And what's a first touch, anyway?

Wedding planners and photographers often recommend a pre-ceremony first look for many reasons, one of which being the opportunity to connect as a couple. If you're a stickler for tradition and prefer to keep your first look reserved for the ceremony processional, here are a few alternatives that'll help you feel connected before the wedding.

Exchange Gifts

A custom that many couples partake in, the wedding-morning gift exchange is a great way to connect with your soon-to-be-spouse. Ask the hotel staff or a member of the wedding party to deliver the gift to your fiancé's room while they're getting ready. Some couples wait until the photographer arrives to do this in order to capture the reaction on film. Others may choose to sneak the gift into the suite early, then call one another to personally thank each other for the present.

Sneak a Surprise

Who doesn't love a sweet surprise from their partner on their wedding day? Plan something sweet and simple that won't be too hard for you to pull off on the morning of your wedding. This could be something as small as writing a note in a sneaky hiding place for your fiancé to find while getting ready, or decorating your getaway car with ribbons and flowers.

First Touch

Some wedding photographers encourage their clients to do a first look while others recommend a first touch. Meant to calm the nerves just before the ceremony, a first touch usually takes place on either side of a cornered wall or with eye masks on so the couple can't actually see each other. Photographer Lacie Hansen says, "I think it's all in-either see each other or don't," but to each his own, right?

Pass Notes

If you're getting ready in the same hotel or venue, passing notes or funny jokes through a bridesmaid or groomsman can a be a playful, tech-free way to connect with your fiancé on your wedding day. Keep the notes going until just before you walk down the aisle.

Get Ready Together

Wedding planner Alison Hotchkiss of Alison Events opted to get ready for her wedding with her husband. "Getting ready together is a different approach, but it's nice to have time alone with your fiancé before the ceremony," Alison says. "It allows you not to be so nervous during the vows. Plus, it was so fun to take time out and kiss in between getting ready!"

Text Teaser Photos

While you may not want to see each other the morning of the wedding, swapping little teaser shots back and forth can make the getting ready process feel more playful and connected.

Work Out Together

You may not want to do a first look but having coffee together and going for a long walk, hike, or yoga class can be a helpful way to start the day with a feeling of collective calm.


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