Should you have a First Look on your wedding day?

Let me preface this by saying that when I work for you, I work for YOU. I won’t ever require you to do something a certain way because it’s easier for me or it’s simply how I like to do things. But I will be happy to share my experience and knowledge and let you make the best decision that works for you! We’re a team, and I want to help you get the best wedding photos on your big day!

Traditionally, the wedding couple did not see each other until the start of the ceremony. Marriages were commonly arranged, and no one wanted the groom to change his mind if he found his bride-to-be unattractive! These days, that’s rather unlikely, so couples are choosing to ditch this tradition in favor of a First Look. Your photographer is going to ask if you want to have one, so let’s look at the Pros and Cons so you can make an informed decision.

Wedding First Look: The Pros

Got nerves?
Weddings can be stressful and emotional as well as fun and exciting. Are you a little uncomfortable with the idea of walking down the aisle in front of all of your family & friends? Or maybe you’re just stressed about the entire day in general. Seeing your best friend and the person you lean on for support might be just the thing to ease those wedding-day jitters so you can relax and enjoy the whole day.

Privacy, please.
You’re going to be spending most of your wedding day surrounded by people: your family, wedding party, guests, photographers, event coordinators, etc. Will you feel uncomfortable giving your sweetie a smooch in front of Grandma? Or maybe you’d like to take a moment to pray together before joining everyone. A First Look gives you a private moment to be alone with your fiancee before everyone arrives and things get hectic.

Pass the cocktails!
Traditionally, the wedding couple goes off to take portraits with family & wedding party while the rest of the guests enjoy a cocktail hour. By taking these photos before the ceremony, you’ll have time after the ceremony to join your guests.

Lighting matters.
While most of us are skilled with low-light photography and utilizing off-camera flash, most couples prefer light & bright scenes for their wedding day couple, wedding party & family portraits. If you want glorious, sun-kissed photos but you’re having an evening ceremony or winter wedding, a First Look will let you take advantage of all that sunshine before it’s gone.

Wedding First Look: The Cons

Tradition is important...
…to one or both of you. It’s interesting how many of my grooms surprise my brides by being adamant on not seeing each other. So even if you feel like it makes sense logistically, sometimes it’s more important to honor your partner’s wishes.

Oh, the pressure.
You’ve talked about your First Look. Viewed hundreds of images online. You have some idea in your head about how it’s “supposed” to be. That can put a lot of pressure on one or both of you, so if you want to keep it short and spontaneous, it might be better to leave it for that walk down the aisle.

Timing is everything.
If you’re having a midday wedding or daytime summer wedding in a warm climate, having a First Look may actually work against you. You’ll be out in the harshest light and hottest part of the day, so if you can spare the time it may be better to hold off on taking those photos until after the ceremony.

Privacy, shmivacy.
Ok ok, I know I said a First Look would be more private. But it’s not completely private if you want pictures of it; your photographers (and videographers if you have them) will be there with you. And while we will keep our distance and use longer telephoto lenses, we’ll still be there with you.


Regardless of what you decide, don’t forget: You can change your mind at the last minute if you want to. It’s YOUR wedding day, after all!