The ‘first look’ is a photo or series of photos capturing the moment when the groom sees his bride for the first time (in her gown before the wedding). It can be amazing, wonderful, and heartfelt. It can also serve a useful purpose. And conversely it can be corny, phony, and overly staged.

Waiting for the 'first look'

I love the idea of getting the photos of the couple, family and bridal party done before the ceremony. Everyone looks their best, and it frees up the couple to go directly to the cocktail hour or party. I have occasionally seen photographers take couples away after the ceremony for far too long. Guests are left waiting to greet them, and honestly, its really awkward standing around until the newlyweds to arrive. It’s anti-climatic.

So if you are taking photos before your ceremony, a first look certainly makes a lot of sense.

Photographer extraordinaire Lisa Rhinehart concurs, when she says: “First looks are great because they allow the couple to enjoy cocktail hour with their family and friends and allows them to have the candid, creative photos that mean so much to them – it’s the best of both worlds!  The day flows smoothly, building up to the ceremony, then once the vows are done, it’s time to relax.”

He sees her!

Obviously I agree. But let me add that on the flip side, it puts a lot of pressure on the groom to make a big deal out of seeing his bride. It is in no way a truly candid moment. However, if it’s done in a low-key way, without raising expectations too high, without too much staging, it can be quite beautiful.

... and they embrace!

If you are thinking of having the ‘first look’ photo, please speak with your photographer. Remind her or him that you would like them to keep some distance. Unless you are an actor or model, and used to being the focus of a camera, it is difficult to have it aiming at you and still have an authentic moment.  Think it through and have a good discussion with your photographer. The best photographers will put you at ease and not get in too close.

Some couples would rather see one another for the first time on their weddings day when the bride walks down the aisle. It’s an old tradition and it has its charm for sure! Your photographer will surely capture this moment, and you might say that it’s the original first look. If this is something you’ve always dreamed, if this is for you, don’t let anyone tell you differently. If the couple is not seeing one another before the ceremony, there are still some photos that can still be taken ahead of time. But, as Lisa says, with the right photographer (and she certainly is one) and the right attitude, you can have it all – that special, intimate moment and a photo to capture it.


Thank you Lisa Rhinehart  for letting me use so many of your gorgeous photos!

This entry was posted in Ceremonies and Celebrations, Pocono Weddings, Tips on Weddings, Wedding Ceremonies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

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