A ‘first look’ can add an emotional and intimate touch to your micro wedding or elopement celebration. The moment you first lay eyes on your partner, dressed in their wedding attire, is a memory that resonates with excitement and significance. As a photographer, capturing these moments is a true joy, as they always unfold with so much anticipation and emotion. In this guide, I’ll dive into first looks—what they entail, the pros and cons, valuable tips, and creative ideas for your micro wedding or elopement. Let’s explore how this intimate moment can elevate your special day.
A ‘first look’ is a newer wedding tradition that has gained popularity among traditional weddings, micro weddings, and elopements. It offers a private and profoundly emotional moment when the couple first lays eyes on each other on their wedding day, typically occurring after getting ready and before the ceremony.
This heartfelt experience can manifest in various ways—perhaps one partner stands staged with their back turned, or both partners are positioned back to back. Alternatively, this moment can be initiated with a simple call of your partner’s name or a gentle tap on the shoulder. Your photographer, a crucial collaborator in this experience, will guide you through setting up the scene that you envision.
Importantly, there’s no formulaic way in which a ‘first look’ must happen. It’s a personal experience carefully crafted to make the moment unique to you as a couple.
Certainly! First looks are not exclusive to large weddings and can be a delightful addition to your micro wedding or elopement day. This special moment can provide an opportunity to bask in the excitement of the big reveal. This can then be followed by a moment for the two of you to ground yourselves and connect before your ceremony.
Whether you’re celebrating with an intimate group or choosing to exchange vows in a more secluded setting, a first look can add another layer of emotional depth to your special day.
Seeing your partner not only helps alleviate pre-ceremony jitters but also gives you more quality time with your significant other on your micro wedding or elopement day. Within the intimate setting, this time allows you to share a quiet connection, grounding yourselves for the heartfelt moments that lie ahead.
If you’re having guests, the private nature of a first look provides a comfortable space for authentic emotional expression without the restraint of an audience. Many couples find that being away from the gaze of a crowd allows them to ‘feel all the feels’ more naturally. This, alone, is one reason why some couples think that it is worth it to do a first look. You get to revel in the emotions of the big reveal, unrushed, before your ceremony, rather than rushing straight from a big reveal at the aisle to ‘I do.’
First looks not only create candid, fun, and emotive portraits but also offer the opportunity for a greater quantity of photos. Opting for wedding first-look photos ensure you have more intimate moments captured together from your micro wedding or elopement day. It also opens the door to including an additional location in your wedding day plans, adding greater variety to your photo gallery.
During a first look, your photographer can skillfully capture both of your simultaneous reactions in this emotive moment. This differs from the traditional approach of seeing each other at the far ends of the aisle, where a single photographer cannot capture both reactions simultaneously.
Wedding day timelines become more flexible and a bit easier with first looks, particularly if family formals are on your agenda. Choosing to have a first look allows you to take family formals before your ceremony, freeing you to fully celebrate your newlywed excitement after your ceremony.
Your dress may get a bit dirty during your first look, and your hair or makeup could be impacted. While we will take precautions to protect your attire, honestly, I have yet to see a pristine wedding dress at the end of the day.
Incorporating a first look means adjusting your timeline for your micro wedding or elopement day. You’ll need to start earlier to accommodate adequate time for your first look. Your timeline may need to contemplate additional time to travel to a unique location, time for your first look itself, time for a private vow reading if you choose to do one, and time for additional portraits.
If you’re here, I’m going to guess you aren’t afraid to break with tradition. Embracing a first look is a deviation from conventional wedding traditions. Openly discussing this choice with your partner is crucial to ensure it aligns with your shared vision for your day.
When you decide to do a first look beforehand, your reveal won’t happen on the aisle during your micro wedding or elopement ceremony. However, these intimate ceremonies already come packed with emotion. After all, you’re marrying your best friend.
Nevertheless, a first look does not take away from walking down the aisle. Even though you may not experience the ‘big reveal’ emotions at the aisle, marrying your best friend in an intimate setting still brings a flood of emotions, regardless of whether you’ve already glimpsed them in their wedding attire.
Elevate the emotional impact of your first look by creating extra anticipation beforehand. Consider listening to music that holds sentimental value for both of you or curating a special playlist for each other. Choosing a song that evokes shared memories can be a delightful surprise for your partner when played right before your first look. Another heartfelt option is to exchange handwritten love letters before this special moment.
Ensure your photographer can capture both of your reactions by embracing a leisurely pace during your first look. Slowing down not only provides an opportunity for your photographer to capture every detail but also allows you to immerse yourselves in the emotions of the moment.
Opt for a first look location near your getting ready spot to streamline the process and avoid transportation hassles. Alternatively, if you crave a change in scenery, get creative – consider blindfolding one partner while the other drives to your first look location.
For those seeking a calming moment together while preserving the big reveal for the aisle, a first touch offers a great alternative. This approach not only maintains the element of surprise but also heightens anticipation.
If you’re including guests in your marriage celebration, you may want to exchange vows in private during your first look. Doing so allows you a chance to speak to your partner from the heart without others present.
Incorporating your kids or parents into your first look can add a memorable and heartwarming touch to your micro wedding or elopement. Sharing this intimate moment with your tribe creates unforgettable memories and enhances the overall experience. If you’re curious about including your kids in your elopement and want more insights, check out my dedicated post on the topic.
Inject a dose of fun into your first look by exchanging love letters or presents. For a lighthearted and comical twist, consider surprising your partner by dressing up in costume instead of your wedding attire during the big reveal. While this lighthearted approach may not be everyone’s cup of tea, for those playful couples, it can add a touch of humor and spontaneity to this special moment.
Embracing a ‘first look’ for your micro wedding or elopement offers a unique opportunity to infuse your special day with added emotion and intimacy. From the anticipation-filled moments before the big reveal to the genuine reactions captured by your photographer, your ‘first look’ becomes a collection of memories that serve as precious moments to reminisce and look back on for years to come.
As you navigate through the pros and cons, gather tips, and explore creative ideas, remember that this intimate tradition is a personal choice, selected to make your micro wedding or elopement truly unforgettable and authentic to you. Whether you opt for a traditional first look or a playful twist, the key lies in savoring those fleeting yet magical moments with your partner.
Ready to make your micro wedding or elopement truly memorable? Reach out today, and let’s start planning a ‘first look’ moment that encapsulates your vision and celebrates the unique love you share.