written & photographed by
Lexi Alexander of LRA Photo
When it comes to a first look between a couple, you may love the idea or you’re not a fan at all. I totally understand! That’s why I’m going to share a little bit about the benefits of a first look and alternative options if you decide the first look isn’t for you.
So why should you have a first look? Let’s dive into the four reasons why I think they are absolutely worth doing.
The first look
One of the best things about a first look is that it can be an intimate moment between just you and your soon-to-be husband or wife. No one else has to be around (except the photographers!). Since your big day is filled with ceremonial moments, this might be one of the only times that the two of you are alone on your wedding day. During your first look, you can take as much time as you choose, whether it be short and sweet, or 15 minutes. This is the time to embrace each other and emotionally connect before your big day officially begins.
Did you realize when you decide to have a first look, you will receive almost 40% more portraits than you typically would? I know it’s crazy, but choosing this option allows more opportunities for capturing more photos of just the two of you. You’ll receive pictures of the intimate first look, along with both of your reactions to seeing each other for the first time. It’s amazing to me to see how most guys react when they first see their bride! This alternative is a time-saver, and will allow us to grab many pictures before your ceremony. Then after you officially say “I do,” we’ll grab a few just-married pictures and off you go to enjoy your reception with your guests.
If one of your concerns about doing a first look is how your partner might react, then let me share a few things. When you walk down the aisle toward your groom, yes, he’s seeing you for the first time. But so are all of your guests as well! All eyes are on you! If you want this to be an intimate time with each other, then he may not be comfortable sharing that with you in front of everyone. Doing a first look in private will allow him to convey to you, in his truest self, how stunningly gorgeous you look!
Finally, the last benefit that I will mention is that having seen each other already will help calm (most of) your nerves. Since you’ve seen one other and spent some time together, most of the pre-wedding nerves will be gone, which is a bonus! Most of the time, grooms will say that they were hesitant to do a first look, but after they did it, they were so happy they did!
alternatives to the first look
Let’s talk now about the more classic or traditional order of events, without having a first look. There are several alternatives you could do if you want to share an intimate moment with your soon to be spouse before the ceremony.
One of the more popular choices is a “first touch.” A first touch is when the groom is on one side of a door or corner and the bride on the opposite side. You will not see each other, but you are still able to hold hands and talk to each other before the ceremony. I have seen many people do this in place of a first look. This sweet touch to your day can be as long as you would like!
The second idea is similar to a first touch, but using two chairs back to back. This time could include praying together, or saying private vows or sentiments to each other. You could each write your vows and read them to each other. Some couples love the idea of writing your own vows, but don’t want to read them in front of all their guests. So instead, you could read them to each other before the ceremony and in private.
Another idea is to get each other a gift. Have your maid of honor and best man deliver your gifts to your soon-to-be spouse. You could include a letter with the gift saying how much you love each other and you cannot wait to see each other at the altar!
If you like the idea of a first look, but you’re still not comfortable doing it with your fiancé, another option is doing it with a special person in your life like your dad, mom, grandparents, or even your bridesmaids! I love seeing the reactions of your loved ones during first looks, whether it’s a dad crying, or your bridesmaids in awe of how beautiful you look.
Whether you choose to do a first look or a first touch, these are all ideas you can use that will create some really sweet pictures. Regardless of what you choose, your day will be fascinating and one of the most memorable days of your life!
Lexi Alexander is a wedding photographer and owner of LRA Photo based in Columbus, Ohio and also serves the Savannah, Georgia area. She delivers beautiful imagery that captures one of life’s biggest moments for the elegant and romantic brides. One of the most important things is that she wants all of her couples to be comfortable during their engagement session and wedding day. She wants to be that friend you can lean on during wedding planning, and an extra bridesmaid the day of the wedding.