Should you do a first look on your wedding day?

Should you do a first look on your wedding day?

When you’re planning your wedding day, one of the decisions you’ll have to make is whether or not to do a first look. This is when the bride and groom see each other for the first time before the ceremony.

A first look on the wedding day has become very popular over the past 10 years. Some couples choose to do this because it allows them to have a private moment together to connect and help the timeline logistics of the big day. Others prefer tradition and want to wait until they walk down the aisle during the ceremony. So, should you do a first look on your wedding day? Here are a few things to consider!


Should you do a first look, and what exactly is it?

A first look is a moment during the wedding day when the bride and groom, brides, or grooms, see each other for the first time. Typically the photographer and videographer work with the couple to find a location that is both beautiful and private. They’ll work with the couple to coordinate them seeing each other for the first time in what is always a beautiful and powerful part of the day.

Should you do a first look on your wedding day?

First Look Pros and Cons


1. Emotion: You can react.

In a traditional wedding ceremony (regardless of type) when you walk up to your spouse, you can’t react to each other. You can’t really talk, touch, hug, compliment one another, or anything else. You almost always turn to face the officiant and they begin the ceremony. It is not until after the ceremony recessional that you and your new spouse get to really have a connection. With a first look, you’ll be able to see each other and really connect, talk, compliment one another, touch, and really express yourself to your partner in what is a very special moment.

2. Emotion: You can react, part 2.

With over 16 years of photographing weddings and being intimately connected with couples, one thing I’ve learned is that the vast majority of couples (myself included!) do not want to be the center of attention. The first look is almost always private (some couples don’t mind the wedding party or parents watching) which means that couples are genuinely free to really express their emotions to each other without the pressure of hundreds of eyes watching them!

3. Emotion: Much less stress.

After a first look, I always ask couples “So how was it?!” and it’s always “Amazing!” or “SO good!” and almost always followed by “I feel SO much better now! I feel so much more relaxed and less anxious now that we’re together!” Don’t underestimate the power of connecting with your partner before the ceremony begins. It can put you in the right frame of mind, with less anxiety, that allows you to really soak in the moment when you walk down the aisle.

4. Emotion: The ceremony.

The number one concern couples will have about a first look (if they have one) is going to be “But I really want that reaction from him/her when I walk down the aisle at the ceremony”. In my experience, if someone is going to get visibly emotional at the ceremony, they will do so regardless of the first look. I have photographed countless brides and grooms who are visibly emotional watching their spouse walk down the aisle even though they just were with them 30 minutes prior.

5. Logistics: Photos are done (mostly)

Typically, after a first look, you’ll also do couple photos, bridal party photos, and immediate family photos. This means that after the ceremony, you’ll only have to do extended family photos and possibly sunset photos.

6. Logistics: Cocktail Hour.

If you’re able to complete your wedding photos before the ceremony, then you can expect to be part of and enjoy the cocktail hour with your family and friends. This has two advantages: 1. You will spend that time greeting and socializing with your guests and 2. You’ll be able to enjoy the food and drink you selected for your cocktail hour.

7. Logistics: Dinner.

If you’re able to greet your guests during cocktail hour, you’ll be able to truly enjoy dinner because you won’t feel the pressure to go table to table greeting people during dinner.

Should you do a first look on your wedding day?


1. You have to start your day earlier.

For some people, starting the day earlier might not be possible, or what they want to do. But you will need to coordinate with hair and makeup and your wedding photographers to make sure you can get ready earlier in the day and have time to get ready and in your wedding dress.

2. Cost (maybe).

Because a first look generally means starting your day earlier it might mean additional costs for photography or videography depending on how their packages and times are structured.

first look pros and cons

The decision to do a first look or not should be decided early, as it’s a critical part of making your wedding day timeline. It will determine the experience you’re going to have on your wedding day, as well as when vendors need to start their work.

Visit Wedding Day Timeline we can quickly and easily help you plan your timeline with both options so you can see how your day would be, and help you determine what is best for you!


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