Shane Cleminson

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Should we do first look at our wedding?

When I started photographing weddings in the early 2000’s first looks were very rare.

Today, this trend has been firmly established and about half the couples I photograph choose one. Research I have read on current trends in the industry reflect this half and half split through out the USA at weddings right now.

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. I love the creativity of a first look and getting the faces as one partner walks up behind the other or as they turn together to face each other. Being a big old romantic goof, I also love the old tradition and capturing the walk down the aisle and that first look surrounded by family and friends. My wife and I chose not to see each other until she walked down the aisle. (Yes….. I cried like a baby haha)

As your photographer I will never tell you what to choose. It is your day and I will adapt to your choice.

I will however happily share some pro’s and con’s and what I have found and the choice is yours.


  1. You get to connect with one another before the day gets too busy with other people.
  2. You save time after the ceremony. This is key if time is an issue or you want to be at your cocktail hour.
  3. You may be less nervous just the two of you. An added bonus, if you cry no one will see.
  4. It is a good time to exchange gifts or read personal vows.


  1. You loose that first look at the alter.
  2. You may need to be ready a little earlier.
  3. Logistics of where to do it if you get ready far apart can be hard and avoiding family and guests if you want real privacy.
  4. Your dress could pick up a little dirt on floors or sand before the ceremony. (it’s gonna happen all day later though until you bustle)

One other option worth looking at is a first touch.

Some couples will hold hands around a door or corner and read vows or a letter or swap gifts. 



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