Why You Should Consider a Wedding First Look

As a wedding photographer, I’ve photographed my share of first looks. I can truthfully say it never gets old! I still find myself reaching for the tissues I keep on hand for moments like this. First looks are romantic, intimate, and real. If you’re still on the fence, here are a few of my favorite reasons to consider a wedding first look.

Not quite ready to go all-in with a true first look? No worries, you’ve got options! Instead of a full first look, you could try one of these romantic alternatives instead:

  • First touch or hug around a door
  • Blindfolded first look
  • A phone call
  • A no-peeking gift or letter exchange 
  • Recorded messages
  • First look with parents or wedding party
Susan Shek New York Wedding Photography

5 Reasons to Do a Wedding First Look

1. Allows for intimacy

A first look provides the time and space to focus on what’s most important on your wedding day – your love. A first look offers a private place to get away from all the noise, preparations, and gazing eyes to just be. Some couples sit and chat for a moment, some exchange gifts or love letters, and others even share a drink to kick off the day. You do you! It’s your day to enjoy.

Susan Shek New York Wedding Photography
2. Helps calm the nerves

You’re getting married because the other person is your other half. Your best friend, confidante. Your wedding day is one of the most momentous days of your life, which means it might elicit a few nerves and jitters. For some, it makes sense to spend quiet time alone with your other half and closest friend to calm those nerves before the ceremony.

3. Lets you be real

Understandably, some people aren’t fond of crying in front of others. However, you can be vulnerable, open, and expressive together without worrying about onlookers during a first look. A moment together gives you the chance to respond and reflect genuinely. First look photos are always some of my favorites, and I often get similar feedback from couples. That first look is a moment you want to freeze in time. It’s always an honor to capture the unbridled, pure emotion of it. And it’s my goal to photograph it in a way that lets you remember and relive those fleeting seconds again and again. The awe, the tears, the joy – it’s beautiful!

first look wedding day
4. Offers location flexibility

Across-the-aisle first looks are equally touching! I’m certainly not discouraging those. If you have your heart set on waiting until you walk down the aisle, please do so! But if you’re leaning toward an intimate vibe or unique backdrops, a first look lends itself to diverse locations and amazing lighting. 

Susan Shek New York Wedding Photography

Possible locations for gorgeous first looks include:

  • Gardens & courtyards
  • Forests & trees
  • Near a water feature
  • Breathtaking landscapes
  • Empty chapel or ceremony space
  • In front of the venue
  • Elegant staircases
  • Private room
5. Frees up time
  1. You may have to get ready just a bit earlier, and you’ll be in your wedding attire and hair and makeup longer, but most couples find the preparations worth it because they aren’t stressing later in the day. A first look allows you to get most of the couple’s photos and wedding party photos out of the way earlier (when hair and makeup are fresh). Then, we’ll only have to take family photos after the ceremony. That means you can meet up with your guests sooner for drinks and dancing! If you tend to stress about schedules and time, a first look may be a great option for you.
Susan Shek New York Wedding Photography

Be sure to take a peek inside my portfolio for more wedding tips, resources, and photos. I’d love to help answer any questions you have about our wedding photography and videography services. Get in touch here to get started. 

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