First Look – Is it for You? | Photography Trends

Top Reasons to have a First Look

By Jiza Zito, Olive & Cypress 

Do you know why it was once considered “bad luck” for the groom to see the bride before the wedding? The tradition has less-than-romantic origins.

During the time when arranged marriages were customary, the betrothed couple was not allowed to see each other before the wedding. Marriage, for many families, was essentially a “business deal”. The father, who was the head of the household, would ideally marry off his daughter to a rich, land-owning male. Once the engagement was contracted, the parents would keep the couple apart, fearing that if the groom saw the bride before the wedding and found her unattractive, he wouldn’t go through with the marriage. While today we think of the veil as a beautiful bridal accessory, its original purpose was to keep the groom from finding out what the bride looked like until the last possible minute, when it was too late to back out of the transaction. Romantic, right?

Emza Joy Photography

In today’s modern understanding of first looks, we are obviously past the whole notion of “It’s bad luck to see a bride before the wedding”. Go on social media, and one can easily see the many Instagram reels, TikToks and images on our feeds of emotional, unique, and beautiful first looks exchanged between couples. If you still wonder whether this is right for you, here are three reasons to consider having one, as well as three alternative ideas:

Maximize your time for photos without sacrificing time at the reception.
While you may have the photographer for 8-10 hours, it’s amazing how fast time flies on the day of the wedding, and how easily the timeline can get sidetracked. Most often, portraits with family and the bridal party take longer than expected, and then the next thing you know, there is less than 15 minutes to take romantic images of just you as a couple. When you make the first look a priority, it gives time for those special portraits without being rushed to the cocktail hour or reception. Having the opportunity to get more photographs of just you two together and in such a candid and special moment can definitely be worth it!

Diminish pre-wedding nerves.
Some couples have a hard time showing emotion in front of a crowd, and understandably so. There are a lot of feelings mounting up to that moment of seeing each other for the first time. When you do a first look with just you and your spouse-to-be (with photographers and videographers discreetly in the background), it gives you both the chance to be yourselves freely while seeing each other for the first time, without a crowd of loved ones snapping phone photos.

Get some much-needed alone time with your beloved.
The first look allows you as a couple to have some alone time before the day gets busy. Unless time is set aside for later in the day, it’s the only time you both will be alone until leaving the reception. It can also help set the tone for the perfect mood for romantic portraits. Images of just the two of you are also what you’ll decorate your home with and possibly pass down to family, so it makes sense to spend some quality time photographing them.

Alternatives to First Look
While a first look has its many perks, it’s not for every couple. Here are some alternative or additional photography ideas for your big day:

A First Look with a Parent or Loved One
If you have a close and special relationship with another relative or adopted family, this is a lovely option to consider. Another idea is for this person to escort the bride to the first look.

A First Look with Your Bridal Party
You have been through the engagement party, the bridal shower, and the bachelorette party. Now the bridesmaids are excited to see your completed look on your wedding day. Have the photographer catch their reactions as they finally see you dressed as a bride!

The First Touch
Prefer not to see each other? A first touch is a beautiful and meaningful way for a couple to come together before the ceremony, while still avoiding the pre-wedding first look. You can hold hands around a corner or door and exchange prayers, intimate words, or even your vows.

No matter what you decide for photographs on your wedding day, communicate with the photographer and videographer, and make sure there is enough time to capture images of just you and your spouse. These will be the images that will always be cherished.

Olive & Cypress provides wedding & portrait photography that is relaxed, joyful, and refined. Owned and operated by Jiza Zito, she considers herself a contemplative soul pursuing all that is lovely with an affinity for nostalgia & poetry. Jiza believes photography is an expression of beauty she perceives in life and strives to preserve that through heirloom imagery. Visit for more info.