First Looks – Audio Blog 4


So today, we are going to talk about something that I’m surprised more people don’t know more about.  Because it’s becoming so popular. Yeah, which is “ choosing to do a first look”.

So we still meet with clients who are either really unsure about a first look or even have no idea what a first look is… 

So we just thought it would be a good idea to talk through what is a first look and just give you some things to think about if you are considering a first look.

Yeah, let’s do it.


So to start off, what is a first look? Well, if you have no idea what it is, it is when a bride and groom decide to see each other before the ceremony. And if you’re already like, “Oh my gosh, definitely not”. Please don’t stop listening… we have a lot to consider, along with it. So hang with me.

It is just a moment where… Just the bride and groom have together before the ceremony. And we think that there are a lot of great reasons to do that. See all the photos from Kate & Eric’s first look at Amber Grove.

richmond wedding photographers take first look at amber grove virginia

richmond wedding photographers take first look at amber grove virginia

richmond wedding photographers michael and laura at amber grove virginia

richmond wedding photographers first looks at amber grove virginia


Yes, and our first main reason, is that you will just overall get more photos of the two of you guys. We’re basically giving you more time by doing a first look. More than a traditional wedding would have, where we’re trying to fit it all in the space of a cocktail hour, and maybe a little bit of sunset portraits.

So having this extra time ahead of time, it’s about 30 to 40 minutes, that’s just the two of you. And both of us are focused solely on that. There’s no other distractions during that time. It’s just time for us to be with you guys and you guys mainly to share a moment. So, because with that, we still typically do pictures right after you guys get married, and then maybe some sunset based on your timeline. But over all of that would mean that you guys get more photos.


Yeah, and so leading into that our second big reason is that you just have an overall more relaxed timeline. We aren’t trying to cram everything into your cocktail hour,we get to spend more time with you, and you get to spend more time together. It just kind of relaxes the whole day.

So if you think about it, if you don’t do a first look everything’s happening in that one hour after the ceremony. You’re doing all your family pictures, you’re doing all your bridal party pictures. You’re doing all the ‘you and your bridesmaids’, ‘groom with the groomsmen’, and you’re doing all the pictures with the two of you in that one hour block. which is really smooshed together, especially if you’re going to another location. Especially if you’re a winter wedding and you’re losing sunlight. And especially if you have a big family and you wanna do a bunch of extended family portraits. It’s a lot to cover. So if you are doing a first-look, so much of that gets to happen before the ceremony even starts. Which is really just gonna ease the stress of the day.

Yes, totally… And going along with that. Not only will you have more time with just two of you but your bridal party will also happen ahead of time, right after those first look photos.  Which means your bridal party after the ceremony, doesn’t have to worry about anything unless they’re part of the family. They can just go and enjoy the rest of their evening!

And they’re going to love that.

The groomsmen especially love just heading straight to the bar. Sam & Terence’s first look was at the amazing Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach!

richmond wedding photographers take first look at the cavailer in virginia beach

richmond wedding photographers take first look at the cavailer in virginia beach

richmond wedding photographers michael and laura at the cavailer in virginia beach



And then point 3, which I think is a huge one, is that you just get more time in the day together. So, the biggest day of your life. You shouldn’t have to wait until 5 PM to see the love of your life, right? For our wedding day, our ceremony wasn’t until 4:30. And I just could not imagine not talking to Michael until 4:30 in the afternoon. That just seemed crazy to me.

I wanted to see him. I wanted to be able to hug him and I wanted to be able to spend more time with him and a first look allowed us to do that.

Yes, and going along with that, some couples also decide to spend just a few moments together by themselves during their cocktail hour. 

I think in some of our favorite weddings, the bride and groom chose to have a few of those really tasty appetizers that you so painstakingly picked out, sent to a private room or a space by the water. Where a little table is set up for the two of them and they just took 10-15 minutes. Just a little bit of time where they just hung out with just the two of them. And I think that’s always really special. 

