To do a First Look or Not

One of the most commonly asked questions from our brides is, should we do a first look or not? They ask our advice – because they want to know what will make their day better/run smoother/best photo op… and we definitely have our opinions, but ultimately, the couple has to pick what works best for THEM. We can run a wedding with a first look or not – no problem. But what happens is, couples don’t think about it until they are closer to the date, and then they feel like they just want to ask us what we want. So plan ahead – ask people who did it, and who didn’t. See what experience you want for your big day. And just for you, we put together a little pro/con list based on our weddings and what our couples have said!

For those of you wondering what a first look is, we’ll start there before we move into the pros and cons.


A First Look is when a Bride and Groom choose to see each other for the first time before the actual wedding ceremony. It is captured by photographers and in some cases is the only time the Bride, Groom and bridal party will be photographed on their big day. So all of their wedding photos would be done at this time, before the ceremony and reception even begin.

It can be a very beautiful moment and can take away some of the nervous before the ceremony by having this time together. On the flip side some couples think it could be a missed opportunity to not stick with tradition for both themselves and for the sake of their guests.

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To explore this further we’ll start with some incentives of doing a First Look.

Enjoying the moment:

-Depending on where you’re getting married or the length of the aisle you’ll be walking down, some brides have complained that they couldn’t really see to fully experience their new hubbies reaction to first seeming them.

-You also get the opportunity to get the nervous out and fully savor that first moment together. Hug and kiss each other and have the time to explore all the emotions that come up rather then go right into the ceremony after meeting at the alter.

-With the added bonus of having this tender moment intimately documented.


-Doing a First Look provides much more time for wedding photos without the couple feeling rushed or like they are left out of the party during cocktail hour or the reception.

-Time is generally spent first with the Bride and Groom, photographing them. Then the bridal party is added.

– That way the only thing left to photograph after the ceremony is generally just the family photos. Which is a huge time saver.



-A First Look gives the couple alot more flexibility on the actual wedding day because they are free to attend most of the cocktail hour as well as the reception.

-It also allows them to get the lighting they want in their pictures. For example if the couple is having a night wedding but wants daylight or sunset pictures, that can all be accommodated much easier.

Wedding Planner’s Dream:

-If you are using a wedding or event planner they will greatly appreciate your choice to do a First Look. This helps them stay on track and not risk the photographer running over into another part of the night.

Some things that can prevent people from doing a First Look are usually more personal preferences.


Don’t Want To Cheat Their Guests:

Some couples feel like if they don’t save the first time they see each other for the ceremony, then they are robbing their friends and family from being apart of that special. They don’t want to take that away from anyone.

Maybe Not Have Time Before The Wedding:

If the ceremony is happening pretty early in the day, the bride and groom may not have ample time to get ready for a First Look. The bridal party generally already has to begin to get ready early as it is, so if you rush it you end up losing one of the benefits of a First Look which is the photography time.

David + Erika's Wedding

They Want to Stick With Tradition:

Other couples may just want to stick with tradition. Maybe their families want them to, or they just don’t want to stray from what they know. And that’s okay! It isn’t a bad thing to not do a First Look. You can still have time and plan a great ceremony and reception, with time to get away for pictures. Having an experienced Coordinator can really help in this area ;-)


Whichever is best for you, to First Look or not, the day will still be beautiful. But keep in mind if you do choose to First Look, the moment you walk down the aisle during the ceremony will still be special. We promise! You’ll just have the added bonus of shedding the nerves and had some quality time with your man before hand.

What are your guys’ thoughts on First Looks? Are you thinking of doing one? Or did you forgo and wish you had? We’d love to hear it all in the comments below!

p.s. all the photos you see here are from first looks (or right before/after them) of some of our favorite Tasteful Brides! Click the photos to see more of the photographer’s work


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