Wedding Planning Tool #3: The First Look

July 9, 2021

Wedding Planning Tool # 3: The First Look

As you are planning your wedding, one of the harder things to decide on is what your Wedding Day Timeline will look like.  And in my opinion, there is ONE big part of the day that needs to be decided upon if you want to be able to plan the rest of the day… The First Look.

Gals, I have a little tip for you. Based on my experience, guys usually don’t care too much about the timeline. (I know you girls really like when your guy wants to be active in the planning process, but more times than not it’s like pulling teeth to get him to commit to helping… am I right?)  Although, I have found that there are some elements to the wedding day that guys have pretty strong opinions on. One of those is the First Look. So before making any kind of plans to add this into your wedding day timeline, make sure you talk to your fiancé about what he thinks on the matter.

So, tool #3…. Plan a First Look

But before I go any further, some people may not actually know what I mean by a “First Look.”

Traditionally, the first time the groom sees the bride on the wedding day will be when she walks down the aisle. But it seems like in the past few years first looks have been a really popular option.

An example of a first look would be when the bride and groom are finished getting ready, they find a perfect photo location, and then they go to see each other for the first time. This would be in lieu of seeing each other for the first time on the aisle. Typically this time together is done privately or with just very close family/friends watching.  

To be clear, the first look does not only have to be between a bride and groom. I have shot first looks with the bride and her father, bride and mother, and bride and bridesmaids. 

The first look is just a really fun way for the bride to present herself to a loved one for the first time with her wedding dress on.

The First Look Hunter Kittrell Photography

Consider The Benefits and Drawbacks to The First Look


  • As for the benefits, you will be able to work with your photographer during the planning process (a month or more) before the wedding to build out your timeline. The first look allows you time to get all of your personal shots knocked out before the ceremony.  That makes it possible for you to be able to roll from the ceremony straight into the cocktail hour or reception. That way you don’t just disappear from your own party for 30-45 minutes for pictures.
  • I have found that the first look is a great way for the bride and groom to release some of the stress and nerves of the wedding day. They are able to have a private moment to themselves to decompress and chat about the day.  I have been to weddings before when the groom was shaking up at the front because he was so incredibly nervous.  And I get it!  I needed a pep talk to get in front of all of those people too.  But, when the couple has that time together, it really does seem to ease some of those tensions.


  • One of the downsides is that there won’t be the same surprise, or shock and awe, that you get when the bride is walking down the aisle. Of course, that is a super special moment and there’s a lot of emotion surrounding it, but for the groom, there may not be quite as much excitement as if he was seeing the bride for the very first time.
  • Another downside may be that when you do a first look, there may be a chance that the guest for the wedding will see the bride and groom before ceremony time.  This may not be ideal because most couples like having the bride first being seen by the guests when she is walking down the aisle.


Some couples that choose to “keep it traditional” and let the first look be on the aisle will opt for some other fun pre-ceremony activities.  These other activities are also good ways to calm the nerves of the wedding day as well.

  • “First Touch” – this is where the couple will choose to hold hands around a corner so that they can still interact, but not see each other.  Sometimes it is just for a short chat, yet other times it is to say a little prayer.
  • Giving a card or gift to your future husband or wife to say something special and take their mind off of the stress.
  • And of course, surrounding yourselves with your favorite people and doing activities that you love before the wedding day really gets going.  For example, I was camping and chilling around a campfire with all of my best friends the night before my wedding.

It’s All Up To Y’all

As I said, The First Look is not for everyone.  There is a lot to consider and if you choose to do the first look before the ceremony, or if you do your couple’s photos after the ceremony, it’s something that you need to plan for.   I schedule zoom calls with all of my couples leading up to the wedding so that we can go over all of the timeline options for the day.  Sometimes wedding planners, day of coordinators, venues, DJs, or even parents, will help to put together that timeline, but as your photographer, it is nice to be able to review it with you so that we can build in enough time for all of your photography needs.

If you have any specific questions or want to talk to me more about joining you in your wedding journey, shoot me a message on my contact page.  I look forward to working with you on all of these things!

wedding photographer hunter kittrell photography willstella farm kernersville nc

wedding photographer hunter kittrell photography willstella farm kernersville nc