What is a First Look Wedding? Modern Trend Explained

You’re in the all too exciting (and equally as stressful) wedding planning phase and have likely heard of this new wedding trend that’s sweeping the nation – the first look.

Discussing with your partner whether or not to do a first look is essential to proper wedding timeline planning.

So, what exactly is a first look? 

Simply put, a first look is when the bride and groom see each other before the wedding ceremony. Traditionally, this moment when the bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day occurs at the wedding ceremony while the bride makes her walk down the aisle. 

A first look can be a special moment between you and your partner, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of a first-look wedding so you can make an educated decision when planning your special day.

Let’s get started!

bride laughing after seeing her groom's reaction

The Pros

  1. Quality time: Doing a first look provides a moment of privacy and allows you an opportunity to share your excitement for the wedding day with your partner. This can be especially important if you have a lot of guests or a busy wedding schedule. 
  2. Time management: By doing a first look, you and your partner can take some couples portraits and even wedding party photos before the ceremony (some family photos too if you’re really lucky), which frees up time after the ceremony for mingling with guests during cocktail hour. This can be especially advantageous if you have a lot of guests or family/friends that traveled far to be there.
  3. Relieving nerves: A first look can help alleviate some of the nerves that naturally creep in on wedding days. Seeing each other before the wedding can help ease any tension and anxiety that you may be feeling during the build-up to the events of the day which can ultimately make the whole experience a little smoother.

The Cons

  1. Tradition: First looks go against what is considered a traditional wedding when the bride and groom first see each other at their wedding ceremony. This alone can be a deal breaker for couples who envisioned having a classic moment when they share the joy of seeing each other for the first time with their friends and family present at their ceremony. If having a traditional wedding is more of your style, I’ve created a blog post covering an innovative wedding ceremony seating idea that will help your guests enjoy the experience even more.
  2. No surprise: One of the most anticipated wedding moments is seeing how the groom reacts to seeing his bride in her wedding dress for the first time. This moment is often very emotional for everyone involved which is why it’s typically saved for when guests are present during the wedding ceremony. By doing a first look, this moment at the ceremony may not be as emotional because of the lost surprise factor. 
  3. Logistics: Doing a first look will require a little more planning and preparation. Often the photographer and videographer will need to scout a location to do the first look and additional coverage may be necessary throughout the day to ensure the pre-ceremony and post-ceremony events are covered.
groom reacts to seeing bride

Still Not Sure?

Ask yourself these questions:

When you and your partner see each other for the first time at your wedding… would you prefer to share that moment in privacy or with your friends and family?

  • If your vote was for privacy, then a first look may be right for you. If you voted for sharing the moment with friends and family present, a traditional wedding might be the best option for you. 

Would you prefer to have a relaxed morning or a relaxed cocktail hour?

  • If a relaxed morning sounds more appealing, you may want to consider having a traditional wedding since there’s less scheduling involved in the mornings when there’s no first look. If a relaxed cocktail hour (one where we take fewer photos and you can mingle with guests more) sounds ideal, then a first look might be the right option. 
bride and groom walking together during their portrait time on their wedding day

Ultimately, the answer comes down to personal preference and there’s no wrong answer. Pick whatever feels right for you and your partner. If you’re working with a professional team of qualified vendors, they will make your wedding day a memorable experience regardless of how you decide to structure the timeline.

Let’s Connect

Are you looking for a wedding photographer who will walk with you every step of the way and ensure you have an amazing wedding experience? You read the right article and I’d love to photograph your wedding.

You can see more of my work on my portfolio page. If you’re ready to reach out, head over to the contact page on my website to get in touch and check availability. I can’t wait to hear from you!