THE FIRST LOOK

In Australia usually the first time the groom sees the bride on their wedding day is when she walks down the aisle. This is such a beautiful moment. I love seeing the bride break into a smile from ear to ear as she approaches her groom. And the sigh of relief from the groom as they make eye contact for the first time is a sweet moment as well.

Last year I was looking at the blogs of some American photographers, and it was only then that I became aware of the ‘first look’. The ‘first look’ is a small intimate meeting between the bride and groom before the ceremony takes place.

Automatically I was against the idea. Obviously it was stupid! Why would the groom want to see the bride BEFORE she walks down the aisle?! You’d miss the smile, you’d miss the sigh of relief, it wouldn’t be as special!!! What is wrong with these people?

Photographing Kim and Nathan’s wedding at the end of last year made me think again. Their wedding day had a different structure and was unlike any wedding I had ever shot before.

Usually weddings go along the lines of: groom gets ready, bride gets ready, go to the church, get married, family photos, location photos, reception … Well, Kim and Nathan had decided to change things up and do the day their own way, and were even planning to have lunch BEFORE the ceremony! This meant that they would either have to eat lunch with paper bags over their heads, or they would have to see each other.

So, we were presented with our first opportunity to do a first look. We ran the idea past Kim and Nathan, they loved the idea and were very excited to do it.

Nathan stood underneath a big beautiful tree. You could tell by his body language that he was nervous. He waited.

Kim appeared in the distance, looking gorgeous in her ocean blue dress. I saw her break into a smile as she saw her groom waiting nervously.

Kim slowly walked up behind Nathan.

I EXPECTED Kim to gently tap Nathan on the shoulder, but NO… she went up behind him and grabbed his BUTT! It was then that Nathan spun around and saw his bride and smiled. His first look…. It was magical, intimate and so very special.

Kim and Nathan were silent for a few seconds until they both started talking at once! “I knew you wouldn’t wear white!”, “Your flower isn’t on straight!”, “You look beautiful”, “Not bad hey?!”

I got goosebumps. Matt got goosebumps. There were many goosebumps.

Since Kim and Nathan’s wedding we’ve been lucky enough to photograph two or three more first looks. Needless to say, I am convinced!

I LOVE first looks! I think they are wonderful. It is such a special and intimate moment for the bride and groom to see each other, talk to each other, to hug each other before the ceremony. You can say what you want to say (without having to whisper behind the priest’s back!), you can get all the nerves out of the way, THEN you get to watch your bride walk down the aisle as well! The best of both worlds!

I know that I won’t convince many brides to do a first look, and I totally understand why people choose not to do them. However, if I can convince some brides to think about doing a first look and or to think about structuring their wedding day differently … then I have succeeded.

~Katie.

My shots are all on the left, Matt’s shots are all on the right!
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See more photos from Kym and Nathan’s wedding HERE.

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18 Comments
  1. Emmalee said:
    Agreed! Awesome post! These pics are SO cool guys, you've really captured the joy and character of this beautiful couple! I think the first look is a brilliant but underrated tradition. Inspired :)
  2. Mark said:
    Cool post guys! I did my first shoot just before christmas and it was great to do something different. Ireland like Oz has similar traditions, so I won't get to do it very often!
  3. Ken & Cherrill, said:
    We didn't have first looks in our day, but my first look at my bride was when I saw her for the first time & fell in love with her. By the way, every time I look at her it is like that first look.
  4. Kimmy Findlay said:
    You guys really are an inspiration - not just your photos but the way in which you live life!! My mum and dad were married in Canada in the '80s and they had their photos before the cermony too - i think it's great that you are offering this idea as well! In the end, people should have their wedding as they'd like it (oh and with you as their photographers!) :D xx
  5. Awesome photos!! Can't wait to do a wedding with a first look!
  6. Annie said:
    I'm convinced too! I can't wait to shoot a first look! :)
  7. Christine said:
    Beautiful! Having done the non-traditional thing for my own wedding, I can definitely say that sharing some time with your beloved before the ceremony is very special. I'd never heard of the first look as a concept before I read this post, but I fully support the idea!
  8. Steph said:
    This is hardly anything new. Australian photographers have been doing this for years. Time for an ego check guys. You were much cuter when you were humble.
    • Time for a re-read. They didn't claim this idea as their own.
    • Sarah J -
      WOW... who says that? You must be a really nasty bitter person.
    • Jess -
      Annie is right. Katie wasn't claiming it as her own idea... take another read sweetie.
    • Lou J -
      I've been following Matt and Katie's blog for a while now and I've never commented until now... This comment really makes me mad. I think you should pull your head in and learn to read. That's all.
    • Matt and Katie -
      Matt here. Don't be too hard on Steph ... after all she did call us cute :)
    • Ken & Cherrill, -
      There's always one party pooper or is it the green monster?
  9. Glad you gave it a try. We actually ONLY do the first look now, and will pass on weddings where we can't do it. It's just so awesome and special for the couple and logistically it makes the day flow more smoothly. Loved your images from the first look, and I'm sure the couple did too!
  10. Great photos guys. It's always amazing to see those first few photos when the lay eyes on each other and their faces light up. Beautifully captured!! :D
  11. Katie said:
    Gorgeous! I am all for non-traditional weddings. My hubby and I had our whole photo session before our wedding even started, and even then it was drinks and nibbles before the ceremony! The first wedding I shot also had a first look and it was so moving I could barely see to take the shots!
  12. Bel said:
    Yet another beautiful post guys! You've no idea how much I look forward to reading (or devouring, really!) each update on your gorgeous blog. Oh and I am all for the first look =) So special and intimate beyond words. I'm so doing it when I get married!! You'll be the first to know when I find a man and get engaged cause you'll be my wedding photographers!!! Love your work! You're so gifted, you gorgeous pair!! =) keep up the awesomeness xx