What is a First Look?

March 24, 2024

The 'first look' keeps growing in popularity and I wanted to explain why not only photographers love this but my couples as well.

Weddings are a lot of pressure and sometimes couples feel like they are wearing more of a hosting hat instead of being the guests of honor! This quiet time together (before all the chaos of guests) is some of the only time they can talk, tell each other how amazing the other looks (!), and can smooch (without all the eyes of loved ones)! There is more of an opportunity for portraits together! Building your timeline around this absolutely is worth it. Once you see each other then I can bring in the wedding party and even family.

Taking these traditional photos prior to the ceremony helps out the most important aspect of all: you can actually go to your cocktail hour! After the ceremony I do take just a few more portraits if the light is good usually 10 minutes max. During my consultations the grooms especially want to be able to mingle with guests and get a drink and eat all the great food.

I also love not just the couple doing a first look but others like the Daddy/Daughter or Bridesmaids. It is all up to you who you want to have a sneak peak with before all your guests.

From a partner's perspective:

How did you feel about your first look? I always knew on my wedding day that I wanted a quiet and intimate first look. I'm so grateful I was able to experience that with Erica! I am extremely happy that we decided to do that, especially with no one else around. If I had to re-do my wedding, I would 100% be keeping the first look.
What did you think was the benefit? The biggest benefit is just being able to see each other for the first time. I loved getting a "sneak peek" at how beautiful she was in her wedding dress and it made the nervousness and anxiousness of the day all fade away! In my eyes, I did not see any drawbacks to having a first look.
Partners that are on the fence: If the groom really wants to be surprised and wait till the ceremony to see his bride, then I say do what you want. But for those who are on the fence, I say definitely do a first look. You can customize the experience to have your friends/family watch the event happen, or you can keep it intimate and quiet and just let it be the two of you. Either way, the first look was one of the best parts of the day and I would do it again in a heartbeat.


Regardless on what route you take for your special day, just remember to be present in every moment.

All smiles,


Your girls and your favorite guy
We love to see this reaction!

More About Mariel

This blog is a small representation of my most current sessions, my clients love stories and all the adventures I am privilaged to go on! Ways to my heart include coffee, feeding me before I am "hangry" and anything shabby chic/rustic. My vintage camera collection grows everday and I am usually smiling and quoting random movies. Most importantly Mariel O. Photo celebrates love in all forms regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation & gender identity.

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