Planning with a Purpose, Part 3: The First Look

Before the internet became a thing, it was traditional for the bride and groom to see each other for the first time down the aisle at the wedding ceremony. First looks are somewhat of a new and modern idea where the wedding couple decides (mutually) to break that tradition and see each other BEFORE the ceremony. Some people think this is bad luck, and that's okay. But before you really make up your mind on the subject, you need to understand why couples are choosing this option over the traditional alternative, and why it serves a purpose in your overall wedding timeline.

Part 1: Details
Part 2: Getting Ready and the Bridal Suite
Part 3: The First Look
Part 4: Wedding Party and Family Formals
Part 5: The Ceremony
Part 6: Reception


First looks are popular because they allow for quick transition from family formals to reception. This time is valuable to consider for your wedding guests because it is the time they spend waiting on you. The more time pictures take up is more time your guests will have to wait at cocktail hour. Couples are preferring more time now to spend WITH their guests and not AWAY from them. It's important to remember that some guests travel a long way to see you and you need to consider their time. First looks, when properly planned and executed, will allow you that time to spend mingling with those guests at cocktail hour and reception.


By this part of the day, we've already grabbed shots of your most cherished wedding details. You've put on your wedding dress and have enjoyed spending valuable time with your female family members and bridesmaids in the bridal suite. You look BEAUTIFUL, and it's finally time to go see your groom at the first look!

This happens right after you finish getting dressed. I like to spend at least THIRTY minutes time for the first look. It's enough time to allow you both to see each other and have a few private moments before I jump in and begin taking more photos. Romantic bride and groom portrait time has got to be my FAVORITE part of the wedding day. This is the time where we take those pictures you'll cherish forever. You know, the ones you'll print out and hang on your wall, set as your profile pictures on social media, and share with your family members. This is usually the time my couples remember most as a carefree, relaxing,  and overall enjoyable part of the day. Enjoy spending these little moments together because it's what you've waited for, and some of the few memories you'll keep and will live on as you build your life with your new spouse. 


After bride and groom portraits come wedding party portraits. You know, your best bridesmaids and groomsmen all together in one picture. These pictures are always so fun and I love getting to experience this at each wedding. Stay tuned for Part FOUR of this series where I'll discuss tips on wedding party and family portraits on the big day!

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Michelle Abernathy

Michelle Whitley Photography, 111 Teachers Way #1205, Gaithersburg, MD, 20877, United States