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Pros & Cons of Doing a First Look

If there is any question we can count on a couple asking during the planning process, it is “Should we do a first look?” For anyone new to this term, a first look is when the couple sees each other before the ceremony in a private location. Usually the photographer and videographer are present to capture the moment.

There are many factors that go into deciding on whether you do a first look or not. Let’s break it down a bit for you!

Cons of Doing a First Look

Con #1: Timeline Crunch

Most people recognize when you do a first look, you’ll save time on pictures after the ceremony, but many forget doing a first look before your wedding will push your schedule up. Hair and makeup has to be completed before you can see your partner, and you’ll have to be dressed much earlier than if you saw one another at the ceremony.

Photographers will usually want to do bridal party portraits ahead of time as well, so that means your entire bridal party will have to be dressed and ready to go two or three hours in advance of the ceremony.

If you have a large bridal party, you may have to start hair and makeup appointments sooner than you were originally expecting.

Con #2: Anti-climactic Ceremony

Some folks would argue that a first look takes nothing away from walking down the aisle after seeing one another only an hour or two before.

Others, however, have a different opinion. If you’re afraid seeing each other will ruin the emotion and feeling behind the wedding day, then it’s probably best to not hold a first look. The best reactions for photographs are ones that are organic and natural, not forced.

Con #3: Tradition What?

Food trucks, bouncy houses, s’mores bars… Weddings are nothing like they used to be ten or twenty years ago! And while you might like to add some non-traditional elements in, maybe you’re just a stickler for the traditional first look of being when you’re walking down the aisle.

There’s nothing wrong with that! Knowing what you want is important in any decision, especially your wedding day.

And now for the plus side of having a first look!

Pros of Doing a First Look

Pro #1: Controlled Environment

On your wedding day there are too many things to list that will be out of your control (which is partly why we’re there to make things run smoothly!). From wind to rain, bad lighting, or guests being out of control with cameras, the photographs at your ceremony might not be what you envisioned.

With a first look, photographers and videographers work as a team to scout out the best location in terms of shot angles and privacy. The first look is a controlled environment where the photographer can really capture the best photographs possible of this special moment.

Pro #2: Timeline Booster

While doing a first look might make your hair and makeup schedule a little crunched in the morning, it will make the rest of your day a little less stressful. If you do a first look, you can have many of your bridal party portraits taken beforehand, and if there is enough time, some family photos can be done as well.

After your ceremony, you can snap those few family portraits you have left, do some shots of just the two of you, and then you can enjoy the party! Many couples miss cocktail hour completely because they have too many photos to do if they don’t plan a first look. If mingling with guests is at the top of your list, having that first look might be worth it.

Pro #3: Peace & Quiet

The number one thing people think of when they are planning the first look are the photographs. And while those are important, we think there is another element to what makes a first look so special: the two of you together.

Your wedding day can be one of the most hectic and stressful days you’ll experience, and usually the person you find comfort in the most is your partner. You’ve shared ups and downs with him or her – why not share a moment before you join in marriage?

Having even ten or fifteen minutes where you two are completely alone – no photographer, no family bombarding you with questions – could be one of the most memorable times of your wedding day. You’ll remember the laughs, the tears and the shared moments before you take that beautiful walk down the aisle.

If you decide to do a first look there are two things I always recommend. First, make it private. Just the two of you and the photographer and videographer. Leave your bridal party and family in another location. Second, if the bride is wearing a veil I always recommend leaving it off for the first look and then adding it on before walking down the aisle so you look a little different.

Here are some photos from Moonloop Photography from a wedding we did back in September 2015 showing the bride and groom reactions for both the first look as well as the walk down the aisle before the ceremony.

 Love the look of pure excitement on the bride’s face as she’s walking to see her groom for the first time!

Love the look of pure excitement on the bride’s face as she’s walking to see her groom for the first time!

 You can just tell the groom is thinking “wow, look how gorgeous my bride looks!"

You can just tell the groom is thinking “wow, look how gorgeous my bride looks!"

 Even though Sam and Alex did a first look, as you can see by this picture, the groom was still in awe as his lovely bride walked down the aisle!

Even though Sam and Alex did a first look, as you can see by this picture, the groom was still in awe as his lovely bride walked down the aisle!

 And even though the bride had already seen her groom earlier in the day for the first look, you can see she was thrilled to see him as she walked towards the front of the ceremony!

And even though the bride had already seen her groom earlier in the day for the first look, you can see she was thrilled to see him as she walked towards the front of the ceremony!

What do you think of the first look trend? Is it something you’re thinking about? If you have any questions, leave us a comment below!

WeddingsMelissa Martin