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Pros & Cons of the First Look

groom covers eyes as bride approaches him from behind for first look

Are you uncertain about whether or not you want to do a first look with your future spouse for your wedding day? We’ve provided a list of pros and cons to help you decide!

first look, groom facing away from bride
first look - bride and groom high five

PRO 1: You'll have more time for photos (read: less stress).

 Since you’ll have already seen each other, you can do some or all of your formal wedding portraits before the ceremony. As a bonus, you will probably get more photographs since you aren’t limited to the time between the ceremony and reception. Since you have more time, you can make sure to get all the pictures on your shot list.

CON 1: Your day will start earlier.

You’ll have to work with your photographer to ensure you are dressed and ready to go with enough time to get all the desired portraits taken before the wedding. Depending how early your ceremony is and how many people are getting ready with you, this could result in your hair & make-up artist charging an early arrival fee. 

PRO 2: You get to see each other for the first time privately.

A quiet moment together before the wedding is something special that you can cherish. If being the center of attention is not your thing, this is one moment of the day where not all eyes have to be on you.  If you’re worried that the groom won’t be as genuinely emotional if he sees you beforehand, remember that him watching you walk down the aisle is more than about seeing you in your wedding gown. It’s an experience that is going to trigger all the feelings and emotions as you share such a sacred moment.

CON 2: You could feel awkward since it's not candid.

Since the photographer is there for the sole purpose of documenting your reactions at the reveal, it could feel a little awkward. If you prefer to not see each other until the altar, all those photos will be naturally candid. 

PRO 3: It can ease the jitters.

Seeing each other before the ceremony can help take the edge off. This is your life partner and you will be naturally comforted by the fact you are able to be with each other before the biggest party you will ever host. 

CON 3: You will break with tradition.

Traditionally speaking, it is bad luck if the groom sees the bride before the wedding. Even if you are not superstitious yourself, it could upset more traditional family members (but I am a big proponent of planning your day for the two of you and not based on others’ opinions).

PRO 4: You will have more time to spend with your guests.

If you take some or all of your formal portraits before the ceremony, you can actually attend some or all of your own cocktail hour! There are so many obligations during the wedding day and you may feel that you don’t have enough time with each guest. How many weddings have you been to where you’ve barely spoken with the bride and groom? If it’s important to you to ensure you get time with everyone, getting photos done beforehand is key.

CON 4: Your bridal party and family may get bored or tired.

Since your family and/or bridal party will also have to be ready hours before the event actually starts, they could get bored when they are not in the photos and they could get tired early from being on their feet most of the day. Try to ensure there is seating available for people who aren’t actively being photographed and plenty of water bottles to go around. 

Two First Looks?

It’s fairly common to do a first look with your future spouse. Something new that is gaining in popularity is doing a first look with your dad. If you have the time and the logistics work out, consider this special father-daughter moment. It’s sure to make him beam with pride (and shed a bunch of tears if your dad is anything like mine 😉 ). 

What Did You Decide?

Did you have a first look or did you wait to see your partner until the altar? Share your experience and perspective in the comments below!