Hackettstown, New Jersey, Questions about the first look and why should I consider one?




What is the first look and why should I consider one?

Beautiful, timeless, memorable, romantic, fun, exciting, and traditional are just a few words that come to mind while describing weddings. Yet, when weddings come up in conversation, it is automatically assumed that they are incredibly stressful, nerve-wracking, too busy, a lot of pressure, under high expectations, and superstition goes along with the wedding industry. 


Why do wedding couples consider the first look on their wedding day?

So, let’s cut to the chase. One of the more stressful parts of the couple’s day centers around not seeing one another before the ceremony and the structure of the wedding timeline. Tradition dictates that the groom is not supposed to see his bride before the ceremony as she walks down the aisle. Well folks, this is superstition. I can assure you that this is a moment full of emotion and as a photographer, this is one of the moments I purely enjoy capturing at a wedding; however, this is not my only favorite moment capturing at a wedding. The first look is a trend that seems to be popping up more and more and I would like to take a second to educate you on how the first look can truly benefit your wedding day and wedding timeline. Making a few alterations to your wedding day timeline will benefit you greatly and allow you to enjoy your wedding day, hand-in-hand. 


So, what is the first look?

The first look is a moment designated to the groom, bride, and photographers only. The first look unfolds as the groom awaits for his bride. She taps him on his right shoulder, he turns, and he is able to view his breathtaking bride for the first time on their wedding day. The bride and groom spend a few moments together in an embrace, cherish the present moment as it unfolds in front of them, and in final, photograph their bride and groom portraits. The photographers guide the bride and groom through the first look step-by-step. 


How is the first look executed?

For a first look venue, we guide our couples to a beautiful location at your venue, or travel to a separate venue (if the timeline allows). We will position our groom looking along the horizon (such as a grassy field, over the ocean along a beautiful seaside pier or under a beautiful weeping willow tree). The groom will be looking over the horizon and the bride will meet at this space. We will photograph from both parties perspective. Michelle with the bride and our second photographer positioned near the groom. We will capture your expressions and the moment as you see one another for the first time simultaneously. This is truly a wonderful moment to share with couples and the photographers are able to capture beautiful, candid portraits. From here, we will give you a few minutes to yourselves and follow with family portraits and wedding party portraits.


What is the difference between a first look and the traditional route? 

I have photographed several first looks last season. In comparison to those weddings without the first look, those with, were truly less stressful for the wedding couples. These weddings were ahead of schedule and couples noted that they were very relaxed and were truly able to enjoy in comparison to what they have heard about wedding days. During the cocktail hours, some newlyweds even had the ability to sit by themselves and eat their first meal together in the bridal suite! It was perfectly planned, as you’ve heard the nightmares of not being able to eat a meal and slice of cake you paid over $100 for on your own wedding day! 

The first look does not replace the walk down the aisle moment, yet it is an additional photo shoot, additional bonus time to spend with your significant other giving you time to relax and unwind together.

Additional benefits to a well planned and executed first look:

  1. Adds another memorable moment to your wedding day
  2. Takes pressure off an already busy day
  3. Enjoy a few minutes to yourselves 
  4. Capture beautiful bridal and groom portraits together with the extra time. See our blog on wedding day family formals.
  5. Spend more time with your family, friends, and wedding guests by completing your wedding party and family portraits completed before the ceremony so you can enjoy your cocktail hour and maybe you’ll even be able to squeeze your dinner in earlier!
  6. My couples describe their wedding day as one of their most cherished days of their lives. It makes sense to spend this day together, with your life partner, right? 



  1. Superstition held against the event. 
  2. Steers away from American wedding tradition practiced by our families.
  3. I’ll disappoint parents, and worse, my future in-laws! Bah!


Seriously though, you do not want to run around with a crazy schedule on your wedding day. Trust me. 


Photography Credits

Photographydu soleil photography
Second PhotographerMichelle Behre Photography
Wedding CoordinationCondella Consulting
Floral DesignRobin Hill Florists
Venue: Family Private Estate
Wedding DressBHLDN
Bride’s ShoesBagdley Mishka
Hair and Makeup ArtistAlexander’s Day Spa
Groom’s ShoesTo Boot NY
RentalsMCR Design Group
CateringEpicurean Delight
Wedding CakesLadybird Bakery
BandBachelor Boys
Invitations and CalligraphyStonefawx Studios


Featured: Ruffled

Michelle Behre is one of the premiere New Jersey full-service wedding and portrait photographers specializing in photojournalism. Her images are timeless, romantic, chic, and joyful. If you are looking for a wedding and portrait photographer in New Jersey, she would love to hear from you! Visit Michelle’s portfolio or contact her for more information on having her photograph your special day!

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