutes in total together before their ceremony begins. This includes time for photos and some private moments between them as they get ready for their big day.

The duration of a first look is usually determined by how many photographs are being taken and how much time the couple would like allotted for intimate conversation or just sharing special moments with each other with noone else around. I would suggest giving at least ten minutes for the bride and groom to share their first look. It’s important to plan out the timeline beforehand so there isn’t any pressure during this memorable moment.

The period of a first look will also depend on what type of photography style you prefer when capturing these precious memories. If opting for more traditional portraits then it may take longer than if going with a photojournalistic approach because several poses need to be set up and photographed one-by-one instead of shooting candidly as events unfold naturally. Or maybe you want some unique aerial photos taken with a drone? Whatever your preference may be, it’s essential that you discuss all details with your photographer so they know exactly what shots you want captured during this magical part of your special day!

The bride and groom share their first look. The bride is wiping away a tear while the groom looks on lovingly.


A First Look on a wedding day is truly something special. As a photographer, I’ve seen the raw emotion and excitement that comes with it countless times. It’s an intimate moment between two people who are about to embark on their life together, and there couldn’t be anything more beautiful.

When couples choose to have a first look, they’re allowing themselves to take in all of the emotions that come along with this once-in-a-lifetime event without any distractions or expectations from others around them. They can really focus on being present in the moment and connecting with each other before taking part in what will likely be one of the biggest days of their lives.

The beauty of having a first look at your wedding lies in connecting deeply with your partner during this precious time before you commit yourselves to one another forever. It’s truly a beautiful way to start your journey as husband and wife!

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