The First Look of the bride and groom on their wedding day


The First Look, it’s the moment when the bride is going to reveal herself to her husband to be on their wedding day, in full wedding attires. Traditionally, the future husband and wife get ready with the help of their loved ones, away from each other, to make the big reveal a truly magical moment. They often even sleep in different places the night before, so that the emotion is at its highest when they are finally reunited moments before saying “I do“.

You can either discover each other at the altar or choose to make this First Look an intimate moment before the ceremony.

What are the pros of having an intimate First Look?

First of all, make sure your photographer is there to capture this very important moment of your wedding day and both your reactions.

This moment must be special and romantic, so you can let your emotions out freely and truly enjoy that bliss. Without all the looks on you, you’ll be in a sort of bubble where the two of you are the only ones in the world and you’ll have as much time as you want to tell each other how much you love one another, compliment each other on your dress and costume…

When you reveal each other at the altar, things are very different as the ceremony quickly starts and you can’t talk to each other privately at that moment. Everyone is looking at you, so you can’t hug for too long or kiss passionately, that would be awkward! Thus cutting your reactions from showing fully. That is the main reason why a First Look is often recommended.

You can also taylor your First Look to your desires: choose the exact spot where it’ll happen with your photographer, a beautiful location that fits both of your personnalities. That spot will have to be shaded so your faces are easy to photograph and away from all the bubbling wedding preparation. It can be indoors or outdoors, at your wedding venue or at the location where you’ll get ready such as your parents house or even in your own backyard where you have made so many memories together already. Everything is possible!

The First Look of the bride and groom on their wedding day

How do I capture a First Look?

Contrary to what most people think, putting together the perfect First Look is not very complex: let your photographer guide you in choosing the right light and angle. I like to first position the groom, his back towards the direction from which the bride will arrive. I tell him to close his eyes and remember their first encounter, the marriage proposal, all the best moments the couple has shared up till that big day that is starting… that way, the actual reveal will be even more emotional. I also explain that it’s the bride herself who’s going to tap him on the shoulder to make him turn around and open his eyes. But before that very moment, he must keep his eyes closed no matter what! Then I do the same with the bride who’s awaiting to make her approach with butterflies in her stomach.

The way I photograph your First Look is simply to help you live a unique moment by capturing beautiful and spontaneous shots of both your reactions. That is why it’s essential for you and I to create a friendly and trusting relationship beforehand: you must rely on me fully as the witness of this very intimate moment of your wedding day… and let the magic happen.

Tell me all your wishes for your wedding day and let’s meetup!

What are the cons of having an intimate First Look?

Some couples would rather have that big reveal at the altar, with all their loved ones witnessing their emotions and living that moment at the same time too. Of course, you can also plan an private First Look before the ceremony for your parents or siblings, especially for the bride’s father who traditionally walks his daughter to the altar.

A First Look requires you to get ready earlier and some extra planning. Sure, it can be very quick but I advise you to allow up to 15 minutes (not including commute time if necessary) to truly enjoy it. Your wedding day timetable might be tight and not allow for a First Look. The last thing we want is for you to be stressed out because you’re late, so make sure to think about it.

Can we have both an intimate First Look and a reveal at the altar?

Yes! You surely can have both, especially if the bride is planning on wearing two dresses. Each wedding is unique, here are a few possibilities:

  • You are having a civil ceremony before a religious or symbolic ceremony with a dress change in between. Then you can have a First Look before your city hall ceremony and a big reveal with your second dress at the altar!
  • Also, if your ceremony is later in the afternoon, you can have an intimate First Look earlier in the day then plan to follow up right away with the bride and groom portraits, so you save all the time left to enjoy your guests after the ceremony. Your makeup will also be fresh and perfect for the pictures.
  • If you are getting married on two different days, with a civil ceremony before your big wedding day, make sure to have your photographer at both ceremonies and capture your emotional discovery on both days!

If you fear the emotion won’t be as high with an intimate First Look before the ceremony, remember the bride’s entrance is one of the most anticipated moments on your wedding day. Everyone will see you in your beautiful wedding dress for the first time. You will be walking towards the love of your life to become husband and wife. So, even if you’ve seen each other already moments before, you’ll surely be extremely emotional due to the setting, the decor, the music, and all your loved ones presence around you that day. It’ll be an amazing moment, no matter what.

The First Look of the bride and groom on their wedding day
The First Look of the bride and groom on their wedding day

Make sure to talk about it together and address your vendors as well on that matter: your photographer of course, who’s going to capture this moment for you, but also your officiant and wedding planner.

It really is your choice! If you have questions about my approach to wedding photography and how I work on weddings, feel free to reach out 🙂