Why First Looks Make Your Wedding Day Better

A Wedding Photographer and Former Bride’s Perspective on First Looks

It’s a common question couples wrestle through. As a Charlottesville VA photographer and past bride myself, I once sat in your shoes, trying to decide whether to do a first look. Spoiler alert: I didn’t do one. And I hugely regret it.

I’m Lucy Jalin, a Charlottesville wedding photographer passionate about capturing candid moments in artful ways and helping couples build strong marriages. Today I’d love to share with you why first looks are a great opportunity to strengthen your relationships and have a better wedding day experience.

Groom kissing bride on the cheek after first look in Charlottesville VA wedding

1. You’ll Create An Intimate and Emotional Moment

Imagine this: It’s your wedding day and you have been getting ready with the hustle and bustle of family and bridesmaids all morning. You and your beloved steal away for a private encounter before the whirlwind and the grandeur of the ceremony unfolds. You have been surrounded by people all day. But for this moment, you get to relax into each other, sharing this private and meaningful moment of the last time you spend together before being joined as husband and wife. The anticipation, the nerves, and the overflowing excitement—each raw emotion meticulously preserved in stunning photographs. These are like visual time capsules. They have the power to evoke genuine emotion to transport you back to that moment over and over again in the years to come.

Choosing to do a first look allows you and your partner the opportunity to connect and indulge in a moment of reflection together. Amidst the whirlwind of wedding preparations, a first look allows you to connect in an intimate and meaningful way that helps you enjoy your wedding day even more.

2. You’ll Enjoy Your Ceremony More

It’s ironic. I thought that a first look would somehow diminish the power of walking down the aisle and seeing my soon-to-be husband for the first time on our wedding day. But actually, NOT doing a first look was what stole from the power of that moment.

As I think back now, I realize why. When I finally walked down the aisle towards the man I had loved and longed to marry for years, something felt amiss. I wanted to be able to walk into his waiting arms. To lean into his chest and peer up at his loving gaze. To hear him tell me how beautiful I looked. Of course the walk down the aisle was still a meaningful and powerful moment. But in all honestly it felt a bit stiff and the formal and I feel like I missed out on an opportunity to have that sweet moment together.

That is why I encourage couples to choose to do a first look. I truly believe that it will not only create a moment of intimacy and depth before the ceremony begins, but also allow you to experience the ceremony more fully. By sharing that private moment together, away from the prying eyes of guests, you can freely express your emotions and fuel each other up with love and encouragement. That allows you to stand before your loved ones with a greater sense of joy and ease.

3. You Will Get More Time with Family and Friends

From a practical standpoint, incorporating a first look into your wedding day timeline helps the day to run more smoothly. You get to have a more relaxed and unhurried day. It also allows for bridal party and family portraits to take place before the ceremony. This benefit alone will make all the difference in your wedding day experience. It’s the one time in your life that this many people you love gather together in one place. You don’t want to miss it while you spend the whole afternoon taking photos! Doing a first look allows you to get most of your portraits done before the wedding ceremony so you can spend that quality time with your guests!

4. You’ll Have More Variety of Portraits in Beautiful Light

Charlottesville, Virginia has such breathtaking landscapes and picturesque venues. Opting for a first look allows another opportunity for portraits at a different location and in warm natural light for more variety in your wedding album. Many of my favorite bride and groom portraits have taken place just after the first look!

If you are engaged and looking for Charlottesville VA wedding photographers, I’d would like to chat more about creating a wedding photography experience that allows you to enjoy your day to the fullest. Just send me a note!

Click here to learn more about my unique approach as a boutique wedding photographer.

Click here to learn more about my favorite venues in the Charlottesville area.

bride and groom kissing in field during first look in Charlottesville VA wedding

Tips For Couples


Why First Looks Make Your Wedding Day Better

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