The moment when the groom sees his bride before the ceremony has become a must-do photo op, but the father-daughter first look has stolen our hearts. Since the father of the bride is one of the first to see the bride before she walks down the aisle, why not capture the look on his face when he sees his girl all done up in her bridal best?! "The first time a father sees his daughter dressed as a bride is one of the few occasions when he can get sentimental without everyone watching him,” says Brian Dorsey of Brian Dorsey Studios. “By coordinating a low-key, private reveal, your photographer can capture that split second of tender emotion that dads are so rarely willing to expose."
Making a ‘plan’ for the first look can help you get a priceless photo. Check out these tips from wedding planners and photographers for getting the perfect shot; then scroll down to see our roundup of proud papas on their daughter’s big day.
Have your wedding planner or photographer schedule in time for the first look with your dad. “We always try to budget 15 minutes for a first look with the FOB right after photos of the bride getting ready and before her first look with the groom,” says Lori Stephenson of Lola Event Productions. It's easy to get caught up in the fast pace of the big day, but taking a first look photo with your father can help you relax and feel a little less anxious before the wedding begins, plus it can be very symbolic since it’s a longstanding tradition for the father and bride to share a moment before the ceremony. “I’ve seen so many brides and dads burst into tears during the first look, so allowing yourselves a few minutes will get some of the emotion out of the way so that you can be collected and in the moment for the walk down the aisle,” says Stephenson.
“It’s a good idea for your dad to be dressed for the wedding before you are, so that he looks formal for the first look photo; and your photographer may also be able to get a few beautiful portraits of you together if time permits,” says Emilia Schobeiri of Emilia Jane Photography.
Think of where you want the first look to be photographed, where you’ll be standing, and who you want in the room. “It's often easier to either have your dad come to where you're getting ready or have a place picked out at the ceremony site,” says Steve Koo of Steve Koo Photography. If you’re having the first look in the room where you got dressed, keep the room as neat as possible; and wherever you decide on try to pick a spot with lots of good light, which always helps for a great picture.
“Consider getting ready at your favorite hotel or in a beautiful room, which helps make the day more special as well as provides a nice backdrop for wonderful photos,” says Judith Rae of Judith Rae Photography. If you’re expecting an emotional moment, it might be best not to do your first look with a large audience. “Having a dozen bridesmaids in the room may hamper the authenticity of your parent's reaction to the moment,” says Arielle Doneson of Arielle Doneson Photography.
You want this photo to be 100% natural, so it's key for your photographer to be close by and ready at all times. “You never know what's going to happen,” says Jordan Voth of Jordan Voth Photography. “At one wedding, I was contemplating running ahead to set up before the ceremony, but I'm glad I decided to stick close to the bride because I would have missed taking an amazing photo of her dad hugging her when he saw her for the first time in her wedding dress.”
Here are 21 of our fave photos of father-daughter first looks—we dare you not to get misty eyed!