First Look: How it Unlocks Your Wedding Timeline | London, Kitchener and Toronto Ontario Wedding Photographer | Dylan & Sandra Photography

First Look: How it Unlocks Your Wedding Timeline


filed in

A Special Wedding Day Moment

He could feel her presence behind him. Hands together, sweat on his palms and butterflies in his stomach. This is the moment! He takes a deep breath. He thinks about how the woman he is about to marry. The one that he has chosen to be his forever bride. She is right there, right behind him. She taps him on the shoulder and as he turns around, the couple admires one another. They are both in awe. There is so much excitement, anticipation and love flowing through the air. These two individuals about to become one. The embrace they share is so raw and so pure. 

Just you and your future spouse

A first look on a wedding day is such a special moment. To see each other for the first time alone, just you and the one you love. What a special thing. I know for Sandra and I when we got married we had never heard of a first look. Now that we are wedding photographers in London Ontario and have seen many first look moments, if we could go back in time, we would definitely do a first look!

Let’s be honest though. If Sandra presented the idea of a first look to me for our wedding day, I would have probably been a little hesitant. I am very much a traditionalist and know how incredible the aisle moment is. But, we have heard time and time again and also seen at weddings we have photographed that a first look is a completely separate moment and even enhances the aisle moment. Real talk; I (Dylan) cried during the rehearsal, we weren’t even at the wedding day yet and I was crying.

Hamilton Ontario Wedding Photos taken by Dylan & Sandra Photography

Everyone that has chosen to do a first look has never regretted doing it! The guys especially have appreciated it because they were relieved that the big moment on their day was a private intimate moment, rather than in front of everyone at their wedding. It can be really stressful for a guy to have his first look at his bride in front of everyone! Most of the guys end up crying twice on the wedding day, once during the first look and once when the bride comes down the aisle. Some even cry when the bridesmaids start coming down because they know what is coming! A first look gives you that extra space where you can share a quiet moment with your spouse.

Bride and Groom's first look at Victoria Park in Kitchener Ontario during their wedding day by Dylan and Sandra Photography

Wedding timeline advantages of a first look

From a photography stand point, the first look provides you with some of the most candid, raw and sweetest photos because you are so focused on one another and you can completely let your guard down because it is just you and your spouse. Our couples always love these photos! When we are getting you both in place for the first look my (Dylan’s) favourite moment is standing with the guy and taking a deep breath together with him. This is his moment, he is super excited, nervous, and all the things!

Along with the benefit of spending more time together on your wedding day, from a photography perspective, the first look also gives you some incredible advantages that unlock your timeline and maximize your time with your photographer. When we do weddings that incorporate a first look, we love to use these timeline advantages because we think they serve you, your family, and closest friends the best.

Why your wedding party will love a first look

Wedding parties love a first look and here’s why. After your first look and some bride and groom portraits, we get your wedding party to come join us and start photographing your party straight away. The bridesmaids love this because the are looking their best and the absolute freshest. They have just finished hair and makeup, they don’t have tired feet from standing during the ceremony in their heals, they aren’t hungry, thirsty or have mascara running from crying during the ceremony. The guys love it because right after there ceremony they can head straight to the bar!

Bride and groom have a soft and special moment together during their portrait session - London Ontario Wedding Photographer - Photo taken in Woodstock Ontario by Dylan Martin Photography

Getting your traditional family portraits done

When we are all finished up with the wedding party, we love to take the time to capture some traditional photographs of your immediate family. We keep it to immediate family to give us lots of time to do the larger group photos and then also some smaller “breakouts” before your ceremony. This way we can have group shots of each side and also just you and your mom, or you and your siblings, etc… By this time in your schedule, we are getting pretty close to the ceremony. At this point we send you guys away to rest and retouch before the ceremony, while we capture details of your ceremony setup and guests arriving. 

After the wedding ceremony: time to party!

Because the “heavy lifting” for the photographs is done before the ceremony when you incorporate a first look, you won’t need a huge gap between your ceremony and reception! Your cocktail hour can start right away and your family and wedding party – the people most important to you – can immediately start enjoying the party that you have planned! How good is that?

While your guests start at the cocktail hour, we will wisp you guys away quickly for about 20-30 minutes to capture some husband and wife photographs. We only need you for a short time for photographs, so you know all those awesome hors d’oeuvres and drinks you picked out? Yeah, you get to enjoy those! Have an aunt, relative or friend you haven’t seen in years you wanted to connect with? Well you get to enjoy most of your cocktail hour, so go be with them! We will capture your reception details while you relax and party!

We love doing first looks for so many reasons, and these are just a few. If you have any questions about first look or want to talk with us more feel free to contact us here. 

To see some weddings where we had first looks, have a look at a few of these blogs:

Pourie & Nick | Elsie Perrin Williams Estate Wedding in London, Ontario

Tonya & Adrian | Polish Italian Wedding at Michelangelos Banquet Hall in Hamilton, Ontario

Kristen & Tom | Kitchener Ontario Intimate Backyard Wedding



Wedding TIPS

for photographers

browse by category

We're Dylan & Sandra. Married photographers, donut lovers, and obsessed with family and our squishy toddler. We're so glad you're here! Grab a drink and stay awhile for classic + joy-filled love stories in and around the GTA, London, Niagara and the best-of wedding advice!  



Fall in Love

On the daily.