First Look on a Wedding Day

What is a first look?

As a photographer one of the first questions I ask couples when we start working on their wedding day timeline is “would you like to do a first look?” I have realized this is not always a fair question because not all couples know what a first look is or why they might want one. So here we go, the breakdown of the first look and what makes them great for some couples.

The first look is when the couple decides to ditch tradition and see each other before the ceremony. This normally happens away from the eyes of family and friends. Most wedding days are hectic, to say the least. The first look gives the couple an opportunity to be together for a few moments without anyone else. Many couples remember the first look as the most private and emotional part of the day. I think the first look is my favorite part of the day as a wedding photographer. It is just so sweet and authentic. There is just something about couples seeing their forever partner in wedding attire for the first time that is magical! 🙂

Tohono Chul Park Wedding in Tucson

Choosing to have a first look allowed this couple to have their ceremony at sunset

Should couples have the first look?

Choosing to do the first look is not for everyone and that is A-okay! Once a couple knows what the first look is, they normally know right off if it’s gonna be a good fit for their day or not. If a couple is still on the fence about it I share the pros and cons so they can make the best choice for them and their wedding day.


  1. The first look typically happens right after the bride and groom are ready so their hair and makeup are perfect! And if they cry there is time to touch up before the ceremony.
  2. Most couples have at least a few jitters on the big day and seeing each other before the ceremony can put them at easy for the ceremony.
  3. Time alone for couples on the wedding day is a commodity. The first look gives them the chance to cuddle a little, pray, or just chill alone for the last time as unmarried people.
  4. The first look can sometimes make the wedding day timeline a lot smoother because all the family and wedding party photos can happen before the ceremony as well.
  5. The couple can enjoy the cocktail hour with their friends and family instead of doing photos at that time. See #4.
  6.  If a couple wants a true sunset ceremony then this is the way to go.


  1. Depending on the ceremony time, doing the first look might require couples get ready earlier in the day and be in their wedding attire longer.
  2. I ask the couple how they feel about breaking the tradition of seeing each other on the walk down the aisle. Sometimes they are not motivated by this but forgo the first look anyway because they know their parents or grandparents feel strongly about the tradition.
  3. If the couple does opt to do all photos before the ceremony they will have the task of making sure all the family arrives early enough.
  4. The first look is typically done outside so there is a chance depending on the location that shoes and/or the dress could get a little dirty.
  5. Some couples have expressed that they want to share those emotional moments of seeing each other with their family and guests instead of keeping it private.
  6. Doing family photos after the ceremony ensures that you are officially married in your wedding photos, and with the rings to prove it!
Tucson wedding first look

Just look at that smile! 🙂

Happy ever after either way

Every Couple is different and every wedding is different and there is no right or wrong way for it to go. Like I said before, I love this portion of the day but what I love more is when couples make the day their own and do what makes them happy.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think.



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