Should You Have a Wedding First Look?

December 22, 2023
wedding first look

Your wedding day is filled with excitement, anticipation, and countless decisions to make. One of the biggest choices you’ll need to consider is whether or not to have a first look. On one hand, you get to calm your nerves with the love of your life; on the other, you’re taking the element of surprise out of your big day. While there will always be pros and cons of having a wedding first look, we’re breaking down the advantages and disadvantages to help you make an informed decision that aligns with your preferences and desires.

The Pros of Having a Wedding First Look

Capturing Raw Emotions 

One of the biggest advantages of having a first look is the opportunity to capture raw and genuine emotions. Seeing each other for the first time in an intimate setting allows you to freely express your joy, surprise, and love without the pressure of an audience. These candid moments can result in stunning photographs that truly reflect the essence of your love story.

Calming Nerves

There’s no denying that weddings can be nerve-wracking, and having a first look can help calm those pre-ceremony jitters. Seeing your partner before the ceremony allows you to share a private moment together, offering support and reassurance. This can help you both relax and enjoy the day more fully, knowing you have each other by your side.

Private Vows

Speaking of having a moment alone, having a first look is a wonderful time to exchange private vows. If you’re someone who doesn’t love all eyes on you, this can take off an immense amount of pressure. Let’s face it, laying your heart on the line through words is extremely vulnerable, and it’s hard to do in front of 100+ of your closest friends and family members. If you love the idea of wanting to promise forever to one another through personalized vows, a first look is the perfect time.

More Time for Photos

Having a first look lets you take all your wedding photos before the ceremony. This means that after you say “I do,” you can immediately join your guests for the reception. You won’t have to spend hours taking photos during the cocktail hour, and you’ll be able to maximize your time celebrating with your loved ones. That is if you don’t want some golden hour photos, of course. If you still want sunset portraits, you can opt to take wedding party and family photos after your first look and one-on-one newlywed photos after the ceremony. This way, you can still join your loved ones for the tail end of the cocktail hour!

The Cons of Having a First Look

Traditional Values

For some couples, adhering to tradition is extremely important. The idea of not seeing each other until the ceremony holds a sentimental value that they cherish. If you and your partner strongly value tradition and the element of surprise, then a first look might not align with your vision of the perfect wedding day.

Time Constraints

While a first look allows for more time for photos, it can also create time constraints in other areas of your wedding day. Coordinating a first look can be difficult if you have a tight schedule or a large wedding party. Additionally, if you prefer to have a late afternoon or evening ceremony, a first look might not allow for enough natural light for optimal photos.

Missed Anticipation

The moment of seeing your partner for the first time as you walk down the aisle is often considered a highlight of the wedding day. By having a first look, you may miss out on that intense feeling of anticipation and the emotional impact of that special moment. Some couples believe that this anticipation is worth preserving and choose to forgo a first look for this reason. However, it’s also important to note that the anticipation of walking down the aisle most likely isn’t going to go anywhere. Many couples, even if they opt to do a first look, still feel overwhelmed with emotion! Everyone is different.

Adds a Different Type of Pressure

There’s a good chance that you’ve seen the videos of emotional first looks. It feels as if a new one goes viral every other week. Because of this, it can add a certain kind of pressure to react in a certain way. This is why having the right photographer is so important. They’ll blend in with the surroundings and make you feel as if they’re not there at all. Then, you can focus on you and your soon-to-be spouse.

Final Thoughts

Deciding whether or not to have a first look at your wedding is a personal choice that is entirely dependent on your individual preferences and priorities. While a first look allows for intimate and emotional moments, it may not align with traditional values or the desire for anticipation. Consider the pros and cons, and ultimately, choose the option to make your wedding day unforgettable.

Speaking of wedding planning, there are a lot of financial decisions to make. It can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re breaking down what’s worth the splurge and what’s not!