Who Should Be There During Your First Look?

Plus, how to gently inform the people who are not invited

Updated 01/31/19

Photo by Dacia Pierson of Eager Hearts Photography

Your wedding is a jam-packed day of special moments, but if you and your partner have decided to do a first look, that initial day-of meeting right before you and the love of your life commit to forever may be the most significant.

It’s usually a scene of intense emotion, from tears of joy to smiles of hope for the future. For some couples, it’s an experience they want to share with those who are closest to them, while others would rather keep the sacred interaction completely private.

Read on to find out the different options you have for your first look, and how to handle communicating your preference with your bridal party and close family members.

Make It One-on-One

As soon as you look into your partner's eyes, it feels like you're the only two people in the world, but if you want to be the only ones in the room literally, say so. Just let vendors (planners, photographers, and videographers), bridal party, and family members know well in advance. If they object, tell them you’ve been waiting a long time for this and have always envisioned it as an intimate few minutes exclusive to you and your fiancé. Then, fill them in on other special wedding day festivities they will get to witness or be a part of — helping you into your dress, tearing it up on the dance floor, or participating in a grand exit. Giving them something fun or meaningful to look forward to will distract from the disappointment of missing out on the first look.

If you still want the exchange documented, ask your photographer and/or videographer to set up a camera in the space beforehand and enable timed shots or a continuous recording.

Ask Only a Few Vendors

If you want to keep things look low-key, but want a heavier hand in securing the first look is properly documented and able to go off without a hitch, you may ask a few vendors to be present. Do you have both a photographer and a videographer? Have them work together ahead of time to find the perfect location, set up the lighting, and orchestrate anything else they need to ensure the first look is captured flawlessly.

A day-of coordinator or a wedding planner can also help facilitate by making sure the person you’re marrying is positioned with his or her back to you, so there's that epic moment of surprise after he or she has turned around.

Have Loved Ones Nearby

There’s a good chance that your close family members have made mention that the first look is something they'd absolutely love to observe. If they haven't — and you haven't specifically spoken to them about a request for privacy — you can bet you'll spot more than a few hiding in the bushes trying to get a peek anyways. To spare them the thorns, have your photographer or planner help you designate a nearby spot that will allow them to be spectators without you noticing them there. Alternatively, if you don't mind being aware of their presence, you can position them at a close enough distance that their reactions are captured in the video and photos.

Again, no matter what your ultimate plan ends up being, be sure to let everyone know before it's go-time. That way, everyone involved is prepared and onboard.

Plan a Big Moment

Let's say that you and your future spouse are never happier than when you're together and surrounded by those you care about most. That means 1) you're really going to love your wedding day and 2) your first look may be something to which you're down to invite anyone who wants to be there. If you're looking to make your first look kinda a big deal, with your entire wedding party and close family members too, you'll want to scout out a location that provides enough space for handfuls of people. By now, you know the drill: Arrange this beforehand with your vendors so they can stage the reveal to look less like chaos and more like a celebration of love that involves all of your favorite people.

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