Elopement Planning

The First Look: Should You Have One On Your Wedding Day?

A lot of couples are familiar with the concept of the first look, but many also don’t know if a first look is right for them, especially if they are deciding to elope. Let’s break down what a first look is, reasons why you may or may not want to do a first look during your wedding day, and some photos to inspire you.

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What is a First Look?

A first look is when a couple sees each other before their wedding ceremony. It doesn’t matter how big or small your wedding ceremony is, a first look allows you both a few moments together to get rid of any nerves before saying “I do”. For couples who elope, you can 100% still have a first look moment together, even if you have no one else attending your wedding ceremony.

Is it Bad Luck to do a First Look?

Some couples are all about traditions when planning their wedding day, and tradition states that seeing the “bride before the wedding is bad luck”. Don’t let this old tradition stop you from doing the first look if you really want to. The way couples are getting married is continuously changing every day. Couples are creating their own traditions and ditching the ones they don’t agree with. We should know! We see couples say no to tradition every day by deciding to elope instead of planning a big traditional wedding.

Why You Should Have a First Look

You should have a first look if you agree with any (or all) of these reasons:

You’ll Get Rid of Some of the Pre-Ceremony Nerves

If you’re having a ceremony with friends and family (no matter how many), you both may or may not be feeling extremely overwhelmed and nervous about exchanging vows in front of others or each other before seeing each other. If you have a first look during your wedding day, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in that one moment, feel all the feels, and have less anxiety walking down the aisle.

You Want to Exchange Vows Privately

Going off of the first reason with nerves. If you’re both feeling particularly nervous about saying your vows in front of a crowd (or even just your officiant), then you can opt to exchange personal wedding vows during your first look. This is a great idea for couples who want to talk about inside jokes or have an intimate moment together.


If there’s any reason to do a first look, it’s definitely for privacy. You can cry as much as you want (and then have time to touch up your makeup), and you can enjoy the moment together. First looks are a great moment for couples to have a moment completely to themselves and take a step back from their wedding day just to enjoy each other. Even if you’re eloping somewhere adventurous, first looks really help couples reflect and take in the moment together.

You’ll Get Awesome Photos

Have you ever seen first look wedding photos?! They are pretty amazing and always pull our heartstrings. We love seeing each reaction because they are always so different, but they are also so emotionally beautiful. First looks make for gorgeous photo moments, and you’ll also have the opportunity to sneak in some couple portraits as well.

You Can Have a Different Scenery

Having a first look is another way to get photos in a different location and even a different time of day. This is perfect for couples who are exploring multiple areas during their elopement, couples who are having a sunset wedding ceremony, or even couples who are having a micro wedding ceremony with their family and friends but exploring somewhere before for their portraits

Reasons Why You May Not Want To Have a First Look

The first look during your wedding day isn’t for everyone and that’s ok! Check out some reasons why couples may not want to have a first look. We’ll even include some alternatives.

You’re Eloping

For couples who elope, a first look may not be necessary because their whole wedding day is already focused on them. If you’re eloping just the two of you, then your wedding ceremony is typically the same as a first look. Like we mentioned earlier, you can always still have a first look if you’re eloping. We love it when couples get ready on separate sides of a national park and then meet in the middle together.

You’re Getting Ready together

With more couples creating their own traditions, comes couples getting ready together during their wedding day (because two hotel rooms can get pricey, among other reasons). We love it when couples get ready together during their wedding day because it creates a whole new intimacy during your photos. It’s also a great way to spend time together, listen to music, and just enjoy each other’s company.

You Don’t Love The Idea Of A First Look

Like with anything on your wedding day, you should not feel pressured to do something you don’t agree with or don’t like. First looks during weddings are gorgeous and we love them, but we can acknowledge that not everyone may want to do one. Whether it’s because you want to keep things traditional or if you want to see your partner for the first time when they walk down the aisle, plan a wedding you feel comfortable with. We always recommend getting two photographers for this moment to make it easier to catch both of your reactions.

First Look Alternatives

If you don’t want to fully see each other before your wedding ceremony, then these are some alternatives you both can discuss doing instead of having a first look:

First Touch

Feeling nervous and want to spend a bit of time with each other before the ceremony? The first touch is great because you can get rid of some of the nerves and get even more excited to see each other before the ceremony. The whole idea of no peeking at each other is also thrilling and such an icebreaker for a lot of couples. During this time you can exchange letters or just talk to each other.

Exchange Letters

Speaking of exchanging letters, you can always write a letter to each other explaining how you’re feeling as you get ready for your big day together. This one is definitely a tear-jerker, and it’s perfect for romantic couples.

Gift Exchange

Similarly, you can exchange gifts with each other. These can be sentimental and meaningful gifts or even something each of you can wear the day of (think necklaces, ties, cuff links, and bracelets).

Phone Call

If you’re missing your partner already and feeling extra antsy, then call them! Sometimes hearing each other’s voices can be soothing and exciting. You can tell each other how excited you are to get married, or you can even make each other laugh by exchanging a couple of jokes to keep your anxiety at bay.

Blind Folded Hugs

This one involves getting your wedding party to help but have them blindfold you both for a pre-wedding hug or back-to-back moment. We have seen couples do this and exchange a prayer together, or just take this moment to hold hands and embrace before the big day.


Are You Planning on Having a First Look?

Check out how gorgeous your first look would look if you decided to elope!

Videography by True Northwest Weddings


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