The 'First Look' Explained


When you’re planning your wedding day with me, one of my first questions will be about your timeline! More and more couples are adopting a new wedding-day strategy commonly called the "First Look".


The 'First Look' is a planned moment, on a wedding day, when the couple comes together, after preparing for the day apart, to see each other for the first time in a private setting before the ceremony. This moment can happen in any way or location the couple sees fit.  Most prefer to be alone, with only their photographers, capturing the moment from afar.


Now, the idea of a couple seeing each other before the ceremony, even in a controlled and honorable way, sends some people into a cold sweat.  It is common that I overhear a confused guest/family member/attendant utter, "I thought the Bride and Groom couldn't see each other before the ceremony."  This is a normal reaction.  It simply hasn't been done in our society in any other way for a looooonng time. 

Traditionally, couples would not see each other before a wedding ceremony because they had not even MET before and the arrangement was put in place so that they could not go back on the wedding based on their future spouse's appearance.  Obviously,  a lot has changed since then but we've retained the tradition.  The meaning of it has changed and now people look forward to the anticipation and emotion of their 'down-the-aisle' moment.

Danielle Salerno Photography Beach Wedding Cape May NJ Hotel Alcott

When educating my couples about the 'First Look' vs a 'Traditional' timeline, I always aim to respect their views.  But I do insist on explaining how the 'First-Look" has the potential to improve their day.  If, after hearing me out, they still feel that their 'down-the-aisle' dream is more important, then I am very happy to make that dream come true.

Danielle Salerno Photography First Look Wedding Gray and Blue Groom Washington Inn

Why a First-Look may Be a Good Choice For You:

  1. You get Two Mind-Blowing Moments on your Wedding Day!

Couples are hesitant to try a 'First Look' because they are worried that seeing each other before the ceremony will ruin the moment they have dreamed about.  I completely understand that concern.  However, I can tell you from my experience with my own wedding and the weddings of my clients,  that the 'First Look' does not take away the emotions of your ceremony; it simply gives you another fun moment of anticipation and excitement! 

Your 'First-Look' is an amazing moment of feeling that the day has finally arrived but it is not your wedding ceremony.  Your ceremony, my friends, is EPIC.  As soon as your PERSON comes into view it's full-on tunnel vision - can't hear, lump in your throat, sweaty palms, a million thoughts and none at the same time. It doesn't matter one lick that you saw them all dressed up earlier because, this time, it's REAL and HAPPENING.

2. The 'First Look" is private, honest, and without rules!

Danielle Salerno Photography First Look Wedding Groom Gray Washington Inn

The 'First Look' gives you a private moment with your future spouse in which you can fully express yourself, give them a giant hug, ask how they're feeling, you-name-it!  If you think about it, seeing each other for the very first time at the ceremony can be nerve-wracking and constricting.  Many people will hold back their emotions so that the many eyes on them don't spot a tear.  Others want to talk to their future spouse, hug, or hold hands but the priest begins his sermon and you're along for the ride.  If you already got that moment, it can take some pressure off and help you to enjoy! 

3. The 'First Look' gives you time freedom!  


The 'First Look' allows you to structure your day in a number of beneficial ways!  Most couples use it to get all their portraits out of the way before the ceremony.  (Hello, Hors D'Oeurves at Cocktail Hour).  This also extends your day and your celebration for a minimum of an hour, which is precious because it truly does fly-by!

Bonus: Once you see each other, there is no more sneaking around your venue!

Danielle Salerno Photography First Look holding hands rbide and groom latitude longitude coordinates bracelet

So, how does that sound?  If the idea still doesn't grab you but you do appreciate the benefits, you may want to check out my blog post about timelines!  In it, I offer a couple alternatives to the First Look, that, if executed correctly can have you enjoying the benefits without the peeking!

If you're interested in getting in touch with me about my photography services for your wedding day, let's chat!

Wishing you the best in your planning!