The In's and Out's Of The Wedding Day First Look

Your first look  is an amazing part of your wedding day!  If you aren’t sure about this tradition, the next few pages will explain why it would be a romantic addition to your wedding day celebration that not only adds to the experience but also reduces stress.  Please know that we would never want any of our couples to feel pressured to go with this option.  However, we do want to make sure that we share all of the benefits of a first look, because there is a reason 90% of our couples do this and LOVE it!  What do we think of first looks?

Wedding photography first look is it right for you? West midlands wedding photographer Lisa Lander Photography

They’re AWESOME!  However, not everyone is aware of how awesome they are, because they get caught up in how “non-traditional” it is, and they immediately write it off. 

I must admit that I was almost one of these brides. My goal was to get a REACTION out Wade, as he almost never cries. I wanted him to be overcome with love and joy that as he saw me walking down the aisle he would start crying. It sounds like every couples dream, to see their partner so overcome with love that they can’t contain it.

So why do a First Looks if what you want is a reaction?

Well the irony is that the reactions and emotions doesn’t diminish if you have a first look. We have witnessed that the emotions are still there just as the reactions are. We find is that a first look gives you more time to just be together without 150 faces looking, waiting for that reaction. 

Let’s imagine for a minute, your wedding day is already going to be stressful, when the nerves start creeping up, instead of keeping the groom in a secluded space until his time to enter the ceremony, what if you took him to a private place (no people, no on-lookers, no distractions) and you let his beautiful bride, the love of his life, quietly call his name and have him turn around to see her for the first time.  

He would turn around and finally get his first look at his stunning bride and not only would he get to see her… he could embrace her… cry with her…. kiss her… and ENJOY that moment with her for as LONG as they wanted. 

Trip to Greece by Uk Wedding Photographer Lisa Lander_0145.jpg

As she shows him her dress, twirls a few times and then asks him what he thinks… his nerves start to diminish. After all, she’s the one who can make him most comfortable anyway. Because they aren’t on a time crunch, they casually move into their romantic portraits. 

No one is around, the coordinator isn’t announcing “15 minutes left”, there isn’t 150 faces looking at both of you, and there is no pressure. 

It’s just the two of them and their photographer capturing the excitement and the joy of their wedding day. This is their time to be TOGETHER… and to be ALONE. 

When does that happen on a wedding day? 

Without a First Look…  It doesn’t. 

After their romantic portraits are done, they meet up with their best friends.  Their bridal party joins them and because they still have plenty of time to spare. The bride touches up a little makeup while the boys act like boys. 

After a few minutes the bridal party portraits begin and they’re FUN. They’re FUN, because there is time to make them FUN. There aren’t any guests waiting impatiently at the cocktail hour and there isn’t a DJ coming to find the photographer to get a time check.  It’s wonderful!  

After portraits are done, the girls and guys separate and prepare for the ceremony.  The guests begin to arrive and the ushers are in place. Pretty soon it’s time for the processional music to begin and one by one, the bridesmaids make their way down to the front of the ceremony.  

As the groom clasps his hands… they aren’t clasped out of nervousness but excitement.  The music builds, the mother of the bride stands and all of the guests follow her lead. 

The groom looks up, and here comes the BRIDE!!! His best friend, his companion, his sweetheart. And she’s ABSOLUTELY stunning.  The closer she gets, the bigger he smiles.

Groom waiting on a beach for his bride for their first look before their summer wedding.

Now let me put a disclaimer on here before we continue…our clients are not required to do a First Look by any means! We used to feel bad for sharing this option with couples who were against it, because we didn’t want to push anything on them. However, we’ve seen the benefits of a first look over and over again, and so we only share this because we want the BEST for our couples!! 

It’s totally ok if couples choose not to share a first look!  It’s just our preference to do one for many reasons.... Keep reading to find out more of the benefits of sharing your first look privately!

For brides not interested in a First Look, we have included a wedding timeline template that is packed full of suggestions to make the most out of your special day. 

Wedding photography should you do a first look?

The Top 6 Reasons you should do a first look on your wedding day

  1. MORE photos for your investment

    You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography. An article in the Huffington post stated that over 21% of couples wish they had spent more on photos, so why not get the most amount of photos with the time you already have booked. With a first look, you’ll receive on average about 40% MORE Portraits of the two of you, as well as overall 10-15% more photos in your gallery. This was based off of our weddings over the last 2 years. With a first look, you make the most out of this large investment and get the most for your money.

  2. ENJOY THE SURPRISE PRIVATELY AND FREELY

    You actually get to have intimate time on your wedding day with your man. Most brides don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally SHOCK him with your gorgeous-ness… he can’t even tell you how amazing you look.  He can’t touch you, embrace you or even SPEAK to you. You have to wait until 30 minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you how amazing you look.  And after 30 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance.

  3. EXTEND YOUR DAY BY SEVERAL HOURS

    First Looks allow you to extend your wedding day.  Normally the wedding day would start when you come down the aisle, then the ceremony would end, you would rush through portraits so that you’re not late for the introductions and then it’s reception time.  With a first look, your wedding day is extended by SEVERAL HOURS! Instead of being rushed for your bridal party portraits, you actually get to enjoy them and have fun hanging out with your BEST friends on your wedding day. 

  4. YOUR ONLY ALONE TIME

    First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day. Normally portraits are a little rushed after the family formals, and it can be hard to really get back into that “lovey dovey” place, especially with family around! When you have just shared your first look, you’re READY to love on each other, and we always capture some super sweet images during those moments!

  5. DIMINISHES Stress & NERVES

    Your wedding day is an already full and busy day, having to rush through a bunch of photos or worried about running out of time can be stressful. We say, about 50% of our couples who have decided to do a first look, to one of the partners didn’t want to have it. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how stressful it can be. Many of our couples tell us after they had their first looks, they felt their stress and anxiety diminish to a point they could just relax and enjoy their day.

  6. Get to spend more time with your guests

    This one is simple, a First Look will save time by getting a lot of your wedding photos done earlier. This saves time from the ceremony to reception transition, and gives you more time with your guests.


    Most of our couples end up really happy that they decided to do a First Look, especially because of all the benefits. That being said, a few of our clients want to forgo the First Look in exchange for seeing each other for the first time coming down the aisle. We want to support all our couples and this is why we are sharing our knowledge and experience to help make an informed decision.