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Should I Do a First Look? My Thoughts

April 16, 2014

Phillips Academy Wedding

The “first look” has become a very popular trend in the wedding industry over the last few years. Seven out of the last ten of my wedding couples have preferred a “first look” before the ceremony. People absolutely love it! But before I dive into this more, for those scratching their heads, a “first look” takes place prior to the ceremony and is a time for the bride and groom to see each other before they walk down the aisle. Now, there are many reasons why couples jump aboard the “first look” train. For some, it’s a way for them to get out their nerves, tears (sobs), laughter, etc. before they are standing in front of a hundred or so of their closest friends or family. For others, it’s more of a logistical thing: a “first look” means the bride and groom won’t miss out on their cocktail hour, or any part of their wedding.

When I meet with brides and grooms and they ask if they *should* do a “first look” I always objectively provide the pros and cons. I don’t EVER want to make that decision for them because I think it’s a personal choice.

The reality is, yes, if you do a “first look” you WILL have more time to do photos before the ceremony and you’ll likely get to enjoy your entire cocktail hour. You’ll also be able to create a very intimate moment between you and your significant other – and I absolutely LOVE some of the reactions I see. That said, I would caution you to really make this moment real – don’t fake a reaction or make a more animated gesture than usual. It should be natural!

On the flip side, the tradition of “he’s seeing you for the first time when you walk down the aisle” is no longer an option. For me, as I’m thinking about my future wedding, I’m opting to keep it traditional, because there’s a tiny bit of yesteryear left in this girl. But for all of the contemporary brides out there, who really don’t care about this, then the “first look” is right for you.

Sure, I know that keeping it traditional will mean I need to be smart and work with my photographer on a very strict wedding agenda and portrait lineup, but I think the payoff – that moment when he sees me and I see him – will truly be priceless.


I’m definitely part of the “lessen the jitters” bunch, for the first look. I am super anxious about standing up in front of that many people, and I think the first look will help alleviate some of that anxiety for me. Also, I have 20/40 vision, and I didn’t want to have to wear my glasses (for corrected distance vision) the very first time he sees me..or squint to see his face.. 🙂 (Contacts are not my friend, sadly!) Part of me would love that “moment” of him seeing me the first time as I walk down the isle, but given the location and semantics of our wedding, I’m actually looking forward to that little moment of peace together before the chaos resumes.

See you soon! 🙂

Can’t wait for your first look! It will be here before you know it – and we will capture those beautiful moments 😉 Can’t wait!

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