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I capture the unspoken — the glances, the silences — drawing from New York's pulse and the richness of global cultures. Every wedding is its own intricate narrative. Rooted in theatre and life's everyday rhythms, I document moments both transient and timeless. 

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Creative Ideas for a Unique Wedding Day First Look

The first look has become a cherished moment in many weddings, offering couples a chance to see each other in a more private setting before the ceremony. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share an intimate moment, ease any pre-ceremony nerves, and capture some beautiful, candid photographs. If you’re looking to add a unique twist to this tradition, here are some creative ideas for a unique wedding day first look.


Incorporate a Blindfold or Back-to-Back Setup for your First Look

The one-partner-walks-to-the-other-and-surprises-them setup feels a touch dated and uneven, so what about a more equal setup?

national arts club nyc wedding first look

Starting your first look by standing back-to-back or with one partner blindfolded introduces an element of suspense and excitement that heightens the emotional impact of the moment. This setup builds anticipation in a unique and playful way, as both partners eagerly await the reveal. When you’re positioned back-to-back, you can sense each other’s presence, the nervous energy, and perhaps even hear each other’s breathing, all of which add to the intensity of the moment without yet seeing each other.

If a blindfold is used, it adds a tactile and mysterious dimension to the experience. The partner who is blindfolded will rely on their other senses, heightening the anticipation and the emotional response upon seeing their loved one for the first time. The blindfold itself can be a meaningful piece, perhaps a scarf or a piece of fabric that holds special significance to the couple, adding a deeper layer to the ritual.


When the moment finally arrives to reveal yourselves to each other, it’s a culmination of all the anticipation and emotions leading up to the wedding. The act of either removing the blindfold or turning around simultaneously serves as a dramatic and heartfelt way to begin the first look. This reveal is often filled with raw emotion – from teary eyes to joyous smiles – capturing the genuine love and affection you have for each other.

This approach to the first look not only creates a memorable and intimate experience for the couple but also provides an opportunity for photographers to capture a range of candid, emotional reactions. These photos can be some of the most treasured from the wedding day, as they encapsulate a moment of pure, unfiltered emotion shared privately before the whirlwind of the day continues.

Incorporating a back-to-back start or a blindfold into your first look is a beautiful way to add a unique twist to this modern tradition, making the first moment you lay eyes on each other on your wedding day even more special and unforgettable.

PaigeMegan Wedding

Choose an Unconventional Location for your First Look

Opting for a first look location that holds special significance to you as a couple adds a deeply personal touch to your wedding day. While the convenience of the ceremony venue is often a default choice, selecting a spot that resonates with your shared history or interests can make the moment even more meaningful and memorable.

Consider the place where you had your first date, for instance. Returning to where your journey as a couple began brings your relationship full circle. This could be the café where you first met, the beach where you walked and talked for hours, or even the spot where you realized you were falling in love. Revisiting these places for your first look infuses the moment with layers of sentimentality and nostalgia, creating a poignant connection between the past and your future.

Alternatively, a location that you both adore, like your favorite park or a tranquil spot by a lake, can also be a perfect setting. These are places where you may have spent quality time together, making them already imbued with personal significance. A first look in such familiar and beloved surroundings not only ensures comfort and ease but also adds an intimate backdrop to the experience.


For a more dramatic setting, a location with a stunning city skyline view can be breathtaking. This is especially fitting for couples who feel a strong connection to the urban landscape where they live or have shared significant experiences. The contrast of the intimate, quiet moment of a first look set against the bustling backdrop of a city can create visually striking and emotionally powerful imagery.

Choosing a meaningful location for your first look requires some logistical planning, especially in terms of timing and transportation. However, the effort is often well worth it. These locations not only provide a beautiful setting for your photographs but also enhance the emotional impact of the first look. When you see each other for the first time on your wedding day in a place that’s laden with memories and significance, it adds depth to the experience, making it even more profound and unforgettable.

For their wedding, this couple decided to have a unique twist by opting for a traditional Scottish touch.

Your pets need a first look, too!

Incorporating your furry friend into your first look adds a delightful and personal touch to an already special moment. Pets often play a significant role in our lives, and for many couples, their pet is more than just an animal – it’s a beloved member of the family. Including them in your first look can infuse the moment with joy, comfort, and a touch of playfulness that reflects your everyday life together.

Simply having your pet present can also be deeply meaningful. Their presence during such a significant moment can be comforting and help to ease any pre-ceremony nerves. For many couples, their pet has been a key part of their relationship journey, so having them included in the first look feels natural and complete.

Pets, by their very nature, bring a sense of authenticity and spontaneity to any situation. Their reactions can be unpredictable and heartwarming, often resulting in candid and joyful photographs. Whether it’s a dog wagging its tail in excitement, a cat curiously sniffing the bouquet, or even a horse gently nuzzling one of the partners, these natural interactions create unique and memorable moments.

Of course, including a pet does require some planning. You’ll need to ensure that someone is available to take care of the pet before and after the first look, especially if the pet isn’t going to be part of the ceremony. It’s also important to consider how your pet behaves in different environments and crowds to ensure their comfort and safety, as well as the smooth running of your first look and subsequent activities.

