To See or Not to See – Is a First Look Right for Your Wedding?

Should you plan a first look for your wedding?

If you’re planning a wedding you may already be familiar with what a first look is, but you may not be sure if having a first look is right for you and your wedding. I am a big fan of planning a first look for your wedding day, but I also believe that it may not be the perfect choice for every wedding.

 

What is a first look?

The long-standing tradition of the couple not seeing each other before the ceremony has very unsentimental roots, but it has become a beautiful tradition that many couples forward to and want to honor. More and more couples are bucking that tradition in favor of a first look, which is simply when a couple decides to see each other prior to their wedding ceremony, and many prefer to have their first look in private with just the two of them, while others elect to have their family and wedding party present.

Bride & groom first look
Black & white wedding first look photos
Bride & groom first look

 

Why I recommend a first look

  • Your wedding day will fly by, and you’ll be surrounded by family and friends congratulating you and chatting all day long. A first look will give you and your soon-to-be spouse 5-10 minutes of alone time together, which you may not get for the rest of the day!
  • A first look can be more intimate and emotional without a crowd. When all eyes are on you, you may not be comfortable showing emotion as your betrothed walks down the aisle. With just the two of you, you’ll have privacy and it’s more likely to be a natural, emotional moment together. Many couples worry that if they plan a first look then walking down the aisle won’t be as special, but I find that the opposite is actually true!
  • Seeing each other before the ceremony can help calm your pre-wedding jitters. You’ll be able to see each other sooner in the day and shake all those nerves off by the time you both head down the aisle.
  • You’ll have more time to enjoy your reception! With a first look, we may be able to complete your wedding party and family formals before your ceremony, as well, which leaves you time to enjoy your cocktail hour and right into your reception after saying, “I do.”
  • A first look can give a bit more freedom to your day-of timeline as well as break up the time spent with formals and creative portraits. No one likes smiling for hours on end, so with the first look we can split up your timeline instead of having to take portraits all at once.
  • More options for locations! I especially recommend a first look if your ceremony and reception are in one place, so we can add another location for photos to add some additional variety to your photos!
Black & white wedding first look photos
Tearful groom watching his bride walk down the aisle

When I don’t recommend a first look

  • If you don’t want to break tradition, then don’t! It’s your wedding, do things your way! The suggestions above are simply that: suggestions. If you don’t want to see each other before your ceremony, then don’t. I’ll work with you on your timeline to make sure that we have plenty of time for beautiful portraits of the two of you, no matter when we take them!
  • If you want to share the moment of first seeing each other with your guests, then save it for the ceremony.
  • When you have extra time between your ceremony and reception and have two separate locations, I do not recommend a first look. We can plan your family formals, wedding party portraits, and creative photos as a couple in between the ceremony and reception, which means you don’t have to get ready as early!


It’s your day––celebrate it your way!

Your wedding day is all about you, so these are merely suggestions and the decision is entirely up to the two of you and what you prefer! I will happily help you plan out your wedding day timeline no matter what you decide to do, and I can guide you further to decide if a first look is right for your wedding day!

First look between 2 brides

*Bonus First Look*

First looks with your parents can also be really special if they’re not with you while getting ready!

Photo of father and daughter wedding first look

What do you think––first look or wait until the ceremony? Share your opinion in the comments below!

  1. […] need to be and when. This includes vendors, wedding party, and family. If you’re planning a first look or photos before the ceremony, be sure that everyone who is in photos knows what time they need to […]

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