Trending Now: First Looks with Family Members and Friends
The first time your future husband or wife sees you in your wedding dress is bound to be an emotional moment. And while many photographers highly recommend having a first look with your fiancé, we think it's also important to recreate a similar experience with other members of your family or wedding party. Much like a first look with your fiancé, these reveals often calm pre-wedding nerves and result in incredible photos you'll always treasure.
What makes these photos so special is that they involve the people who have watched you grow over the years. From your college roommate (who's standing in as maid of honor!) to your beloved grandparents, sharing a first look with those you love most—beyond your fiancé!—is sure to be a big-day highlight. The following images, which showcase all types of first looks between brides and their loved ones, prove just that. They'll also inspire your own interpretation. Make like one bride and have your mom help you into your wedding dress to surprise your bridesmaids (or vice versa!). Or, have your photographer help coordinate the big reveal, like this bride did here. "I set the girls up on the front porch and counted to three before they all turned around and saw Laura as a beautiful bride," says photographer Heather Payne. "The overwhelming excitement and emotion made for a truly special moment."
While many couples opt to have a second first look (these typically follow their own) with their parents or best friends, others use it in lieu of the tradition—especially if they want their first look with their future spouse to happen on the aisle. However you decide to work this impactful moment into your big day, there's likely a photo ahead that'll resonate with you.
Faith may or may not play a significant part in your wedding. If you fall into the first camp, though, this father-daughter moment will resonate with you: This image shows the bride and her father in prayer shortly after seeing each other for the first time on the big day.
Although every embrace is special on your wedding day, the one you receive after your father sees you for the first time is one you'll want to document. This bride's dad couldn't help but give her a big hug after he got his first glimpse of his little girl in her wedding dress.
Even the littlest attendants deserve a first look with the woman of the hour. This little girl, in awe of the bride's beauty, placed a tiny flower in her hair as soon as she saw her.
Your siblings have been with you throughout the majority of your life's milestones, so it's important to commemorate the journey by sharing a first look with them. This bride's brothers were clearly emotional when they saw their sister in her wedding dress for the first time.
Sharing this moment with both your mother and grandmother puts family at the center of your wedding day. Not only will this make for a touching photograph—it will also capture three generations of strong matriarchs in one photo just like this one did.
A first look with your dad makes for a vulnerable and emotional moment. This father couldn't help but shed a tear when he first saw his daughter in her wedding dress.
Shocked Bridal Party
The majority of your friends have never seen you in your wedding dress, so be sure to ask your photographer to capture the big reveal. Their expressions will likely be similar to those of these 'maids—and will undoubtedly result in a priceless photo.
Some of the most special first looks happen when no one is looking. The photographer captured this poignant father-daughter moment by hiding in the bushes—their emotional exchange made the extra work worth it.
Awestruck Flower Girl
Young guests always bring unfiltered, pure charm to your big-day photos. Take this flower girl, for example, whose awestruck expression stole our hearts.
Before all the hustle and bustle of the big day, share a relaxing moment with your mother. It'll give you the chance to cherish the upcoming celebration privately—perhaps she'll share a last-minute piece of wisdom!—before the ceremony starts.
A bridesmaid's most important task is to support the bride during her journey to her wedding day. To honor this journey, consider documenting the first time you see your girls after getting all done up—especially if you have a large bridal party like this one (so many priceless reactions!). "I always recommend doing first looks with your bridesmaids before the big day," says photographer Olivia Markle, "because there is nothing better than having a moment as exciting as this captured."
Wave of Emotion
From walking you down the aisle to spinning you around during the father-daughter dance, your dad will play a major role in your wedding. Make sure to capture the first moment when he sees you as a bride—it's bound to be special.
For some couples, marriage not only symbolizes the joining of two people, but also the union of two families. This first look sums that up: The bride shared it with her daughter—who her groom adopted shortly after the wedding—and niece.
Let Me Look at You
Sometimes seeing your mother for the first time on the big day is as fun and surprising for you as it is for her. We love how this mother-daughter pair sized each other up ahead of the celebration (the MOB was just as stylish as the woman of the hour!).
Despite their size, the littlest guests often have the biggest reactions. This flower girl nearly knocked the bride over when she saw her for the first time on the wedding day.
Shannon Moffit says photographing first looks with your parents is a must for your wedding album. "As a photographer, experiencing quiet moments with parents during the getting-ready portion of the day can be very special," Moffit says. "Parents are there through many milestones in our lives, so there are almost always great emotional reactions on a wedding day, which make for great photos."
After you and your bridesmaids finish up in the bridal suite, give your photographer a chance to capture that tangible anticipation before you make your way to the ceremony. "I always think it's such a lovely idea to capture that excitement and glow of the girls just before the bride walked down the aisle to see their significant other," says David of We Are Origami Photography.
Loss for Words
Your dad may be a man of many words, but he'll probably be speechless (this father of the bride definitely was!) during your first look—which makes the moment doubly-worth capturing.
You may have to re-apply your makeup afterwards (or invest in waterproof cosmetics, like this wise bride!), but it's more than worth it to get a shot of that tearful first look with Dad.
The looks on this bride's grandparents' faces are absolutely priceless. Set up a first look with yours to snap a timeless photo just like this one.
Your dad may have watched you play dress up while growing up, but he's probably not prepared for your transformation from daughter to bride. "I love how a dad looks at his daughter in her wedding dress for the first," says Ryan of Pure7 Studios, "he has tears coming down his face and I imagine how he sees that 6-year-old daughter playing princess."
While your first look with your parents is special all on its own, it's even more poignant when a tradition is involved. Here, this bride's mother inspected her hands, which had previously been adorned with henna—an Indian wedding ritual that symbolizes positive spirits and good luck.
Bridesmaids Getting Ready
While your bridesmaids are busy getting ready, corral them into a nearby room so you can slip into your dress solo. When it's time for the big reveal, you may just get an epic reaction photo, much like this one.
As evidenced by this emotional image, a first look with your dad is the perfect chance to illustrate just how special your bond is. "A first look with dad is the ultimate opportunity to see that relationship play out right in front of my camera," says Chris of Christopher Todd Studios. "Every time I photograph one I have to choke back the tears."
Your bridesmaids are probably just as excited to see you all dressed up as you are. That was made very clear when this bridal party got a first look at their bride-to-be after she finished slipping into her dress.