Why we did a First Look

So originally our blog calendar said we’d blog about getting ready to go along with our timeline suggestions for planning your perfect day.  But a dear friend of mine who is getting married this year messaged me after our last post.  We talked about her timeline and how a first look would allow her to get all her portraits in before the sun went down, but her fiance just wasn’t on board.  We talked about possibly me having a chat with him to convince him why they should do a first look, but I thought maybe sending him a blog post would be a little less obtrusive.  Maybe?  So before I start, know that I suggest first looks for my best friends and for weddings we aren’t photographing.  I suggest first looks because Michael & I did a first look on our wedding day and it was AMAZING.  I suggest first looks because it’s a win-win-win-win-win-win.. you get the point.. EVERYONE wins.

In case you aren’t familiar, a first look is when the couple opts to see each other before the ceremony.

From a photographers perspective, the first look is our favorite time of the day!  We love being there as our couples see each other for the first time and it is so much fun capturing the emotion of that amazing moment.

From a bride’s perspective, the first look was my favorite time of our wedding day!  Seriously.  Michael is my best friend, and the idea of not seeing him until 4:00pm on one of the biggest days of my life seemed impossible.  Our first look allowed me to spend more time with my best friend.  Plain and simple.

Doing a first look means spending more time together on your wedding day. 


View More: http://katelynjames./4Wrg8127699

View More: http://katelynjames./4Wrg8127699


We never want to push an idea on our couples, but we also want our couples to know that a first look was one of the BEST decision we made on our own wedding day!  It’s tough trying to fit family portraits, bridal party portraits, and your bride & groom portraits in the hour block between your ceremony and reception.  But because we did a first look, we didn’t have to!  All we had to do was family portraits (which in retrospect, we could have taken care of before the ceremony too) and then had time for more “just married” portraits.  Which also meant that we had a little more alone time together as a MARRIED couple!

Choosing to do a first look relaxed our timeline, and our stress levels. 

Some people shy away from doing a first look because they want to make sure they have that special moment of seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony.  But I promise you.  It’s special.  Our first look was wonderful.  It calmed me down so much being able to see him.  Those few moments before you walk down the isle are intense!  It was so nice to have already seen Michael and be able to process those emotions together.  But believe me, it didn’t stop Michael from bawling as I walked down the aisle.  That moment of the bride walking towards the groom to pledge their life to each other is special, regardless. You’re getting MARRIED!  Having seen each other before hand isn’t going to change that.

Even though we had seen each other, we didn’t miss out on our “aisle moment”. 

Bless his heart, he tried to hold it back..
View More: http://katelynjames./4Wrg8127699

View More: http://katelynjames./4Wrg8127699

View More: http://katelynjames./4Wrg8127699

And my favorite part, the first look gives you the opportunity to see each other for the first time in private.  You get a personal, intimate, moment together before having to stand in front of everyone you know!  It’s just you and it’s captured by us.  Hug, kiss, tell her how beautiful she looks and how blessed you are – scream it even, cry, laugh, twirl around and let him see the whole dress, pray together, and enjoy some time together. Things go by so quickly on your wedding day, your attention will be constantly pulled this way and that but this gives you the opportunity for some alone time, which is invaluable.  And the best part is, you’ll have images of that incredibly special and intimate moment, so you can relive it forever.

When we first saw each other, we got to act like fools and cry and kiss and laugh and hug in private. 

We are happy to say we have never heard anyone regret doing a first look.  We certainly don’t.  All our couples (and everyone else we know!) have been happy with their decision to veer from a traditional timeline.  But like all other decisions for your wedding day, you need to do what you feel is right for you.

View More: http://katelynjames./4Wrg8127699

Next week we will talk about even more reasons we LOVE first looks, with some “reviews” from a couple of our past brides.  How do you feel about first looks?  Let us know in the comments!


Thank you, Katelyn James for the amazing pictures!

we're Michael & Laura


hey friends,

a husband and wife photography team based in Richmond, Virginia (though we LOVE to travel!). We hope you enjoy browsing some of our most recent work, reading our tips and tricks for brides, and taking a little peek into our life.  

+ More about us



For Brides

more categories


For Photographers


  1. I love this so much!!!!!! You had SUCH a fun and powerful wedding day!!!!

    • michaelandlauraphotography@gmail.com says:

      Thank you, Katelyn! It was such an amazing day and we are so happy you were a part of it! xo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


let's be friends






The Blog