Shelly Pate

Private Moment Inspiration: More Than Just Your Wedding First Look

Bride surprises groom during wedding first look

On your wedding day, it can be surprisingly difficult to get time alone. From dawn until dusk you are surrounded by friends, family, makeup artists, videographers, and photographers (Hi!) who are all making the day happen. Sometimes, this even includes your pets! A chunk of this time (if you don’t opt to get ready together) is spent apart as you prepare for the first look and ceremony. That means every private moment you two have together is priceless! Here are the best ways to snag more of those precious moments together outside of your wedding first look.

Couple embraces during wedding first look

Your #1 Private Moment: Wedding First Look

Couple kisses after vows during wedding first look

As a wedding first look has become the norm (and I’m totally for them!), it’s also common for this to be the only private moment together on your day. With the rush of moving through the wedding events timeline there can be very few moments to spare for just the two of you. If you don’t run with any other private moment ideas, then allot the appropriate space in your timeline to enjoy your wedding first look to the fullest.

Couple exchanges vows during wedding first look

During the first look you can take this moment to exchange vows meant solely for your spouse-to-be’s ears, opting for simpler ones during the ceremony. I will even step back and use a long-focus lens so that you can enjoy a truly tucked-away moment! I elaborate on this further, but it will surprise you that often couples get more emotional during the ceremony even after a first look.

Couple holds hands during wedding first touch

A different version of a first look is called a “first touch.” This is great for couples who don’t want to see each other before the ceremony but do want to spend some special time together. Couples can also read letters to each other during the first look or first touch. However you plan it, a wedding first look helps you to settle into the experience and not spend your entire day in a daze!

After the Ceremony: Preview the Reception Room & Eat Your Meal (or a Snack)!

Couple sits on couch at backyard wedding reception

More than likely, you won’t have much time to sit down and enjoy your wedding meal. Even if you’ve already done your wedding first look together, taking a break to eat in your wedding timeline of events is very important. Between chatting with guests and dancing during the reception, you might miss out on enjoying the amazing reception meal you planned.

Couple eats snack during wedding first look

To prevent this, right after the ceremony you two can slip away to take in the beauty of your reception design and eat a snack or the meal itself. There’s just something different about seeing the reception space before the guests arrive. After getting most photos during the wedding first look, you can basically sneak away for your own private cocktail hour. If you skipped the first look, you can also use this time for additional photos in the amazing space that you created!

PRO TIP: Choose Wedding Day Events to Do Privately

You two can even opt to do a specific portion of the day on your own besides the wedding first look. One option is having a “last dance” together at the end of the reception while your guests line up outside for the sparkler exit. You can select any other moments from your day to do just the two of you!

Couple closes eyes for wedding reception first look

Private Moment Idea: Take a 2nd Set of Photos Just the Two of You

Couple kisses during sunset wedding photos

If you wish to enjoy the full cocktail hour with your guests, sunset photos can be the best final touch of your photo coverage. Whether we are in the city, an outdoor elopement setting, or an outdoor wedding venue, sunset photos are ones you won’t want to miss!

Couple embraces during sunset wedding photos

Sometimes this even falls during cocktail hour between the ceremony and the reception where it’s the perfect opportunity to slow down and take in the moment. You can sneak away and realize: OMG! We just got married! It’s an especially important time if you didn’t opt for a wedding first look so we can get those “just married” glowing faces! 

PRO TIP: Do a Day-Before or Day-After Photography Session

Couple holds hands at Lincoln Memorial sunset session

Opting for a day-before or day-after session has so many benefits! For destination weddings it allows you to explore the area more thoroughly. You don’t have to concern yourself as much with getting all the photos you want on the wedding day since you’ve captured so many beforehand. This allows for joining cocktail hour and spending more time with your guests. And as a photographer, I love the fact that we aren’t as crunched for time and restricted by lighting. We can get the best shots at the best times with zero limitations!

Couple embraces at Lincoln Memorial sunset session

Why Private Moments Are Worth It Even With a Wedding First Look

I solidly recommend that all of my couples do at least two private encounters together throughout the wedding day. One of these can most definitely be a first look or a first touch. I still 1000% recommend doing a wedding first look even in addition to other private moments.

Your wedding day will go by in a flash and feel very go go go all day. Each of my couples that have taken this time away have been very happy that they did! It allows you a little breathing room so you can soak it in and celebrate together instead of just entertaining your guests. This day is for you two, I wouldn’t want you to miss any of it.

There are so many other options for making all of these moments count like smaller, intimate weddings, zero-guest elopements, or destination weddings with day-before photos! I love all of them and would love to swap some stories so you can figure out which one fits you two the best!

Couple walks through backyard tent reception
Couple kisses at sunset backyard wedding venue

Wedding Tips Series

Part 1: Make the Most of Your Wedding Morning Getting Ready
Part 2: Best Wedding Day Tips: How to Plan a Relaxed Wedding
Part 3: Private Moment Inspiration: More Than Just Your Wedding First Look
Part 4: Wedding Photography Packages: Knowing How to Choose the Best Fit
Part 5: Getting the Best Wedding Day Photos – Tips & Ideas for Wedding Photo Poses Part 6: Unique Wedding Planning Tips for a Smooth Wedding Day

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