Why the First Look Is Worth It

March 2, 2018

By this point, you’ve probably heard everyone talk about it — the first look.

Breaking the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride before the ceremony, the First Look provides an opportunity for you to spend time with your husband or wife-to-be before the ceremony and before the day really gets going.

Maybe you like the idea of the First Look, but you’re still a little nervous. Is it really worth it to break such a longstanding tradition?

From experience as a photographer and a groom, the First Look is absolutely worth it and here’s why.

The bride and groom at Thousand Acre Farm by Washington DC Wedding Photographer Adam Mason

40% More Portraits

You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography. With a First Look, you’ll receive 40% MORE portraits of the two of you and those are the images you will decorate your first home with.

With a First Look, you make the most out of this large investment and get the best bang for your buck.

A first look at Stone Tower Winery by Washington DC Wedding Photographer Adam Mason

Enjoy the Surprise Freely

You actually get to have intimate time on your wedding day with your spouse.

Most couples don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally SHOCK each other with your gorgeousness, you can’t touch each other, embrace, or even SPEAK to one another.

You have to wait until 30 minutes later when the ceremony is over for the other person to react and tell you how amazing you look. After 30 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance.

The bride and bridesmaids at Philander Chase Knox Estate with Washington DC Wedding Photographer Adam Mason

Extend Your Day by 3 Hours

First Looks allow you to extend your wedding day.

Normally the wedding day would start when you come down the aisle, then the ceremony would end, you would rush through portraits so that you’re not late for the introductions, and then it’s reception time.

With a First Look, your wedding day is extended by almost three hours.

Instead of being rushed for your wedding party portraits, you actually get to enjoy them and have fun hanging out with your BEST friends on your wedding day.

The WHOLE first half of my client’s wedding albums are filled with images just from this time together before the ceremony.

The bride and groom at the Fairmont Washington DC by Washington DC Wedding Photographer Adam Mason

Your Only Alone Time

First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day.

When Sara and I saw each, not only was it intimate, it was our only time to be alone the whole day! We cried and laughed and cried some more and then that put us in the PERFECT mood for our romantic portraits.

Normally portraits are a little rushed after the family formals and it can be hard to really get into that “lovey dovey” mode, especially with the family around!

When you have just shared your first look, you’re READY to love on each other and I always capture some super sweet images during those moments!

The groom waiting for the first look by Washington DC Wedding Photographer Adam Mason

Diminishes Nerves

You get rid of your nerves!

I’d say with literally half of my couples who have decided to do a first look, the grooms were not fans of it at first. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve wracking it could be.

I have testimonials from so many grooms who initially weren’t a fan of the First Look, but afterwards admitted to being SO much more relaxed and ready for the ceremony!

The happy couple at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore by Washington DC Wedding Photographer Adam Mason

Ultimately, it’s always a personal decision to include or exclude a First Look from your big day and there are a ton of different factors that go into it, but if you’re on the fence and your only hesitation is bucking tradition, you can now see why it’s absolutely worth it.

Still curious if you should do a first look? Here’s our best pros & cons list of First Looks!

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To learn more about booking your Washington DC Wedding, Engagement, or storytelling session contact Adam via the Contact link in the menu, or email directly at

Adam is local to Washington, DC and is currently booking 2018 & 2019 wedding photography sessions.

Adam Mason frequently travels for wedding, event, and non-profit portrait sessions and has clients from coastal Maui to Iceland. To find out details regarding his upcoming travel dates to a city near you or to book a custom travel session, please contact for more information.