Pros and Cons of Doing a First Look

First looks seem to be the way to go these days, right? While it may seem like this is the trend, many couples opt for the traditional aisle first look.

Both options have their pros and cons, but it really is up to you and your fiance, and what works best for you.

There are a lot of things to consider when deciding whether or not to have a first look. Some of these you wouldn’t normally think of, like the season of your wedding or the ceremony starting time.

Pros of a First Look

More time for photos: Perhaps one of the most popular reasons couples choose to do a first look is to allow more time for family photos after the ceremony. By having your first look before the ceremony, you can get the majority of the couple and bridal party photos taken care of first.

Lighting: Depending on the time of year and the time of your ceremony, there may not be any daylight left when your ceremony is over. Golden hour might be before your ceremony, and you can’t pass up that opportunity!

Calm each other down: It goes without saying that wedding day is a BIG DEAL. Nerves run high, and sometimes a simple moment with your fiance can take those nerves away. After all, you’re both going through the same thing.

Private moment: While a first look can be a good time to calm each other down, it can also be one of your few opportunities to spend a private moment together all day. While your photographer will be around for the actual first look moment, once you take the photos you can schedule some time to just be alone!

Enjoy cocktail hour: WIth the majority of your photos done before the ceremony, you can spend some time actually enjoying your cocktail hour after you take family photos. After all, you’ve spent the time planning all of this, you should also get to enjoy it!

Get tears out of the way: If you’re worried about getting emotional during the ceremony and messing up your makeup, a first look can allow time to get those emotions out there and then touch up your look!

Hair and makeup is on point: On a similar note, your hair and makeup will be super fresh, since nothing has had a chance to mess it up yet. Taking a first look allows your spouse to really see you at your best!

Start the party sooner: If you decide to do a first look and take the majority of your pictures before the ceremony, you can cut the cocktail hour a bit shorter and get right to the party!

Cons of Doing a First Look

Need to get ready earlier: A typical first look takes place an hour or two before the ceremony starts. Depending on how early your ceremony is, you may have to start the getting ready process early in the morning!

Lighting: This can be both a pro and a con, depending on the season and time of day your ceremony takes place. If you are having a summer wedding at 4:00, golden hour lighting won’t be until after your ceremony. There could also be an opportunity for some amazing sunset photos or even a night time shoot. Your photographer can definitely give you the best recommendations for this!

You want your guests to be part of your “first look”: By doing a traditional first look when you walk down the aisle, all of your family and friends can be part of the moment you and your spouse see each other for the first time. That’s a pretty special moment to be a part of!

Tradition: As tradition goes, you are not supposed to see each other from the night before your wedding day until you get to the end of aisle. If you value wedding traditions and don’t want to miss out on this special moment, then so be it! 

More nerves: While it may calm some people down to see their spouse before the ceremony, you may not be one of those people! This could easily bring about more jitters and nerves than if you hadn’t. 

Cleanliness of the dress: If you are donning a traditional white wedding dress, walking around and taking photos an hour or two before the ceremony could easily get it dirty. If this is a big concern to you or your venue is mostly outdoors, this might be something to consider.

Early ceremony time: Honestly, most of the factors to consider when deciding on a first look are related to timing. If you are having a ceremony that begins at 2:00, it may not be feasible to be photo ready in time to have a first look.

Book photographer accordingly: When you are booking your photographer, they will easily be able to help you decide whether or not you want a first look and book your day-of schedule accordingly. Keeping in mind that a first look takes place an hour or two before ceremony, this may change the package you will need to book.

Whew, that is a lot to think about! If you are unsure or you both can’t agree, there a couple ways to compromise. You can have a first touch, which makes some amazing and intimate photos. Or, rather than doing a full first look, you could get ready without veil, accessories, or anything else extra that will complete your wedding day look. Then get completely ready and your spouse will still be surprised when you join them at the end of the aisle!

There is beauty in whatever you decide, as long as your big day is filled with love and it’s exactly what you and your spouse have always dreamed of. Both options make some truly remarkable photos and special moments that you will enjoy forever!


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