What is a First Look?

A first look is a private moment before the wedding ceremony where the wedding couple sees each other in their attire for the first time. Historically, the first time a wedding couple saw each other in their attire and on their wedding day, was at the alter. Throughout the years, that idea has evolved and now there are many ways people choose to share that first look. One of the most common alternatives is a private first look between the wedding couple, before their ceremony.

If you’re looking for an elopement photographer, learn more about us here!

Should you have a First Look on your elopement day?

The choice is completely yours on whether you want to do a first look on your wedding day, after all this day is custom-designed for you!

First look during the ceremony

Choosing to have a first look during the ceremony can be a deeply meaningful and memorable experience for you as a wedding couple. It adds an element of anticipation and surprise to the ceremony, as you get to see each other for the first time in your wedding attire right before you share your vows. This can create a powerful and emotional moment, enhancing the overall atmosphere of the ceremony. Additionally, having the first look during the ceremony allows you to share that special moment with any guests you choose to invite (if you have any), creating a sense of intimacy and inclusion. It also allows for more natural and candid reactions, since you are experiencing this moment in the context of the ceremony itself.

Private first look

Documenting a private first look is one of my favorite things as an elopement photographer. Choosing to have a private first look gives you time and space to be alone with each other on your wedding day and creates an opportunity for amazing candid photos. This private moment allows you to share your emotions, excitement, and love in a more secluded setting, away from the hustle and bustle of a ceremony. It provides an opportunity for you to connect deeply with each other, express your feelings, and take in the significance of the day without distractions.

If you’re not sure whether or not you want to do one, keep reading for our pros and cons of including a first look in your wedding day!

Benefits of Including a First Look


A first look can give you and your partner a moment alone with each other. They can be a really special time to see each other all dressed up before your ceremony and take time to relax and soak in the moment! Some couples that elope with their families, choose to do a first look and private vows away from guests before their full ceremony, allowing you time to really take in the moment and be truly present without the pressure of family watching along.

Timeline Freedom

If you’re planning a sunset ceremony, having a first look means you can get photos of you two together, exploring the landscapes. Time will be very limited after a sunset ceremony, so doing a first look gives you plenty of time for portraits before the sun goes down.

Settle Nerves

As an elopement photographer, over the years I’ve realized the majority of pre-wedding anxiety happens before the couple has seen each other. As soon as you see your partner on your wedding day, the nerves and anxiety seem to completely melt away! Having a first look means you can get over those nerves faster and really appreciate all the moments of your wedding day.

Refocus Attention on You Two

It can be a really special moment at the beginning of your elopement day to focus on you and your partner away from everyone else. Starting your elopement day with time for just the two of you sets the tone for the entire day, that this day is yours to celebrate each other!

Bride and groom during their first look by the ocean

Reasons you may not want to do a first look

First looks aren’t for everyone, and sometimes it may not make sense to include them for certain timelines. Remember, your elopement day is all about you so you can pick and choose what you want to include.

You’re Getting Ready Together

If you’re getting ready together, it can be so sweet to help each other into your wedding attire, negating the need for a first look. Getting ready together can be an extremely meaningful experience to include on your wedding day. Imagine waking up next to the love of your life, cooking breakfast together, and helping each other get all dressed up before you go get married!!

Eloping with Guests

If you’re someone who wants to prioritize time with your guests on your elopement day, including them in your first look during the ceremony can be super special and emotional. Seeing your partner for the first time as they walk down the aisle towards you before the ceremony can be one of the most memorable moments of your wedding day and having family be a part of that moment is very important for some couples.

Should you include a First Look on your elopement day?

Regardless of what you decide, your elopement day will be incredible! When planning your elopement day, think about what memories you would love to have with each other and plan your day around that. This day is all about you so do whatever feels right!

If you’re looking for an elopement photographer, learn more about us here!

Meet your photographer team

We’re Bridget & Ryan!

Adventurers turned adventure elopement photographers specializing in national park and hiking elopements! We help couples craft a wedding day that feels authentic to them in a meaningful and epic location. Life’s an adventure, let’s make your wedding one too!