It's hard to be present in the moment when your whole guest list is watching.

By Helen Sondag
February 10, 2020

The first look is practical in terms of timing the photos and cocktail hour, but it's also incredibly romantic. It's a chance for the bride and groom to spend some time together before the ceremony—just the two of them (well, and their photographer). Sadly, sometimes it's not all that private due to bridal party members or other onlookers trying to catch a glimpse. "Privacy is key to an unforgettable first look," says Megan Grose, founder of Brindle + Oak. "Your wedding planner and photographer work hand in hand to ensure this incredible moment is intimate. Yes, Mom, Grandma, and the bridesmaids may beg you to watch from afar, but we recommend keeping this between you, your partner, and the trusted vendors who capture it."

Here's how to make the moment you see each other for the first time a personal, meaningful one.

Related: Here's How to Sneak in a Little Alone Time with Your New Spouse on Your Wedding Day

Promise pictures.

You can hardly blame your loved ones for trying to take a look. After all, they're excited—and who doesn't love seeing the groom's face light up when he turns around to face his bride? "There is a lot of anticipation, excitement, nerves and emotion that occur in this moment, and having a group of onlookers may detract from the intimacy," Grose explains. Start by communicating your desire to keep it private. "Assure them you will send the captured images after the wedding," Grose adds.

Get away.

The ceremony venue will likely be teeming with friends, family, and vendors preparing for the big day; you're better off relocating and removing the temptation to watch completely. "Ask your photographer to scout an intimate and beautiful backdrop away from potential crowds,” suggests Lorrie Betsill Nielson, founder and creative director of Unveiled Hawaii. "This will also allow the photographers, who might be in an unknown place, time to familiarize themselves with the location so that you have the perfect backdrop for a seamless first look. Doing so will pave the way for the utmost privacy so that you as a couple can truly be present in the moment."

Give yourself time.

If you're having a first look, you're probably planning on taking pictures with the bridesmaids and groomsmen immediately after. Make sure you have enough time to get back—or better yet, have your planner lead the ladies and gentlemen your way. "For bridal party photos, really any photos occurring before the ceremony, keep your timeline generously padded," Grose says.

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