Should You Do a First Look?

March 8, 2018

Did you know that the tradition of not seeing each other before the ceremony dates back to the days of arranged marriages? That along with the bride’s veil helped keep the mystery until the very last moment so they wouldn’t have a chance to back out of the arrangement.

Over time it has transformed into a sliiiiightly more romantic tradition. The groom awaits his future wife at the end of the aisle, completely surprised by her dress, her hair and makeup, and all the other little details she has tried her hardest to kept a secret the past six months. For some, this is one of the most anticipated moments of their wedding day. And if thats the case- I’m not here to try to sway you. However, I want to take a moment to tell you about this whole “First Look” option…


Simply put, a First Look is when the bride and groom see one another before the ceremony. Its a “reveal” but beyond that it can be a truly sentimental and special moment that just the two of you will share. So beyond the obvious reason why I love them (more time for Bride + Groom Portraits!! HECK YES!) I wanted to share a few more thoughts:

Here are a few reasons why you should consider doing a First Look:

1. This will probably be your only alone time your entire wedding day. It sounds crazy but I promise its true! This time would otherwise be spent apart, most likely hiding from each other and feeling overwhelmed with a stomach full of butterflies. The day goes so quickly, why not spend as much time as possible together?

2. You actually get to enjoy your cocktail hour! Doesn’t it sound nice to have a drink & actually enjoy your own cocktail hour? Typically the Bride and Groom disappear for about an hour to take photos. By doing a First Look, you can spend more time with your friends and family; this is also a great opportunity for your photographer to get some photos of you with your guests. Then by the time the reception starts you will be able to sit and relax since you already made the rounds.
(A little tip: you should also do Wedding party + Family  Portraits pre-ceremony. Wrangling everyone after the ceremony can be a challenge (they just want to party too, can you blame them?!) So taking those photos before hand makes everyone happier & more cooperative.)

3. The time together may help manage your stress and emotions. Wedding days are naturally stressful but more than likely you will feel more relaxed once you are together. Since you will be alone you can openly cry, pray, laugh, explore the venue alone, drink a beer, or really do whatever you want together before the ceremony. Your butterflies will fade and you get to share in the anticipation together. This is probably the most important reason you should think about doing a First Look.

4. It gives you permission to be present. No checking the timeline, waiting for what happens next, or sitting in a room with all of the doors closed so no one sees you. Your wedding day goes by so incredibly fast. It is easy to “miss” your ceremony because you’re too preoccupied with what should be happening, how beautiful the venue is, or the fact there there are hundreds of eyes on you. Everything flows better this way and you can enjoy the entire day.

5. And the number one thing I tell my couples… You are getting TWO moments, not trading one for the other. A First Look is incredibly private and special for just the couple. However all of my clients would agree that they still got to experience that “walking down the aisle moment.” The emotions will be different but the nerves will be gone, the two of you can look at each other and share that secret smile remembering the moments you had alone before becoming husband and wife. Choosing to do a First Look allows you to make the most out of this day that only going to happen once.

Sounds pretty great, right? I love to talk to my clients about this and even share my own experience. Yep- when I got married in August 2015 I said OF COURSE to a First Look and honestly it was one of my favorite moments of our entire wedding day (and there were a LOT of good ones.) So if it feels like a good fit to you, I encourage you to forget tradition and do YOUR wedding YOUR way <3