Your big day is coming up, and planning is underway. From decorations to the guest list, several items are on your mind, including the First Look. So– what is this First Look, exactly? And why do people spend so much time and consideration in deciding whether or not to have it?

First looks are a moment in which couples have a chance to see each other for the first time, in their wedding attire, before their ceremony. This intimate moment deviates from the tradition in which the couple sees each other for the first time as the bride walks down the aisle. Now, the first look can be something intimidating and/or exciting, depending on what you expect or are wanting to get from the experience. But not to worry! Keep reading for the pros and cons of having a first look at your wedding,  as well as provide you with potential, but just-as-great, alternatives.

Bride in her white wedding dress walking up and tapping the groom on his shoulder
The Pros of Doing a First Look:

  • Rather than keeping all of that nervous excitement, happy tears, and joy bottled up until the ceremony, a first look can help you and your partner calm your nerves by giving you a moment to release those emotions alone together. There’s also less pressure in feeling like you have to respond in a particular way when seeing your partner in front of all your guests during the ceremony because guess what– you’ve already done it! 
  • Maybe you want that moment when you first see each other to be an intimate moment to yourselves. A first look provides that opportunity. No one else but your partner gets to see your reaction; it’s just you and your loved one.
  • Logistically speaking, a first look also saves time throughout the day by allowing for portraits to be done before the ceremony, allowing you, the couple, more time to celebrate with guests!

Groom wiping his eyes as the bride walks down the aisle
The Cons of Doing a First Look:

  • For our lovely, superstitious and/or traditional people out there– a first look is NOT traditional and is said to bring bad luck on the wedding day. If you or your partner is someone who wants to stay traditional, or you think seeing your partner before the ceremony is bad luck, then a first look might not be for you.
  • You’ve probably seen it in all those video compilations of people seeing their partner for the first time during the ceremony, but there is something special about that moment. If you do a first look, there might be less anticipation for you and your partner during the ceremony since you’ve already seen each other beforehand. 
  • Weddings are already lengthy events, and deciding to do a first look means an earlier day for the happy couple. Since the photos are done before the ceremony, all the prep and process of getting ready starts earlier in the morning.

Groom wiping his eyes as he holds his bride's hand around a bookshelf
Tips and Alternatives to a First Look:

  • Don’t feel pressured to react a certain way during a first look. Just be yourselves, and let the reactions and emotions come naturally– not everyone will burst into tears upon seeing their partner, and that’s okay!
  • Maybe you want to be surrounded by loved ones when you see your partner for the first time! You can do a first look with your parents and the wedding party, rather than just you and your partner.
  • If you don’t want to do a first look but still want to ease the jitters, you can opt for a First Touch, which is exactly as it sounds. A first touch is taking a moment to touch, whether that’s  holding hands or embracing, before the ceremony without actually seeing each other.
  • Similarly, a No Look First Look is taking a moment before the ceremony to be with one another without actually seeing each other. There are lots of creative ways to do this, whether it’s standing on either side of a door or corner of a wall, being blindfolded, etc.

Hope this helps you make one of many decisions about your wedding day! Remember– when it comes down to it, just enjoy that moment you get to see your partner for the first time that day, whether you’re alone or surrounded by people. 

Still weighing the pros and cons of first look wedding photos? Contact me! I’d love to share with you feedback from couples who opted in to do first look photos and those who opted out!

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