Why you should do a First Look on your Wedding Day

Photo Tips

July 14, 2022

From shaking off nerves, to exchanging more personal vows, a first look on your wedding day is a great option!  If you aren’t sure about this new tradition, this post 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 I would never want any of my couples to feel pressured to go with this option.  However, I do want to make sure that I share all of the benefits of a first look, because there is a reason 90% of my couples do this and LOVE it!

first look on your wedding day - 
 michigan photographer


I  have confessed my deep love for “First Looks” numerous times already. There is a reason for this. 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 can talk about those brides because I was one of them! My husband, Jeff wanted to see me for the first time while I was walking down the aisle…. I’ll admit, his reaction was the most emotional I’d seen him!  Isn’t that EVERY girl’s dream? Who doesn’t want that reaction?

The good news about first looks? Your groom will have a truly genuine reaction without everyone watching, and they still LOSE IT when their bride comes down the aisle (especially if you save the veil for the ceremony).  If I could’ve had it my way, we would’ve had that special moment when I got to show off my dress and hug and kiss and laugh. While walking down the aisle on my wedding day was a moment that I will treasure for a lifetime, I wouldn’t have been quite so anxious waiting before those doors opened. We also would’ve had SO many more portraits of the two of us since it rained the whole time we had scheduled for portraits.


After experiencing my own wedding and shooting so many others…. I’ve come to this conclusion.  Some couples love “traditions”…. but what a bride REALLY wants when it comes to her groom seeing her for the first time, is a REACTION.  Those who are not interested in a First Look usually think that by seeing each other beforehand, they will lose part of that reaction. They also assume that it will not be as emotional or as intimate as it would be if they were coming down the aisle. What I have found is quite the opposite!  Everyone knows that wedding days are a bit stressful for the bride and groom.  

The whole day is focused on them, they need to look their best, hair and make up ran long, the groom has no idea what side the boutonniere is supposed to go on, and little by little, the tension grows.

Without a first look on your wedding day:

It’s before the ceremony and the gravity of what is about to happen starts to sink in and the calm, collected groom who was playing golf just a few short hours ago is now starting to feel a little anxious. So what happens next?  The groom waits in a little room somewhere for his queue from the coordinator.  It seems like it’s taking FOREVER.  Finally, the coordinator leans her head in and hurries the groom to get ready.  With clammy hands, the groom enters the ceremony and what does he find? Anywhere from 80-300 people and they’re all looking where? Right at his face… because everyone has expectations and anticipation about his first reaction. This is the farthest thing from a private, intimate moment.

Sure, it’s SO powerful and SO wonderful. … I already said that walking down the aisle was one of the BEST PARTS of my WHOLE wedding day!! It’s magical!! But when I walked down the aisle, I was a nervous wreck. My husband still had a totally ego boosting reaction, but all I wanted was to run up and hug him and check out how spiffy he looked.

WITH a first look on your wedding day

For couples that have a first look, the nerves are gone and when the nerves are gone… true emotions are free to be expressed in a way that’s sure to bring on the waterworks. So, if I were to condense what I just wrote: Grooms normally become incredibly nervous on wedding days, even if they seem cool and collected.   

Now let me put a disclaimer on here

My clients are NOT required to do a First Look by any means! I used to feel bad for sharing this option with couples who were against it, because I didn’t want to push anything on them. However, I’ve seen the benefits of a first look over and over again, and so I only share this because I want the BEST for my couples!! It’s totally ok if you choose not to share a first look!  It’s just my preference to do one for many reasons….

Check out THIS POST to find out more of the benefits of sharing your first look privately! Not interested in a First Look? Consider a First Touch instead. Let’s chat about how we’ll create a special timeline to fit everything in!  

Let me know in the comments if you’d do a first look on your wedding day. Want to learn more about booking Michelle to photograph your wedding? Click HERE for all the info!

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