4 Favorite First Look Locations
The first look between a bride and groom is the most choreographed moment of a wedding day. It takes a team of people working to get the groom in the right place, at the right time, all without seeing the bride. On the bride’s side, she needs to be able to get to the predetermined spot without much hassle, and hopefully without walking through a hotel lobby with all of her wedding guests in plain sight.
So, my priority for choosing a first look spot is actually much more about the ease of the location for the bride and then groom, rather than the beauty of the setting.
Don’t get me wrong, we want it to be a photogenic location as well, because we like pretty things and want your photos to be beautiful. But, we are always going to prioritize the bride and the groom before selecting a location that would be difficult to navigate.
Accomplishing both priorities is very doable and can be easily organized before the wedding as we explain in this post, 5 Steps To A Flawless First Look.
If you’re ready to start planning out the location of your first look, here are some of my all time favorite places to photograph to help get you started.
Park, a backyard, or a green space
It’s hard to beat the natural light of a pretty green space. A beautiful bride walking toward a groom with streaming sunlight behind her…magic. A green space is often a rather easy, and nearby spot to get to as well. I have photographed a first look in the backyard of the bride’s house that she was getting ready in, a park across the street from the venue, and a courtyard of a hotel. A gorgeous tree-lined street can create a soft urban setting with touches of greenery.
Even in downtown Chicago, there is usually always a nearby area that has a landscaped garden.
The only downside to a public park is, well, the public! You will never have it completely private, but we can always try to find a quiet corner away from the majority of the activity.
Many times the logistics will dictate the best spot to have the first look. If you are both getting ready at the same place, such as a hotel, there is an opportunity to make it super smooth and easy for you when it comes time for the first look. If you were to chose a hotel, I’ll usually look for a quiet hallway, a pretty staircase, or even the lobby. Additionally, an indoor lobby is a great back up plan for bad weather.
The bigger risk, the bigger the reward if you are wanting to meet at a destination location. I have taken first look photos at iconic places such as the beach, or at the skyline from Adler Planetarium. While this is much harder to organize, since you both have to get there without seeing each other, the payoff is a one-of-a-kind moment, in a one-of-a-kind location. The upside to this option is that the location can be used as the first photo stop on your photo tour. But, as noted, this takes more coordination and can cause stress on the wedding morning if things do not go as planned.
I have had many requests to make sure the first look location is private. To accomodate this, I have shot inside hotel rooms, on balconies, and inside homes for a simple, quiet, and private moment that is super low stress, easy for both of you, and more about the moment itself than the background.