Northern California wedding photography- the First Look

So much of the wedding day is all about traditions.  The funny thing about tradition is, often times we do not give them much thought. Sometimes we just follow traditions because that is the way it has always been done.  Have you ever heard the story about Grandma’s Easter Ham?  I am all for traditions.  If I didn’t believe in traditions I would not have a career in the wedding industry.   But, I also believe you should question traditions that no longer make sense.

The tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other before the wedding ceremony to avoid bad luck started back when marriages were arranged.  The bride and groom were kept apart because it was thought if they caught a glimpse each other prior to the ceremony, they might not like what they saw and bolt.  Needless to say, this is no longer the case with modern engaged couples.  Likely, you have seen each other at your best and your worst before the trip down the aisle and you have not bolted yet.

Any wedding professional worth their salt will tell you, one of the ways to take the stress out of the wedding day time-line is to plan what is called a “first look” between the bride and groom.  The first look is when the bride and groom arrange to see each other, in all their wedding finery, before the start of the ceremony.  The photographer is on hand to capture the special moment.

“I tell my couples the first look allows them to see each other for the first time on their wedding day from inches not from across the room with hundreds of people between the two of them.” says Sarah Maren*, the amazing Sacramento wedding photographer, “It makes for a more happy and relaxed wedding day when you do the photography ahead of the ceremony. Plus, the bride and groom get a chance to connect and have a private moment with each other.”

The benefits to the planning a first look between the bride and groom:

  • Eases nerves
  • Gives you a moment to talk, cry and connect
  • More time for creative photography
  • Allows you to join your guests almost immediately after the ceremony

Now, let’s address your concerns:

“If we see each other ahead of time, it will not be as special when we sees me walking down the aisle.”

The moment you make the commitment to each other will still be very emotional and special.  Even more so, now that you have had a chance to connect before hand.

“My make-up, hair, dress will not look as fresh.”

Just plan an extra 1/2 an hour to freshen up before the ceremony.  It will also give you time to collect yourself and deal with any last minute issues that may arise.

“I am very traditional person  and that is the way it has been always been done.”

Remember, it is not really a tradition but more of a superstition to avoid bad luck. “It is 2010, you get to decide and there are no longer any “have to’s”.  You make your own traditions.  You get to choose what works for you.”  says Sarah Maren of Sarah Maren Photography.

For anyone who thinks planning a first look will ruin the emotional impact of the trip down the aisle, feast your eyes on Geoff Bardot of The Goodness at his own wedding in Sacramento:

Geoff- you are making my heart melt!

*Sarah Maren Photography is a super cool sponsor of FPW


  • Reply September 8, 2010

    Lisa Bardot

    LOVE that photo of my sweet hubby! Gets me every time!

    • Reply September 8, 2010


      Such a great picture. What a capture!

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