First Look: How To Pro Tips

I will always encourage my couples to have a First Look. Having a First Look grants you the opportunity to take a moment and breathe before your ceremony and having the rest of the day unfold together. If you’re going the more traditional route of getting ready separately, a First Look gives you and your partner a moment of calm. You’re able to truly be yourselves for a little while. Be entirely present in your emotions as you see your partner in their wedding attire while safe to express those emotions openly. After learning a thing or two about First Looks, I’m here to help you understand how to plan one so that you can incorporate the moment into your own special day with a list of First Look tips.

Typically, a standard First Look involves a partner tapping their future spouse on the shoulder for them to turn around and see each other in their wedding attire for the first time. While the emotions, expressions, and reactions are genuine, this approach can feel inorganic. If the tap-on-the-shoulder approach doesn’t sound ideal to you, your First Look can be planned out with your photography and/or videography team to your wants.

Your team will support you in creating and crafting the perfect First Look, as they will take into consideration the timing, location, and how it should unfold. You will have to plan in a little buffer time for flexibility, because if you’re doing your First Look outdoors, your documentary team will want to make sure they find the most scenic location and lighting situation.

Tip #1 Leave your belongings behind.

Yes. Leave your bouquet, phone, purse or any other item that may become cumbersome during this moment behind. You’ll want to have your hands free to embrace your partner, hold their hand, or touch their face as you take in their appearance. Remember, you’ll be seeing your partner for the first time in their wedding attire and you’re not going to want to worry about any items you may have with you. You’ll be able to pick up whatever else you need before heading out to the ceremony.

Tip #2 Do a gift or letter exchange.

If you want to make the moment feel more organic and natural, you can always opt to do a letter exchange before hand. Read the letter before going out to see your partner to really remind one another about the commitment that you’re about to give to each other. Alternatively, you could also do a gift exchange (which goes against tip #1, but sometimes rules are meant to be broken) where you find a secluded space for the two of you to sit and exchange gifts. You can then open your gifts together and genuinely enjoy the private moment between the two of you.

Tip #3 A First Look takes time.

Should you decide that you’d like to include a First Look on your wedding day, make sure that you schedule enough time for the two of you to really be present in the moment. Use it as a break to slow down, especially if you’ve been surrounded by a larger number of people in the morning while getting ready. Slow down, soak it in. This also means that it is impossible to have a quality First Look in 10 minutes. A First Look isn’t just a thing that you do on your wedding day because it’s on X checklist. A First Look is about bringing awareness to the connection that you have with your partner in a private and safe environment before you share your connection with your loved ones; if you’re having friends and family along. Plan to spend roughly 20-40 minutes on your First Look to really enjoy it with your partner.

Tip #4 Opt for a First Touch instead.

If you want to save seeing your partner for the first time as you walk down the aisle, yet you still want to share a private moment with your future spouse, you can always opt for a First Touch. You won’t be able to see your partner, but you can take a few moments to yourselves nonetheless. These are slightly different in that you’ll both be positioned so that you can’t see one another, like on either side of a door, but you’ll be able to hold hands. Don’t be afraid to have fun with this option!

Tip #5 Don’t assume your First Look will look like everyone else’s.

Your First Look can look like anything you want it to be. Don’t think that it has to happen just like you’ve seen all over social media or in wedding publications. Just like how your wedding day should be handcrafted to you, your First Look is no exception. If you want your first look to take place in the middle of a roller skating rink, do it. If you want to meet your future spouse under a willow tree, do it. What matters is that you’re getting a moment to spend with your partner privately before the rest of your day unfolds.

Need more help planning your own elopement or wedding? Check out these posts I think you’ll love:
What it’s like working with a photographer
How to write your own vows


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