My couples spend months (even years) planning the wedding day of their dreams. Untold effort goes into a wedding celebration, but the average wedding only lasts 4-8 hours. The day never fails to fly by. So how can you slow things down and savor every second of your wedding day? In this post, I’m breaking down how to choose between a first look, a first touch, or exchanging private vows/gifts to help slow down and soak in your wedding day to the fullest.
Even the most simple, laid-back weddings can feel like a whirlwind – which is why a first look can be so integral. I always ask my couples to consider a first look before the ceremony for a host of reasons.
So what is a first look? A first look is when you and your soon-to-be spouse privately see each other for the first time before the ceremony, all dressed up and ready to say “I do.”
One of my new favorite trends is having a first look with anyone who shares a big part of your heart. I’ve had brides and grooms do a first look with their moms, dads, and even their children. These quiet moments are priceless, and the photos are always some of the top favorites of the day.
Say cheers to this new chapter in your love story with shots or champagne! This is a time to celebrate to the fullest, and many of my couples love to take a shot or share a glass of bubbly together before the party is in full swing.
If you want to keep to the tradition of seeing each other for the first time during the ceremony, a first touch lets you steal away a tender moment with your partner before you walk down the aisle. A first touch can be as simple as taking a moment to hold hands with each other around a corner or as thoughtful as reading private vows to each other through a cracked door. Like a first look, it’s a moment all to yourselves.
NOTE: First touches can be for anyone. One of my favorite first touch memories is when a bride incorporated one with her blind father. Watching her and her father touch her wedding dress for the first time was a truly emotional moment to witness.
Whether you decide to do a first touch or a first look, many couples love to use this intimate moment to share private wedding vows. For all those inside jokes no one else knows or personal vows you don’t want to share in front of a crowd, exchanging private vows adds another layer of meaning before sharing your public “I do”s.
If you really want to keep to tradition and not see or speak to each other before the ceremony, a gift exchange is another way to pause separately and know your partner is thinking of you. If gifts aren’t your love language, writing a letter for your partner to read while they get ready is a sweet gesture they’ll treasure for years to come.
When planning the wedding day timeline with my couples, I always recommend setting aside time for a first look or first touch. Sometimes my couples even choose a first look, private vow reading, and exchange gifts – and they never regret a single second. At the end of the day, these are the moments you’ll hold onto and never want to forget.
With over 9 years of wedding photography experience, I know all the insider tips on making your wedding day vision come to life. I’d love to chat about what you’re thinking – you can get in touch with me here!
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Photographing weddings and portraits in Kerrville, Fredericksburg, Boerne, Austin, San Antonio, and the surrounding Texas Hill Country.