What is a first look? | Regina Wedding Photographer

I got some great feedback on a previous post about what an online gallery is, so I thought I’d put together more informative posts about questions that I get asked during creative consultations. Here’s a good one: what is a first look?

A first look is a time that is set up prior to the ceremony where the couple can have a few moments by themselves. Why do I love first looks? Well, I love them because I get the opportunity to photograph some incredible reactions, intimate moments and enjoy some quality portrait time with the couple before all the wedding shenanigans.

Read what a few couples I have photographed had to say about seeing one another before the ceremony:

Michelle & Steven: Having a first look was a nice way to capture the moment of seeing each other for the first time on our wedding day while still doing our photographs before everything else. We were glad that we weren’t seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony because it was nice to be able to take in the moment on our own. We got to goof around a little bit and get rid of our nerves.

Tennille & Brady: We liked the idea of how unique doing a first look was, but how personal and romantic a first look could be. We both wanted to say our own vows but hesitated thinking about saying them in front of all of our friends and family. Having a first look allowed us to make our vows super personal and neither of us had to be worried or nervous saying them in front of people. Just having the two of us in that moment was one of the most special times in my life and something I will never forget it.

Leading up to it, I felt super excited, nervous and blessed all at the same time. I tried to slow down and really embrace the moment and the seconds leading up to Brady seeing me in my gown for the first time which is something I had thought about since I was a little girl. It was very surreal!

Being solely with my other half in that moment made it super real and easy and we were able to be ourselves completely!

Graeme & Jamie: I’m glad we saw each other before the ceremony because it was nice to have a moment in the day that was just ours. We also decided to do photos before the wedding because we didn’t want to divide the night. We wanted to get to the venue and dive into the evening and didn’t want to have our guests wait around for us. The ceremony itself was more casual so it didn’t feel “taboo” to see each other prior. We picked out which traditions we wanted to keep and threw out the ones that didn’t resonate with us.

Thank you Michelle, Steven, Tennille, Brady, Graeme and Jamie for helping me out with this one. Have any questions that you want answered around here? Send me a note!


You guys! I’m so excited to share the photos and story from Olivia and Andrew’s intimate farm wedding! I met the two of them at The Green Spot for cinnamon buns a few weeks before their wedding date. We chatted about their story (which you can read about below), travelling and of course, food. These two are a hoot to be around. I am so grateful that they asked me to take their pictures.

Intimate weddings have become a favourite of mine and I was lucky enough to do two in a row the week of Olivia & Andrew’s wedding (will share that one soon). They have some advice for those thinking about an intimate wedding or elopement & a great story for you. Enjoy!

Olivia & Andrew:

We met the summer after our first year away from home. After high school, Olivia moved out to Vancouver for University and Andrew moved to Weyburn to play hockey in the SJHL. We both moved back to Regina for the summer to be with our families, train for our respective sports, and work at Crave Kitchen + Wine Bar. That first summer we were both bussers at Crave so we found ourselves stuck in the kitchen together doing glassware, etc. on a regular basis. That summer we were mainly buddies who had secret crushes on one another, but chose not to talk about our feelings as we knew we were going back to our separate lives for the better part of the year. We kept in touch throughout the year - Andrew made sure to send a text message every few months - and even went on a skating date at over Christmas break. The following summer we both returned to Regina and Crave and after many many nights sitting in the car talking until 3 am, surrounded by sexual tension that was almost tangible, Olivia confessed her feelings and we started officially dating. At the end of that summer we talked about our long-distance situation and agreed that we would stay together as long as it made sense. We did long-distance for about five years. It was tough to not get to see each other and share experiences every day, but we certainly learned how to communicate! We always made sure we had a plan for seeing each other next, which gave us something to look forward to all the time, and made sure to Skype every day or two. We were also very lucky to still have each summer together in Regina!

We had known we wanted to be together forever for quite some time before actually deciding to get married. We made the decision at a pre-season Rider game last June. Someone shot a confetti bomb and hit a power cord so the whole stadium was without power for about an hour. We weren’t in a rush to get out of there, so we sat in the stands with a beer and waited for the power to come back on. We somehow got chatting about marriage and if/when we would get married. Finally Olivia blurted out “I want to get married at the end of July when my family is here!”. Andrew said “let’s do it”. Neither of us are die-hard Rider fans and that is certainly not how either of us dreamed of getting engaged, but it was a natural, honest moment and it is a memory that will always make us smile!

Our main goal was to keep our wedding low-fuss and reduce the amount of stress and money spent on unnecessary things. Timing was also a big factor. When we decided to get married in six weeks, we knew many people would not be able to attend, so we thought it was best to keep it immediate family only. Though stressful at times, keeping the whole thing a semi-secret was kind of fun as well!

The elements of the ceremony were personal from the location to items that had sentimental value like Olivia’s grandma’s tablecloths, furniture from the farm and our grandparents’ rings. Kelly (our Officiant), helped craft our ceremony by adding personal touches like cracking our favourite beer after we said “I Do”. Some of our close friends had cooked a family-style three-course dinner at Crave for us. They made some of our favourite meals that we have shared together and brought in special elements that were dear to us like escargot on toast, spanish-style croquettes, etc.! The family-style meal was a fun way to enjoy dinner with our family, keeping it comfortable and slightly chaotic!

If you’re thinking about having an intimate wedding, once you decide to do it, do it quick! We planned our wedding in six weeks, which was stressful at times, but ultimately helped us make decisions and remain focused on the most important things. Take time to make your ceremony meaningful to you. A major advantage to having a small wedding is that you really do have time to soak in the important moments without worrying about sticking to a tight schedule.

Hair: Daniel Christopher Salon / Makeup: Jacki Tri / Skirt: Handmade by friend of the Mother of the Bride / Shirt: RW&Co / Shoes: Sol Sana from Swank Shoe Lounge / Marriage Commissioner(s): Kelly Green and Randall Edge / Suit: Coppley from Colin O’Brian Men’s Shoppe Ltd. / Shirt & Tie: Hugo Boss from VIP Men’s Wear LTD / Shoes: Floyd / Belt: Benchcraft from Colin O’Brian Men’s Shoppe Ltd. / Flowers: Bouquet and boutonnière - handmade by Bride (flowers from Gale’s Florist) / Garden flowers: Friend of the Mother of the Groom / Decorations: Paper flower garland handmade by Bride and Sister of the Groom / Vintage lace tablecloths: Grandmother of the Bride / Odd chairs and benches: from around the farm / Ceremony location: Groom’s family farm / Dinner: Crave Kitchen + Wine Bar / Cake: Magpie’s Kitchen

Get in touch if you’re thinking about an intimate wedding or elopement this year!

Using Format