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SDP Journal

Should We Do a First Look? ~ Quad Cities Wedding Photographer

April 7, 2022

Couples discussing their timeline are always confronted with the question– Should we do a first look? Though un-traditional, the first look has become a popular addition to most wedding day timelines.

Bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day

What is a first look?

The first look or sneak peek is the moment when the couple sees each other for the first time on their wedding day. No guests, no distractions. It is a very intimate moment that the couple shares while the photographer(s) capture their emotions and reactions.

Unlike the traditional reveal of the bride walking down the aisle as being the time when the couple sees each, the first look is a more intimate moment and allows the couple to act naturally when seeing each other for the first time. The first look allows time to look into each other’s eyes, calm those nerves, and basically ground yourselves in what will be an otherwise chaotic day. The bride isn’t worried about not tripping down the aisle, and the groom isn’t trying to hold it together in front of all their guests. It is a moment when the two of you can really take in and savor the moment of seeing each other just before you say your ‘I do’s’.

Bride and groom first look in hotel lobby

What are the benefits?

• The first look is ideal because both of you will be looking your best. Hair and makeup is still perfectly in place and you’ll have time to do any touch-ups before the ceremony.

• Including a sneak peek to your timeline also allows us photographers the opportunity to capture the reactions of some of the guests as the bride makes her way down the aisle. When there isn’t a first look, each photographer spends this time focused on the bride and groom to capture their expressions and reactions to one another.

• A first look provides more flexibility on the wedding day. By breaking couples portraits up into before the ceremony AND after the ceremony, there’s a built-in back-up plan in case of rain or other emergencies.

• Because the couple who planned a first look has seen one another before the ceremony, we can knock out a lot of those bridal party and family portraits that would normally have to wait until after the ceremony. This minimizes the amount of time you’ll have to build in between your ceremony and reception.

• Finally, the sneak peek is one of the best ways to eliminate the wedding day jitters. Since you already have the emotional part of seeing each other for the first time out of the way, you are more relaxed and calm walking down the aisle and saying your vows. This allows you to be more present, relaxed, and able to enjoy your wedding day.

bride and groom first look in empty loft

Should we do a first look?

My answer is always YES! Do I require it? Absolutely not. Whether or not to do a first look is a decision to be made by the couple. My job as the photographer is to explain how that affects your portrait timeline and plan accordingly, whatever you decide.

groom and groom first look on riverfront


Sarah DeMaranville Photography is a luxury wedding photographer based in the Iowa/ Illinois Quad Cities. We love photographing outdoor weddings, as well as museum, country club, and mansion weddings. Our favorite places include The Morton ArboretumCompany 251The Bend Event CenterThe Armour House at Lake Forest AcademyProvidence Vineyard, and the Drake Oak Brook.

SDP regularly books 18-24 months out. Please reach to check availability and learn about how we can make your wedding day portraits magical. 

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