Once upon a time, it was customary for the bride to hide her appearance until the wedding ceremony. Where this tradition comes from and the reasons behind it vary. Some sources say it stems from superstition, while others say it prevented the groom from turning down a less-than-attractive wife he was arranged to marry.

Whatever the unromantic case is, many modern couples still uphold the tradition, wanting to save the first look for the walk down the aisle. But there are also couples who have chucked the time-honored custom to the curb in pursuit of pre-wedding photos, aka First Look photos.

I’ve written about the pros and cons of First Look photos before, and like most things, I think what’s right for one couple might not be the best idea for another.

Recently, I’ve come across another creative wedding and photo opportunity idea that straddles the line between tradition and the pre-ceremony First Look.

Black and white photo of bride and groom standing back-to-back while holding hairs as an example of How to Get Pre-Wedding Photos Without Seeing Your Fiancé.

This wedding First Look alternative is known as the First Touch. This intimate moment is perfect for couples who want the benefits of getting some photos before the wedding and being able to spend time with one another, without actually seeing each other.

Pre-ceremony Photos? Try a First Touch

First Touch allows you to capture intimate pre-ceremony photos while still preserving the big reveal. It’s a moment of excitement and adds a bit of mystery since you will only be able to touch each other.

It’s also a perfect time to be with your partner before the haste of the day pulls you both in different directions. It’s a great way to relieve nerves, to share vows (especially if you want to read personal vows, but not in front of a crowd), and get professional pre-wedding photos together while still upholding tradition.

Setting up First Touch photos takes a bit of orchestrating, as you and your photographer will need to scout out places where you and your fiancé won’t see each other. This is typically some kind of obstruction like a wall, pillar, tree, or door that both of you can stand on either side of.

A boho styled bride and groom stand on the opposition sides of a corner so they can't see each other before their ceremony as an example of How to Get Pre-Wedding Photos Without Seeing Your Fiancé

From this position, you can create that First Touch moment by linking fingers or holding hands. You could even extend your hand for a kiss, but there’s absolutely no peeking!

Some couples have opted to stand back-to-back or wear blindfolds so that they can embrace.

You can use the moment in any meaningful way you like. A few ideas:

  • Read personal vows
  • Say a prayer
  • Exchange gifts or letters
  • Read a poem
  • Serenade
  • Take a shot

Or just enjoy a few sweet moments together in silence while the photographer captures the emotion.  

If you’re looking for a way to combine the excitement of First Look with the tradition of keeping some things a secret, First Touch photos are a creative alternative. With a little planning and set up, you and your fiancé can create space for a meaningful moment before you say “I do.”

Interested in looking over some examples of pre-wedding photos? I have many that I'm sure will inspire you for your big day!

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