What Not to Do During Your "First Look"

Help make the moment be picture-perfect.

What Not to Do During Your "First Look"

Photo: Judith Rae

The trend of the “first look” seems to be about as popular, if not more so, as waiting to see each other before the walk down the aisle. Naturally, couples are focused on how to make sure these romantic photos turn out perfectly, but we find that sometimes knowing what not to do can be just as helpful as advice and tips of what you should do. Especially in this era of personalization, with brides and grooms careful to avoid a “cookie-cutter” wedding, while still wanting to avoid any mistakes they may come to regret after the big day.

The below are common “don’ts” that people might make when they do a “first look.”

mistakes to avoid during your first look

Photo by Amanda Sudimack for Artisan Events; Planning & Design by Hope Weis Consulting

- Not having enough time. One of the benefits of the “first look” is that you and your beloved can take the time to embrace and reflect on the fact that it is your wedding day, whereas traditionally you meet at the aisle and immediately start the ceremony. Without enough time to enjoy each other’s company and take the necessary pictures, you lose out on what makes the “first look” such a popular choice. 

- Getting your dress dirty. Those against “first looks” will often cite the fact that your gown might be soiled if you do the photos outdoors, meaning your train won’t be pristine for the ceremony. Take caution when deciding where you'll be walking for the “first look” and use these methods to keep the ensemble clean

- Not being alone. While the photographer will of course be around, along with possibly the maid of honor on standby to assist with the dress and veil once portraits begin, the “first look” should be a private time for you and your sweetheart. If you let the bridal party or family be nearby, suddenly the “first look” has a performative aspect instead of being about your authentic emotion. 

- Improvising the session. Be sure to work with your photographer to not only have a plan for what portraits you want taken, but also the logistics of the “first look” itself. Will you both turn around at the same time? Will you sneak up behind your future spouse to tap them on the shoulder? It’s important to figure this out ahead of time to avoid rash decisions that might not be what you truly wanted. 

For more advice, read expert tips on helping your photographer capture the small details and learn how best to take stunning bridal portaits.