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A Photographer’s Ultimate Tips & Tricks for Brides | The First Look

Military groom turns to see his bride for the first time at Corral de Tierra
Military groom waiting to see his bride for the first time in Carmel, CA
Military couple get ready to see each other for the first time before wedding at Corral de Tierra

Being a Monterey wedding photographer, I often have a conversation with couples who are on the fence about a First Look. I know it just seems like one more thing to add to the wedding to-do list, but here are some tips for brides thinking about a First Look. And compelling reasons do so…

Bride and groom prepare for first look on the cliffs of Big Sur, CA
Groom smiles at his bride after seeing her in her wedding dress for the first time on the cliffs of Big Sur
Bride and groom do a first look on the cliffs of Big Sur before their wedding

Portrait Time

Bride tears up during first look at Glen Oaks, Big Sur
Groom laughing at bride during first look in Lake Tahoe
Bride and groom do a first look at Mission Ranch in Carmel
Bride and groom first look in green field by AGS Photo Art

Imagine this: you wait until cocktail hour to do portraits because you want the first time you see each other to be when you go down the aisle, but then cocktail hour arrives and it starts raining! You and your photographer only slotted one block of time for portraits but the weather is not agreeing. This is a nightmare for the photographer and the bride and groom! Seeing each other beforehand gives a safety net to the portrait time. It also provides the opportunity for more pictures, so you have more options to choose your favorites!

Groom laughing as bride walks towards him for first look in Monterey, CA
Sweet wedding portraits in front of historic building in downtown Monterey
First look details between bride and groom in Monterey, CA
Bride and groom are full of smiles when seeing each other for the first time before their Memory Garden wedding
Groom twirls bride in Monterey, CA

Intimacy & Privacy

Bride adjusts groom's tie in cozy cottage in Carmel, CA
Bride and groom see each other for the first time before their ceremony in Carmel-by-the-Sea

As a Monterey wedding photographer, I tell my brides that they don’t want their first look to be with everyone. There’s a sense of privacy and intimacy seeing each other for the first time on your own: you can touch, feel, hold, and kiss your groom in the moment without an audience. You are encouraged to sit with each other in the moment. Bonus points: your hair and makeup person may stay after your private moment to retouch your makeup so you are refreshed for the ceremony!

Bride and groom first look in black and white on a summer day
Excited groom waits to see his bride at a California vineyard
Bride and groom stand back-to-back anticipating the first look by AGS Photo Art
Groom sees his bride for the first time in a vineyard in California on a sunny day

You Can Enjoy More of Your Wedding

Mountaintop first look between bride and groom in Carmel Valley, CA
A sunny first look at Carmel Valley Ranch by AGS Photo Art
Bride and groom first look on mountaintop deck in Carmel Valley, CA

Let’s be real: you have all of your closest friends and family in one place to witness your wedding. Do you really want to be taking portraits during cocktail hour instead of mingling with guests and asking how they are doing? Seeing each other before the wedding gives you that time back: you can bask in the compliments of your friends, hug that relative you don’t see often, and truly enjoy the wedding you planned.

First look with bride and groom on the coast in Monterey
Bride and groom see each other for first time before wedding on Cannery Row in Monterey, CA

What If…

Father tears up after seeing his daughter in her wedding dress, photo by AGS Photo Art
Father sees daughter in her wedding dress for the first time at Cooper Molera Barns in Monterey, CA
Father tears up after first look with his daughter at Cooper Molera Barns in Monterey

What if you had a special moment with your dad as well? The pictures end up being so sweet! Sometimes it’s important to recognize what a big day this is for the dads as well!

Father sees daughter in wedding dress for the first time before ceremony
Father-daugheter first look in front of house on summer day
Father-daughter first look on wedding day

Interested in having me photograph your Monterey, Carmel or Big Sur wedding? Contact me here!

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