A Case For First Looks

First Looks: Not necessarily a new thing in weddings. Orthodox Jews have been practicing unveiling ceremonies for centuries, Russian grooms "Pay the Ransom" for a Bride the day of the wedding by knocking on the door of her home and give money or jewels so the Bride will come out of her home, several other religions and cultures have a bride and blindfolded groom pray together before the wedding ceremony. However, First Looks have been gaining popularity substantially over the last few years. 

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For many couples, this non traditional practice may be the best recommendation. Many Brides who decide against a first look cite tradition or bad luck to see the bride before the wedding, many many more want that photo of their groom seeing them for the first time as they walk down the aisle. All of these are very honest, legitimate reasons to not have a first look. We'll get into that next week. 

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 There are a few pros for having a First Look. The biggest being the pure, raw, emotion captured by the photographer. This moment, usually set up privately between you and your groom, is so magical and heartwarming that it can make for some of the best images of the two of you on your wedding day. 

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Another big reason for a first look is you're able to have all of your group photos done before the ceremony so you can get to your cocktail hour and reception sooner. Simply, you've seen your groom, you've asked all of your important relatives that are on your group shot list to arrive ahead of time, the whole list gets knocked out right then and there. Easy, done. You guys say "I Do" then you go and party your night away. 

Another, and by far and away the BIGGEST benefit, is you get some extra quality time for just the two of you, even before you say “I do”. If you’re nervous, having a first look and seeing your love may ease quite a bit of those nerves. Plus, it’ll give you a sweet moment to connect and take a deep breath, before everything gets started.

When setting up your first look, it’s always important to remember this is an intimate, private moment between you and your groom. You’re going to want to speak with your venue and your coordinator about private spots and spaces away from the crowd. You’re not going to want to have mom and dad watching, or a whole bunch of your guests for that matter. Make sure to let your photographer know where and what time so they’re able to make sure to check and see if the lighting will work or if they need to bring in extra lighting equipment to make the shoot successful.

And communicate with your makeup artist to ensure they’re available to do touch ups….there will be tears and kisses and lots of them! 

There are a couple of ways by which a bride and groom can do a first look. You can have your bridal party back the two of you into one another and you turn around on the count of three, you can be on either side of a door, he could round a corner and see you….the list does go fairly long.

However, my personal favorite is “the Turn Around”. 

Your groom is on one end of a space….a balcony, patio, your ceremony site, some place….with his back to the entry way. You come through a door and walk up to him slowly, place your hand on his shoulder, he counts to three, and turns around. This has been the most successful method I’ve seen on a first look and it generally brings bout the best photos. 

No matter how you choose to do your first look, it’ll be uniquely yours…and the images will just be stunning!

The biggest thing to remember is it's your wedding day, it's completely up to you to have a first look or not. Whether you decide to have CCPhotoFactory document your special day or not, please do not let your photographer encourage you to do something you don't want to do for a simple, invalid reason like lighting or timing. Anyone worth their while (and your money) will know how to do your group shots at any time of day in most, if not all, conditions. 


Paul and Kayleigh were definitely nervous, pre wedding. Though, you’d never know it. Their smiling, eager faces showed no signs of wedding jitters. They giggled though group shots, discussed “executive decisions” with parents, joked with friends and loved ones…but all they could think was how excited they were to see one another.

After she slipped into her STUNNING gown, Kayleighs first question was “Can I see Paul?”
Almost simultaneously, DJ, my second photographer, stuck his head in the dressing room saying “Pauls ready to see Kayleigh.”

After a few deep breaths, and some creative repositioning, Paul was ready… and Kayleigh came out….

The second he turned around, Paul was absolutely enamored by how stunning Kayleigh looked. As cool of customers as they were, you could see Paul and Kayleigh were definitely much more ready to party after their first look.

Thanks for checking out the blog, guys! Stay tuned for more details on Kayleigh and Pauls amazing wedding and a case against first looks coming up soon!

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PS: I still have THREE engagement sessions to give away! Contact me to claim yours!!!

-Caity Colvard | CCPhotoFactory

Caity ColvardComment