To do a first look, or not to do a first look…

that is the question! This is one of the first handful of questions I will talk to a bride about when going over the wedding day, because it impacts the timeline of a wedding and how the day will flow.


In most traditions, a groom sees his bride for the first time when she is coming down the aisle. While this is an awesome experience, having a first look between you and your partner can still be impactful, intimate, and also important for your timeline. I will never force anyone to do anything they are not comfortable with, but I do know that couples that have opted to do a first look, have not regretted it and were much happier with the way it impacted the flow of their day.

In the traditional scenario, the groom will be hanging with his friends &/or family for hours until the planner, or myself, will have him go to the ceremony. That’s when the nerves roll in! All of your guests are there watching intensely and it might be hard to focus on what is about to happen.  Everything happens so fast that before you know it, your ceremony is over! Next thing you know, you're being rushed away so you can try and get all those bridal party and family photos out of the way so you can enjoy your cocktail hour, which, you will probably miss at least the first half hour.

Now, take a different situation. You and your beloved are still super nervous. But, guess what. Now you don’t have to wait that long period of time in front of all those people. You actually have the time to enjoy one another!  You will calm each other’s nerves, you can still shed those tears (just not with everyone watching) and you get to kiss, snuggle, laugh and be present with each other.  A lot of the times, the first look is the only opportunity on the wedding day that couples actually get for themselves, together. And, you get time to take bride and groom portraits, bridal party portraits and hopefully, all of your family portraits before the ceremony, allowing you to enjoy all of your cocktail hour with friends and family.

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Here is a list with pro’s and con’s for both situations:

Option #1 | First Look

 •    The first time you see each other is private and shared just between you two! This is probably the only time all day you’ll get alone time!
 •    You both will look your freshest! Hair, make-up, the works.
 •    The nerves of seeing each other for the first time will be gone and then you can simply look forward to and enjoy your ceremony with your family and friends.
 •    You get so many more portraits! When things run late it’s almost always the bride and groom getting the short end of the straw, getting out time for portraits. This ensures we get a ton!
 •    You can schedule all wedding party photos before the ceremony, so afterwards all the formal images left to take are family photos and then you’ll be able to head to your reception quickly instead of having your guests wait for a longer period of time.
•    You get to go to your cocktail hour! And isn’t that the best food anyway?!
 •    Your bridal party and family ALSO get to go to cocktail hour instead of taking all the formal pictures. They’ll love you for this.
•    This is a great trial run of walking around and moving in your dress before you have to do it in front of everyone at your ceremony!
•    Timelines seem to be way less stressful when everything is done before the ceremony!
 •    Seeing each other before the ceremony goes against tradition.


Option #2 | No First Look

•    You do not see each other before the ceremony and the first time you see each other is when the bride is walking down the aisle.
 •    You get to keep up with tradition.
•    If you are wanting to have a cocktail hour for guests only, where you do not want to attend between the ceremony and reception. Taking the bulk of your images after the ceremony will allow your guests to mingle and enjoy drinks while you’re getting your pictures taken.
•    If the ceremony begins late, or family photos run longer than expected, then it’s always the bride and groom photo time that gets cut short.
•    The photo time after the ceremony will take longer so guests will have approximately an hour and a half to two hour break from when the ceremony ends to when the reception begins (this can be a pro or con depending if you want to entertain your guests during this time or not!)
•  You could miss a big portion of, if not all of, your cocktail hour.

So, whether you are more of a traditional couple, or you are excited to have your own special moment together, I hope this was helpful for your decision making!