Traditional weddings have a very basic "formula" they follow on the day of the wedding: the bride and groom get ready in separate rooms, the ceremony starts, the groom finds himself waiting up at the altar for his bride. He has not seen her yet. She has spent HOURS getting ready, getting beautiful - getting perfect! The groom hasn't seen the woman he loves - the woman he is going to spend the rest of his life with - all day. When he does see her, she will look unlike he has ever seen her before. It's a pretty intense moment! Then the ceremony proceeds, and in between the ceremony and the reception, the bride, groom and wedding party (and often various members of the family) go with the photographer and take pictures.
But the formula doesn't always happen that way. For one reason or another, the formula has to go (and that's perfectly fine), and it becomes unavoidable that the groom will see his bride before the ceremony. Along those lines, a new tradition has developed over the last few years (decade?) called "the first look." In short, the groom is put in a spot facing a specific direction and told he can't turn around until the photographer says so. In a sense, this entire moment is about the groom. He has something the bride wants - something she has spent all day to this point preparing for and looking forward to: his reaction to seeing her in her wedding dress on their wedding day. And the reaction is virtually guaranteed to be great! He has spent all day apart from the woman he loves - and looking forward to seeing her - and when he finally gets to see her for the first time that day he is usually about ready to burst... and the "first look" is a truly emotional moment for the couple.
This is a picture of Jonathan Bowman waiting as his bride, Jasmine, walks up behind him. The look on his face is great! Notice his hands - he was so excited that he was having trouble standing still - he fidgeted with his hands a lot (which was great!) I have many pictures of this entire event (the First Look), and the pictures before he turned around show his excitement! He couldn't wait to see her - and even though the focus is on him in this shot (I intentionally had Jasmine out of focus in this shot), her smile can't be hidden - she couldn't wait for him to see her either! First looks are great, it's a very recent tradition, and a very good one!