What is a bridesmaids first look, and how can you plan for one? | Wedding Planning

We’re back with a wedding planning blog post today! During this busier wedding season, I’ve been working on dreaming up topics and blog posts that are extremely intentional, to the point, and direct in giving you exactly what you came here to read about! So… we’re not going to waste any time with lengthy intros… we’re going to dive right in!

Today’s topic is one that I absolutely love sharing about: the bridesmaids’ first look!!

The reason I love sharing about this particular type of first look so much? I got to experience one of these sweet moments as a bridesmaid, and it was so incredibly special. I also know that it can drastically reduce stress and anxiety for brides as they step into their gown… more on this in a second.

So many brides know about this option for a first look but, I’ve also found that many brides aren’t familiar with the idea! Today, we’re chatting about what a bridesmaids’ first look is and how you can make it happen on your wedding day!

What is a bridesmaids’ first look?

A bridesmaids’ first look is exactly what it sounds like: a first look with your girls! Basically, you’ll get into your gown and accessories in a room separate from your girls, typically with the help of your MOH, mom, or other women that you are closest with. From there, we’ll organize a big reveal with your bridesmaids where they see you all at once! You can expect lots of squeals, hugs, giggles, and happy tears!

How can I plan for a bridesmaids’ first look?

You’ll need to consider a few things if you are considering sharing a first look with your girls! First: you’ll need to make sure that you have enough space to ensure that you can get dressed in a private area, while your girls have a comfortable place to relax. Telling your girls that they will need to sit outside, in a hallway or cramped space for 30 minutes while you get ready isn’t the option that we want to go with here! Ideal “getting ready” location setups that make for the best bridesmaids first looks typically look like any of the following options: A hotel room with a separate living and sleeping/dressing space, a larger house with multiple rooms, or multiple/adjoining hotel rooms (bridesmaids changing in one room & the bride in the other). DO ensure that the space where your girls will be waiting for you is comfortable and climate controlled!

You’ll also need to ensure that you have about 10 minutes blocked off on your timeline to coordinate the first look. I typically place this after a bride is fully dressed and has had some indoor bridal portraits taken. It does take a bit of time to get everyone into place beforehand, and after they see you, everyone is most definitely going to want to give you a hug! All of this takes time, so plan accordingly! We absolutely don’t want to you to feel rushed.

When it comes to hair and makeup, you’ll want to ensure that everyone is able to be dressed and ready for your big reveal. Your last bridesmaid should be finishing up her hair and makeup as you step into your gown.

When do you recommend a bridesmaids’ first look?

I only recommend a bridesmaids’ first look if you have the time and space for one. No one wants to feel rushed or stressed… I guarantee, stepping into your wedding gown will still be incredibly special, with or without a first look with your girls!

If you are on the fence, have the time & space, here is a little encouragement for you, especially if you have a larger wedding party… when you are stepping into your gown for the first time on your wedding day, whether you realize it now or not, this is typically the moment where the “OMG this is really happening!!” feelings kick in and when anxiety and nerves may start going too. When there is a lot of commotion in the room… bridesmaids looking for shoes, zipping into gowns, packing up bags, chattering about how amazing you look, looking for bobby pins, snacks, body tape, etc…. things can become a little overwhelming. If you think you may be a little overwhelmed by the noise, I highly recommend making an effort to make a first look with your bridesmaids a reality! You’ll get ready in a quiet space, at your own pace. You’ll put on your final accessories, we’ll take some bridal portraits… and then it’s time for your girls to exclaim about how amazing you look! Having peace and quiet with everything spaced out oftentimes makes things a little easier to process!

If you have a smaller wedding party, this may not be as much of an issue!

What is a bridesmaids’ first look really like?

I can’t speak from the perspective of the bride, but I CAN speak from the perspective of a bridesmaid: it is a lot of fun (and also pretty emotional too!)! When I was a bridesmaid back in April, the bride got ready in the “bedroom” of the hotel suite while we all relaxed in the living area. It was really special to see her entire look when it was all put together, and I know she appreciated having some quiet time before the craziness of the day officially kicked into gear. It was definitely an emotional moment to see one of my oldest friends as a BRIDE for the very first time! There were many happy tears and lots of hugs too!

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