Spotlight: The First Look Dilemma

Evaluating the pros and cons of this trendy wedding tradition
Written by
Laura Cross

The "first look" in the context of a wedding refers to a pre-arranged, private moment between the couple before the actual ceremony begins. During the "first look," the bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day, often in their wedding attire, away from the eyes of the guests. The intimate encounter is typically orchestrated by the wedding photographer to capture the genuine emotions and reactions of the couple. Couples opting for a "first look" often weigh the desire for a special, personal moment against the traditional custom of seeing each other for the first time at the altar during the ceremony.

Navigating the intricate decisions of a wedding day involves careful consideration of traditions, emotions and logistical choices. Among these considerations, the "first look" has emerged as a pivotal moment for couples about to be married. This pre-ceremony encounter brings forth a myriad of perspectives. While some couples swear by the magic of this intimate encounter, others remain committed to the tradition of seeing each other for the first time at the altar. In this Spotlight feature, two wedding experts weigh in on the pros and cons of opting for a first look on your wedding day – shedding light on the nuanced factors that contribute to creating a memorable and meaningful wedding experience.

Linsey Huffaker, Linsey Huffaker Photography

As a photographer I am a BIG fan of first looks for a few reasons. It is always special when a bride and groom have a private moment together, it calms the nerves and gets you pumped for the ceremony. In my experience, doing a first look does NOT take away from the moment you walk down the aisle. That time is sacred and beautiful no matter what. I've had grooms get emotional during both! The second PRO to having a first look is the positive impact on your wedding day timeline. All the formal photos are done before the ceremony so all that's left to do is CELEBRATE! As a wedding photographer I truly have never witnessed a CON for having a private first look with your future spouse. 

Linsey Huffaker Photography
Linsey Huffaker Photography

Anna Brace, Anna Brace Photography

Those electing to do a first look will get more photos taken throughout the day as you'll be together more. A first look also allows you to be together ahead of the ceremony, which means that you won't have to worry about staying in separate rooms all day! You'll be able to hold each other's hands throughout the day, and seeing your person always helps relieve any stress or nerves that may be happening!

That being said, if you've always wanted a reaction walking down the aisle, maybe a first look isn't right for you! Saving most of the photos till after your ceremony means that in the time leading up to your ceremony, there's a lot less going on. Maybe you need a bit of calm on your wedding day, or you'd prefer not to have to rush before your ceremony. Either way, this may be the best choice for you. 

Anna Brace Photography
Anna Brace Photography