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.
Set Aside Time for the Photo
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.
Choose the Setting
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.
Have Your Photographer Be at the Ready
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 favorite photos of father-daughter first looks—we dare you not to get misty-eyed!
This is the sort of excitement you want to generate right before walking down the aisle.
Judging by this dad’s face, we can tell the bride looks stunning.
That special bond between a daughter and her father is the reason why you want a first look wedding photo.
This father of the bride was so excited to see his daughter that he had to take a photo of her himself.
Yes! This is the exact reaction you want to get when your dad sees you in your wedding dress.
How adorable is this father of the bride? From the proud look on his face to his dapper suit.
While this father of the bride was totally wowed by his little girl, she couldn’t hold back the tears.
Thankfully, the photographer decided to stay close to the bride right before the ceremony and was able to catch this special moment with her dad.
This father of the bride tried his best to fight back the tears when he saw his daughter, but the tears won.
The bride chose to do a traditional first look of having her dad turn around to see her, and it made for a sweet photo.
Surprisingly, your dad is arguably the best part of having a first look.
With the look of pure joy on this father of the bride’s face, we know he’ll be smiling all day.
We love it when it’s the bride comforting her dad on the big day.
What a beautiful spot for this father of the bride to take a moment and hold on to his daughter.
A touching, yet gorgeous shot between the bride and her dad that makes us want to cry and ooh at the same time.
The father-daughter first look lets you get some of the tears out of the way before they walk down the aisle.
The feeling when you seriously impress your dad, even from across a crowded room!
Because your dad will always be there for you, even after you’re a Mrs.
Every bride needs a big warm hug from her dad just before they walk down the aisle.
You know it’s going to be a perfect wedding day when you and your best buddy start it off with laughing and crying at the same time.
The look on this dad’s face says it all.