No, it’s not required. But DANG, you should and heres why ..

One question many couples ask me is should we plan a first look? I’m a huge fan of first looks because it’s such a sentimental and romantic moment that is inspiring to photograph. There are many more reasons why doing a first look is a fabulous idea. But, it’s not for every couple. So let’s go through all the considerations so you can decide if this should be a part of your best day ever.


Romantic souls fall in love with the idea of a first look because it is such a deeply intimate and meaningful moment. It’s also one of the few moments of your actual wedding day you spend alone together! The romantic sentiment of a first look is a major reason why the wedding trend of first looks has stayed popular for so many years. I can’t even remember when I was asked to photograph my first look. I just know my heart sings every time I hear it’s in the wedding day schedule. 


When the groom is waiting for his bride in the private shaded area for the first look, he’s usually nervous. Then the bride arrives and taps her guy on the shoulder and they see each other for the first time. The nerves instantly float away. There often are tears, laughter and soft snuggles. It becomes one of the most romantic and intimate collection of images in the wedding album. 

The first look releases natural stress that most couples have before the ceremony. You relax after seeing each other, which is a significant advantage for people who get stressed out easily. You have a moment to hold hands and say, “You look gorgeous, and I can’t wait to marry you today!” Any stress turns into positive excitement.


As a North Dakota wedding photographer, you can guess I always love more time for photos. A first look means we can get couple photos before the ceremony in different areas that we might not have time for later. After you’ve seen each other, we will also be able to capture the bridal party portraits and family portraits before the ceremony. This allows you to have more time to interact with guests and relax during social hour after you’re Mr and Mrs. 

The extra time can be a blessing if you have a sunset or winter wedding when the light disappears quickly in the Midwest. If it happens to rain after the ceremony, you will be pleased you have those precious couple photos already done.

You can see there are many benefits to doing a first look. Worried about the special moment of seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle? From the couples who have done first look with me, the feedback is always that it was still exciting and if anything, they were relaxed and more “in the moment” as they joined each other at the altar.


Here are some helpful hints. But don’t worry, I’ll be there to make sure it goes perfectly.

  • Ensure it’s only you and your love (and the photographer and videographer) to maintain that intimate feeling (sorry, bridesmaids and mamas)
  • Keep your hair and make-up artist on-site for touch-ups before the ceremony
  • Show your partner photos of first looks before the big day if they are not on board with the idea at first

If you are not strictly traditional, would love a more diverse collection of wedding images and want a stress-free vibe surrounding your wedding day, a first look might be for you. You separate before the ceremony, so you still have the experience of seeing each other at the end of the aisle as the ceremony starts. I promise the emotions at that moment are just as joyful and thrilling even if you saw each other earlier.

Drop me a line if you are thinking of doing a first look in North Dakota and have questions on how the moment can unfold. I can’t wait to hear from you!


June 23, 2021


Kiella Lawrence


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I'm Kiella (key-la) - I am deeply committed to authentically capturing the love and connection between couples, valuing the uniqueness of each story. It would be an absolute honor to tell your love story through my lens, creating genuine and timeless memories for you to cherish.

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