Yeah, and I think something else that goes along with that is that some comes also decide they wanna join the cocktail hour after. So we would still typically do, “just married” pictures right after the ceremony, and family. But with doing a first-look we have less to fit in there. So you would just be able to join. 

There’s some flexibility. Kylie & Kenny had their first look at their ceremony, and the rest of their portraits at the Historic Post Office.

richmond wedding photographers michael and laura take first look in virginia beach

richmond wedding photographers michael and laura take first look in virginia beach

richmond wedding photographers michael and laura take first look in virginia beach



Number four… it is when you still look your best. For brides they’ve just finished with their hair and make-up, so everything still looks perfect and the curls are still intact. For guys, they haven’t messed up their suit, there’s no wrinkles, their boutonniere was just placed on. They haven’t had too much to drink, yet either. 

If it’s July, you haven’t sweat through your outfit yet.  

If it was Michael, he would be drenched.

And so, you still look great, which is when you’re gonna get the bulk of your pictures. So all of these details that you put together and worked so hard to look amazing on your wedding day. That’s when you’ll get photographed, which is just a perfect time.


Yes, and then 5, which I think is one of the bigger points especially for grooms-when they come to talking about the first look is having that “aisle moment”.

Yeah, I think that’s the big thing that still trips people up about maybe not doing the first look.. it’s like, “Oh I really want that moment, right?

Yeah, and in our experience, especially my experience, we did the first look we had 45 minutes to hang out and just chat and take some photos with each other, and then once the ceremony started, I still cried, when she walked down the aisle. 

It wasn’t lost on me. I think it’s because it’s not just the two of you there, right? All your family, are here, your friends are here, they’re all standing up there with music’s playing. That’s kind of the moment that you want. I think for most of our couples that are on the fence and decide to do a first look… Even the guys will come up and say, “Hey that was definitely something we were glad to do.  


Along with that, not only do you still get the aisle moment, but you get a whole other moment where it’s just the two of you and you can actually react to each other. That’s what I needed. I needed to be able to run up to Michael and scream, and throw myself around him into his arms and just kinda hang out and laugh with him. Not be on stage at the ceremony where everybody’s staring at me and I can’t even say like “HEY!”… Or give him a hug, I have to be serious for the ceremony.

So I needed a moment to just ease my nerves, be my ridiculous (our ridiculous) self and just kind of enjoy a little bit of time actually being able to talk to each other. Not just walking up for the ceremony and having to have this serious thing happening. 


So those are our big five things about why we think that a first look is at least something that you should consider. Absolutely do what you feel like is best for you, talk to each other, pray about it, talk to your families, see how your mom feels. Whatever, but think about those five things..

  1. you’re gonna get more pictures
  2.  it’s going to be a more relaxed day and your bridal party is gonna love heading to cocktail hour
  3. you’re going to get more time together
  4. you’ll have pictures when you look your absolute best 
  5. You’re still gonna get that aisle moment while being able to ease your nerves 


We’ll put it in the blog post a couple reviews from clients who decided to do a first look, just so you can get their perspective as well. 

I feel like I’m a little bit sounding like I’m trying to convince you. I’m really not, but I do feel like it’s worth saying. We have never had a couple who regretted doing a first look. We always kind of give these details to our couples just to make sure that they’re fully informed about the choice that they’re making and a lot of couples who were kind of on the fence and then decided to do a first look, they come up to us afterwards and they say, “Oh my gosh, I’m so happy that we chose to do it”. 

Yeah, we’ve never had a couple be like… “I don’t know that that was really the right choice”.  But we have had multiple couples who didn’t choose to do a first look and then contacted us afterwards and said, Man, we really wish that we had done one. 

So again, totally not trying to convince you even though a little bit, that sounded like I was… 

Every year, we still have couples that do a traditional wedding and we still deliver hundreds of images of them too. 

Any way you wanna do it, is absolutely, how you should… It’s your wedding day. But it’s definitely something to consider.

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.  

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  1. […] you aren’t doing a first look (and even if you are) do sunset portraits. The best light is at sunset.  It’s always a little […]

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