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First Looks! - To Look, or Not to Look

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

You may or may not have heard of the "First Look". And if you have you may be wondering what that is, or why everyone seems to be talking about it.

Many brides and grooms have been opting to see each other before the official ceremony, in a more private setting called a "First Look".

There are many reasons people have been choosing to do a First Look. Here are some pros and cons to the First Look, as well as some pros and cons to the traditional ceremony first look.

So what exactly is a First Look

A first look is when you have a set time and location to see each other for the first time in your wedding attire on your wedding day that takes place BEFORE the wedding ceremony. Generally the one half of the couple (in hetero couples, the groom) is placed in a predetermined location, facing away from where the other half of the couple will walk up (in hetero couples, the bride). The bride then comes up behind him and either taps him on the shoulder to signal he can now turn around, or walks up near him and tells him it is now safe to turn around and look.

After the couple sees each other for the first time in this private setting, they can have a moment for themselves to just take each other in, hug, gush over how attractive the other is, read love notes or personal vows, sing a prepared song, do a little dance etc.

So why do this?

Why are so many couples opting for the First Look?

What is the benefit?

Well let's go over some of the pros and cons of doing this First Look, shall we?


  • The first time you see each other is private and shared just between you two (and me and my camera of course)

  • You both will look your freshest!

  • 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 (but trust me it will not make walking down the aisle and seeing each other any less emotional or amazing!)

  • You no longer have to stress about not accidentally seeing each other beforehand.

  • Helps to ensure that there is enough time for the most important photos (the ones of you two!)

  • Gives you the opportunity to have photos of yourselves in different lighting scenarios and looks throughout the day.

  • 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 can even try to get all the wedding party and family photos done before the ceremony which allows everyone to get to the party time faster! And allows you to go straight from ceremony, to first married photos, to hanging out with your guests! You could even enjoy the cocktail hour you put so much money and time into!

  • 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!


  • Seeing each other before the ceremony goes against tradition.

    • But did you know the reason for this tradition comes from arranged marriages? So that if the couple didn't like the look of each other they could no longer escape because they were already at the altar by the time they could see each other? (Veil over the face plays in to this as well.)

  • Lighting might not always be as great earlier in the day.

  • It is one more thing to plan time for in your schedule before the ceremony.

Pros and Cons of the "Traditional 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 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.

  • The light could potentially be better.


  • 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!)

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