7 Reasons to do a Wedding Day First Look

In every wedding consultation, we go over the couple’s timeline and I give recommendations to make the planning easier and the wedding day flow smoother. One of the BIGGEST debates that couples have in those consultations is if they should do a First Look or not.

A First Look is when a couple decide to see each other on their wedding day before their ceremony. Their coming together is typically an intimate thing; nobody else is around other than the photographer who is unobtrusively getting candids- not directing the meeting. I recommend that once you come together on their own terms, take as much time as possible before beginning portraits. You won’t be getting much alone time on your wedding day!

(All photos in this article were taken during First Looks.)

groom seeing bride for the first time, laughing and making goofy faces

First Looks are NOT for everybody. 

Before I start listing off reasons to see each other before the ceremony, I want to first stress that there is not a one-size-fits-all answer for this. Doing a First Look may NOT be the best thing for YOU! These are just some reasons that couples choose to do it, and why it is a good fit for THOSE couples.

That said, on to the goods. Here are 7 Reasons to do a First Look (+bonus reason!).

#1. Get the jitters out of the way! Getting married is one of the biggest commitments you will ever take and it is a BIG CHANGE. If you have any nerves about the ceremony, a First Look is the perfect time to work through that anxiety. I know my partner is the best person to calm me when I am anxious about something.

bride and groom holding hands around a tree, seeing each other for the first time on their wedding day

#2. You want to ENJOY as much time with your guests as possible. Get photo obligation out of the way… With the stressful part done, no need to rush through anything else and you can just hang out with your closest loved ones. Go to your own cocktail party and mingle. You’re paying for it, enjoy it!

#3. This one is mainly for winter weddings but can apply for any wedding with a late ceremony. You want daylight for photos! If your ceremony is after sunset, then you will need to do your photos beforehand- requiring a First Look. OR if you just want an ideal scenario for beautiful natural light, then planning on a golden hour sunset photoshoot is a perfect time to do it.

#4. You or your partner do not like to be the center of attention. Coming together for your wedding ceremony is a really emotional moment and you’re not sure you want your Uncle Bob to see your reaction? Or maybe you just don’t want to ugly cry walking down the aisle?? A First Look is a great option to quietly share the excitement together without being on display.

bride fixes groom's tie

#5. Your hair and makeup are fresh. Especially on hot summer days this might affect your decision. Maybe you don’t care how you look in front of your family and friends, but considering your investment in photography, think about if you would care about this more once you get your pictures back.

#6. You want to take photos in a variety of locations. This requires a larger time commitment, and you probably don’t want to leave your guests without entertainment – twiddling their thumbs – for an extended period of time between your ceremony and reception. The simple solution is to do the photos beforehand, so that nobody has to wait on you.

groom gives excited look as he sees his bride for the first time on their wedding day

#7. You and your partner will get time alone. This NEVER HAPPENS on your wedding day! Your wedding day is a day when you are surrounded by people constantly- people you love, yes; but still it’s hard to really take in the moment when you are always surrounded. Taking even a few minutes alone is really special. My STRONGEST memories from my wedding day are from our First Look.

BONUS REASON. In my experience, the photos from First Looks are the most emotional and genuine and intimate and memorable photographs of the two of you from the entire day. It’s all REAL.

Remember your wedding day isn’t about your photographer. It’s about joining your lives together, and celebrating with your loved ones. Take more time to enjoy THOSE people! A First Look may be a great way for you to do that.

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Pamela Anticole

Serving PA OH & Beyond

Pamela Anticole is a Pittsburgh based newborn and family photographer. Her award winning style is thoughtful and emotional, and your client experience is both relaxed and fun!


Pamela will photograph your baptism, birthday party, anniversary, bar/bat mitzvah, or wedding in a documentary style learned as a newspaper photojournalist. It is her focus on real, natural relationships and ability to anticipate emotional candid moments that bring sensitivity to her work as a documentary photographer. Pamela is located in the Wexford area of Pittsburgh, PA and available for family photography within 45 miles of downtown Pittsburgh. She also offers photography education for parents both online and on location in person in the Pittsburgh area.