Is a first look right for us?

Busch Stadium Wedding_0088

Over the past few years a new St. Louis wedding photography tradition has developed and grown quickly in popularity: the “First Look ” or “First Glance.”  First Look is a elegant expression for “ the bride and groom seeing each other privately some time prior to the wedding ceremony.”  First looks can be done  to get the most out of your time line, to calm your nerves, to take family portraits before the ceremony, to take creative portraits before the ceremony,  to travel to the ceremony location together or with your entire wedding party, because you want to have a private moment alone before exchanging vows in front of a large audience, or a combination of the needs listed.

The First Look has many pros and cons. As a St. Louis wedding photographer, I feel that it is my job to educate my clients about their options and not direct your  decision based on my own feelings — after all,  it is your wedding day. There are quite a few pros to having a first look, the most popular reason to do a first look is being able to go directly to cocktail hour after your ceremony instead of taking that time to pose for creative portraits. In most cases the cons are far more personal and have very little to do with logistics of the wedding day timeline: you may have always dreamed of having that moment when you walked down the aisle, if you see your future spouse before the wedding, you won’t have that moment of seeing them for the first time as the doors open for the ceremony.

St. Louis Wedding photographer First Look in lafayette park

There are many factors to consider when deciding if a First Look is right for you. The first thing to consider is your feelings along with the feelings of your spouse. The second, as it applies to to timing and photography, is your timeline. Sometimes opting for the first look is necessary for you to maximize your wedding day coverage and enjoy the event you worked so hard to plan and sometimes keeping the traditional wedding day is the best choice. Only you know what is best for you.  So with that said, if you are planning a wedding – let me just encourage you by saying – do what is best for you!  

Here are just a few reasons that a first look may be the best fit for you on your wedding day:


Couples that do a first look generally spend 4-5 more hours with their spouse-to-be on their wedding day.  Your wedding day will go by so quickly; if you are not careful the business of the day can take over as you move from one thing to the next. Choosing to do a first look allows for an intimate and quiet time between both of you. Couples use it as special time to focus on each other, to read a sweet note they have written for their spouse, or reflect on the importance of the day, and to privately share their emotions and love for each other before getting swept up in the day’s events. 

st. louis wedding photographer first look

 The First-Look is almost ALWAYS more intimate and emotional than the “traditional” way.

This is almost always hard for my brides and grooms to believe, but it is true. The private nature of a first look allows for authentic emotion.

I like to create an intimate setting for the couple’s who choose to do a  first look to create a one of kind memory, that I am often told surpasses anything they ever imagined. I  keep friends and family  away so that it is just the two (and me, but I am so quite you don’t notice me!).  It is my intention to allow all the time you both desire with one and other, as I capture the authentic emotion that comes from the sweet moments you are sharing.

The alternative is much different than most people recognize.  Many people have a overwhelming sense of pressure as they are being watched by a room full of the people they love most, some people become overwhelmed or distracted and often cannot fully recall the moment they thought would be so sweet.  Suddenly the beautiful moment you waited for has passed and the formalities of the ceremony have started, leaving no time to just enjoy that moment with each other.

Tiger Hotel Columbia MO Engagement Photos_0705

  Enjoy your guest and be part of the party

Doing a first look allows you time to experience the party that you worked so hard to plan, because you will not have as many photos to take after the ceremony you can go right to your cocktail party or reception and spend time visiting with your guest and enjoying the party.

st. charles wedding photographer_0257

As I mentioned there are several reasons couples decide a first look is not right for them, here a a few reasons that a first look may not be right for you, it is OKAY to say no to the First look. Here are just a few reasons why a First Look may not be right for you.

You want more time in your day-for you!

 Foregoing a first look can give you a little more calm in the middle of a beautiful storm and allow you a few more precious moments to yourself. If you desire a relaxed morning of sleeping in, and  pampering doing an early first look may not fit your vision for your wedding day.

st. louis wedding photographer

Your Gown will Remain Pristine

Many couples who do a first look choose a scenic, outdoor locale because it makes for beautiful wedding photos. Unfortunately, that means an increased likelihood you’ll be dragging your train through the elements . If you forego the first look, you don’t have to worry about your dress, shoes, or veil getting soiled before the ceremony – it will remain perfect for your big moment. 

st. josephs shrine wedding_0378


That moment when the church doors open and the groom sees his bride for the first time – it is breathtaking- it is the moment you always dreamed of. The anticipation as the song begins and the door handle slightly moves and you are escorted down the aisle  is the amazing moment you always wanted. 

st. louis church wedding


There is a resounding joy in celebrating your new wedding vows, that kind of enthusiasm and joy is hard to replicate.  When you look back at your wedding album you will remember those moments after your wedding ceremony and they authenticity if the joy that has been captured in the moments after you became husband and wife.

Graham Chapel St. louis Wedding photographer

Ultimately, you will  have a “First Look” no matter if it comes before the ceremony or during the ceremony. I believe it is best to decide what your heart wants, and then consider what type of photographs are the most important to the both of you.

st. louis wedding photographer

Thank you for viewing the work of  St. Louis wedding photographer Dana Tate, the premier St. Louis wedding photographer for the stylish bride.

Dana Tate | Weddings specializes in modern wedding photography blending portraiture and photojournalism. St. Louis wedding photographer, Dana Tate captures the details, beauty, and emotions of your day through timeless images. Your wedding photography is carefully personalized for your day and your unique personality to offer the best St. Louis wedding photography experience available.

Dana Tate award winning wedding photographer provides St Louis wedding photography coverage to St. Louis metro area, Chesterfield, MO. and St. Charles, Mo.

Dana Tate award winning St. Louis wedding photographer serves St. Louis and surrounding areas.

Contact Dana today for more information about booking your wedding photography. 636.399.1032

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

beauty. photography. lifestyle

Dana Tate

back to top


beauty & Style
Work with me 

Find Me behind the chair at Salon Belissimo 
237 Plaza Dr, Wildwood, MO 63040

now accepting new clients



back to top

© 2018 Dana Tate


Portrait, Wedding, &