There are several reasons why a bride reveal or first look may be the perfect choice for your destination mountain wedding and I wanted to share a few of those reasons that I have witnessed over the years of my photographing mountain weddings.

For those of you who have not heard of a bride reveal or first look it is a moment where the bride and groom get to see each other before their ceremony because they are opting to take their wedding photographs before their wedding ceremony and they still want to have that moment where they see each other for the first time.

Every photographer sets up that moment differently but for me I set the groom up in a quiet location typically facing a mountain where he can have a few quiet moments to himself and then I will have the bride walk up from behind. The groom is instructed that he can not turn around until he feels his bride touch him. Once the groom feels his bride's touch he can turn around so they get to see each other for the first time.

Couples have often told me that that moment was the favourite moment of the day for them because it was just about them. Getting to see each other before the ceremony for a lot of couples is grounding and calms their nerves making them able to enjoy and focus on their wedding vows more clearly.

A practical reason  for having a bride reveal is that if you are having a winter wedding the good photo light is between 10am-2pm therefore you'll want to schedule your portraits for during that time. For a lot of couples they may not want to have a morning ceremony so another option is to have a bride reveal and then take your wedding photographs before your ceremony. That way you can take advantage of the best photo light for your portraits and still have a moment where you see each other for the first time.

Amanda wanted to surprise Jeffrey on their wedding day by renting the vintage Rolls Royce for their mountain wedding portrait session. I suggested that we use the car for their First Look by having Amanda driven up to the spot where I had set Jeffrey up so he could be surprised by the car and then as the car got closer he could get peeks at his bride before finally having her step out of the car to greet Jeffrey. It was a fun and emotional moment and a great way to start their portrait session. I then coordinated with Alpine Limo to meet me at my first chosen photo location so that Amanda & Jeffrey could have a few private moments to themselves while being driven in the backseat of the Rolls Royce through the mountain roads. I love finding ways to incorporate some quiet private time for couples on their wedding day.

For couples who worry they may be too emotional at their ceremony a bride reveal was the perfect moment to shed a few tears and freshen up before their ceremony having feeling more grounded.

Couples often choose personal gifts to give one another on their wedding day. I love the idea of having a bride reveal followed by giving each other your wedding gifts. That way you get to see each other's expression and have a moment to enjoy your gifts to each other with each other.

Having a destination mountain wedding means that your loved ones have traveled from all over the world to celebrate with you. Having a bride reveal followed by your wedding portrait session means that after your wedding ceremony you can join your guests immediately and enjoy visiting with everyone during your cocktail hour. Guests appreciate not having a big break in between the ceremony and reception where they may not know what to do and instead getting to celebrate with you right away.

This bride chose her groom's wedding ring and kept it a surprise until the bride reveal. It was a nice moment for the groom to be able to see his surprise wedding ring from his bride before their ceremony.

When you wait to see each other for the first time at your wedding ceremony you aren't able to hug and kiss each other and ask about your morning. Being able to have a moment to yourselves where you can tell each other your thoughts I've been told was a really special part of the day.

Here are just a few of the reasons why a bride reveal may be right for your wedding day;

1- You want to be able to have a private moment between the two of you before you start your wedding day to help calm your nerves and be able to enjoy your wedding vows with more clarity.

2- You want to be able to join your friends and family and celebrate with them right after your ceremony instead of doing your wedding photographs after the ceremony.

3- You want to be able to capture the best photo light for your winter wedding photographs.

4- You want your make-up and hair to be freshest for your wedding photographs so doing your wedding photographs first is a better fit for you.

5- You want to be able to exchange your wedding gifts in person with each other


Hello my name is Kirstie and I am a wedding photographer who specializes in photographing intimate weddings & elopements in Calgary, Banff, Canmore & Emerald Lake. I’ve been photographing mountain weddings since we moved to Banff in 2004. I lived in the mountains for 17 years before moving to Calgary in 2021. On days off you'll find me spending time with my husband Kevin and our 3 rescue dogs Mabel, Olive & Bandit.