I know how hard planning a wedding can be so I want to start by saying: I support your choice either way. This is your decision and above all, I want you to plan a day that fits best for you! If that means you break tradition, I say go for it. Either way, figure out whatever it is you two want as a couple and choose that.
From a photographer stand point, I have seen it done both ways and there are a few benefits to having a first look that you may not have thought of! So if you’re on the fence about having a first look, this post is for you.
1. It doesn’t ruin the moment when you walk down the aisle.
This is the most common reason my couples choose to not have a first look and I absolutely understand this. If this is how you imagined that moment your whole life, this may be a non-negotiable to you!
However, I do want to offer this: Nothing can ruin that moment when you first lock eyes down the aisle.
Even if you see each other before your ceremony, it will still be overwhelmingly joyful and beautiful. (If anything, it might calm the nerves a little bit because you’ve already had a chance to see each other.)
2. You get a moment ALONE together, just the two of you.
A first look allows for a really intimate setting to see each other for the first time. There’s space to take each other in, cry, hug, kiss — without anyone else around!
Yes, I’ll be snapping the moment in the background, but I also love giving my couples a few minutes alone after they first see each other. It helps ease any nerves and allows space to breathe, recenter, and focus on what truly matters.
All in all, this might be the only moment you get alone together the whole day. I’d take advantage of it!
3. You spend LESS time hiding from each other, and MORE time together.
So many couples have told me, it felt like they hardly saw each other on their wedding day. By having a first look before your ceremony you get to spend a couple more hours together on your day!
4. You get more photos of the two of you together.
More time = more photos. And by having a first look before the ceremony, it does allow for more time to capture those moments of just the two of you.
If you don’t have a first look, that means wedding party, family photos and bride & groom portraits all have to happen after the ceremony — usually during a cocktail hour. While this can absolutely still work, you should know that there won’t be as much time to capture photos of just the two of you.
5. It will ease the pressure and the schedule.
Finally, getting the majority of the photos done before the ceremony means you AND your wedding party are free to enjoy your cocktail hour and do things like… drink cocktails! If you’re still working on planning your timeline for the day, I would highly recommend checking out this post — which breaks down how to develop a timeline for your day!
Overall, this is absolutely your decision! I recommend sitting down with your significant other and figuring out what it is you really want. And then, do that!! Whatever you decide, I hope this helps you to make the best decision for you!