Virginia Based Joyful Wedding Photographer

Why you should do a First Look
It's an experience you don't want to miss out on!

For Brides

April 6, 2020

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Great Marsh Estate First lookEveryone has an opinion about doing a first look on your wedding day. In fact, Josh and I considered a first look for our wedding day but decided against it. YUP, we told our photographer no when he asked about doing a first look. So you might be wondering why I am about to tell you why you SHOULD do one on your wedding day! Well, our wedding day was perfectly imperfect (that’s a story for another day!), and I wouldn’t change anything about our day except for our decision to not do a first look. So, let me tell you why!


We wanted the “aisle moment”

This is the real reason that Josh and I decided against the first look. We wanted that aisle moment that everyone dreams of when planning a wedding. As I was waiting to walk down the aisle with my dad, I was so excited. The butterflies were real, and the nerves were strong. I told my dad multiple times to hold me up so I didn’t fall. As soon as we walked into the church, Josh was the only person I saw. Seriously, it was that movie moment where I didn’t see anyone but him. But then the mass started and couldn’t talk, hug, or kiss. I had to retroactively hear Josh’s reaction to the moment we have been looking forward to for years when we got back to the limo! During our ceremony, my heart ached to be able to hear Josh’s reaction immediately.

We got our dream of the “aisle moment” for sure, but only individually. Our experience was not shared with each other until the moment was long gone, making our reactions feel less sincere (even though they totally weren’t!!). Watching my couples experience their first looks together has really changed my view on this moment forever. Since I set up my brides to walk toward the groom, they still get to show off their whole look and walk towards their groom like in the ceremony to emulate the aisle moment. But instead of having to continue with the ceremony, they get to instantly share with each other all their feelings and thoughts, and get to kiss and hug as long as they want!


Many of my brides who have chosen to do a first look have also mentioned experiencing the aisle moment too. In fact, many of my grooms actually still cry at the altar as their bride walks towards them. It’s not because it’s their first time seeing their bride, but because they realize the weight of the moment and are so excited for what’s to come! Jess still teared up when Kelsea walked down the stairs towards their ceremony!


Getting married in the church comes with certain traditions, like not seeing each other!

This wasn’t a huge reason for Josh and me, but this is a reason many couples have when choosing not to see each other before the ceremony! But this tradition is not as innocent as it seems! In reality, this “tradition” comes from the time of arranged marriages. To prevent the groom from running away from the business agreement the two families had come to, the bride and groom were not allowed to see each other before the ceremony! It evolved into families saying that it was bad luck to see the bride before the wedding. But, if I had known that this “tradition” had evolved from preventing the groom from running away, I may have seen things differently!

The anticipation and excitement before the ceremony are what I want to feel before seeing him!


Right before seeing Josh, I actually remembered last minute that I had put my dress on incorrectly! I had to rush to the back room with my sister to have her clasp the inside of my dress so that it would stop falling down! I rushing around so much that I barely go to enjoy the excitement and anticipation right before seeing him.

Many brides who choose not to have a first look are also really nervous. I was a bit nervous too! I hadn’t talked to Josh all day, which was not normal for us and I wanted to! Those nerves can come across in so many ways, but can definitely affect the entire morning up until the party gets started after the ceremony.

But all of my brides who have done a first look have been more relaxed right before their ceremony! They had the excitement and anticipation about their first look instead of the ceremony, and got to enjoy the rest of their wedding day! They were ready to start their lives with their hubby! By seeing their groom before the ceremony, they were just as excited for the next part of the day without all the nerves to make the moment less exciting!

It’s ultimately up to you and your groom

Each couple is different. Each situation is different. Deciding to do a first look is not an easy conversation, and I know exactly how it feels to have those types of conversations. And as much as I want ALL of my brides and grooms to experience a first look, I ultimately understand where my couples are coming from when they choose not to! Because I was there!

Either way, your wedding day should be YOUR day; a perfect reflection of your relationship and love story. And I can’t wait to be there to capture it all!


Wanna see more of this beautiful Great Marsh Estate wedding day for Kelsea and Jess?!! See it here!

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I'm Hanna, and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal about our lives, weddings, and other photography things! Stay a while and say hello!

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