In summary, including your pet in your first look is a wonderful way to add a personal and joyful element to the start of your wedding day. It acknowledges the role they play in your life and allows you to create unique and heartfelt memories that you’ll treasure long after the day is over.

A man and woman in polka dot tuxedo holding two dogs at their wedding in New York.

Play Your Favorite Song

Incorporating music into your first look can profoundly enhance the emotional depth of the moment. Music has a unique power to evoke memories and heighten feelings, making it a perfect addition to this already intimate and special occasion. Choosing a song that holds particular significance to your relationship can transform the first look into an even more touching and unforgettable experience.

When selecting the perfect song for your first look, think about tunes that are meaningful to both of you. It could be a song that was playing during a significant moment in your relationship, like your first date, the day you got engaged, or a track that you both love and often listen to together. The song could also be one that reflects the journey of your relationship, encapsulating the emotions and memories you’ve shared.


As you stand ready to see each other for the first time on your wedding day, the familiar strains of ‘your’ song can intensify the anticipation. When the moment arrives, and you finally lay eyes on each other, the music provides a soundtrack to the emotions of the moment – the joy, the love, and the profound connection you share. This multi-sensory experience, combining the visual beauty of the setting with the emotional resonance of the music, creates a rich tapestry of memories.

Furthermore, the music playing during your first look can set the tone for the rest of your wedding day. It can be a soothing presence, calming any nerves and reminding you of the deep bond you share. It also creates a beautiful, personal moment that contrasts with the more public celebrations to follow.

For practicality, you’ll need to consider how to play the music during the first look. This could be as simple as having a smartphone with a portable speaker at hand, or you might arrange for a musician to play the song live for an even more immersive and intimate experience.

Incorporating music into your first look is a simple yet powerful way to elevate the moment. It adds an extra layer of personalization and emotion, ensuring that the experience is not just seen and felt but also heard in a way that deeply resonates with your unique love story.

should we do a first look wedding day

Write Love Notes or Exchange Vows at Your First Look

The exchange of handwritten notes just before your first look adds an incredibly intimate and personal touch to an already emotionally charged moment. In a day filled with significant rituals and public declarations, this private exchange offers a quiet space for you and your partner to connect on a deeply personal level.

Handwritten notes carry with them a sense of authenticity and thoughtfulness that is hard to replicate in any other form. They allow you to express your feelings, hopes, and promises in a way that is uniquely yours. As you stand on the brink of seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day, reading these words can heighten the anticipation and deepen the emotional impact of the moment.

portico awbury arboretum wedding bride groom first look

These notes can range from expressions of love and excitement for the day ahead to reflections on your journey together and dreams for the future. Some couples choose to write private vows in these notes – vows that are more personal and intimate than those they will share in front of their guests. This can be an incredibly meaningful way to start your wedding day, grounded in the heartfelt promises you make to each other.

Furthermore, the act of reading these notes just before the first look can bring a calming, centering effect. Amidst the whirlwind of emotions and the bustle of the day’s preparations, these words can serve as a reminder of the deep connection you share and the reasons you are choosing to embark on this lifelong journey together.

For many couples, these notes become cherished keepsakes of their wedding day. They capture the raw, unfiltered emotions and sentiments of one of the most significant days of their lives. Long after the wedding, they can be revisited, offering a tangible reminder of the love and commitment that marked the beginning of their married life.

Incorporating the exchange of handwritten notes into your first look ritual is a powerful way to enhance the intimacy and significance of the moment. It sets a tone of love and personal reflection that carries through the rest of your special day.

first look wedding day pros and cons

Have Family and Friends Nearby for Your First Look

The first look is traditionally a private moment shared between the couple, a brief interlude amidst the day’s festivities where they can relish in seeing each other for the first time on their wedding day. However, involving close friends and family in this moment, even from a distance, can add a communal aspect to the experience, amplifying the joy and excitement.

Having loved ones witness your first look from afar strikes a balance between maintaining the intimacy of the moment while sharing it with those who mean the most to you. As you and your partner see each other in your wedding attire for the first time, the reactions of your friends and family can greatly enhance the emotional resonance of the moment. Their expressions of joy, tears of happiness, and smiles of approval add layers of sentiment to the experience, creating a shared memory for all.

Moreover, including friends and family in the first look, even from a distance, acknowledges the role they’ve played in the couple’s journey. It allows those closest to the couple to feel involved and witness a profoundly significant moment, strengthening the sense of community and support surrounding the couple.

Creative Ideas for a Unique Wedding Day First Look

However, it’s important to consider the couple’s comfort level with being observed during such a personal moment. Clear communication and planning can ensure that everyone understands where to stand and how to respect the couple’s space during the first look.

Incorporating friends and family into the first look in this way can transform it from a private exchange into a shared experience that celebrates the couple’s love and the support of their community. This blending of intimacy and inclusivity can set a joyful and communal tone for the rest of the wedding festivities.

Creative Ideas for a Unique Wedding Day First Look on a Rooftop

Creative Ideas for a Unique Wedding Day First Look, In Conclusion

Remember, the first look is all about creating a special moment that reflects your relationship. Whether you opt for something traditional or more outside the box, the key is to make it personal and meaningful to you as a couple. Whichever approach you choose, this will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable moments of your wedding day.

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