To do a First Look at Your Wedding……or Not

Deciding whether or not a first look is best –

Of all the decisions that need to be made during the wedding planning: flowers, music, food, colors, deciding on whether or not to do a first look is often one of the most difficult decisions, and often one the bride and groom don’t always agree on at first.

First Look Wedding

Let’s start with the reasons for doing a first look:

  • You will have a nice private moment – just the two of you
  • It can help with the jitters if you are nervous
  • It allows for great photo ops, and you can do all of your family, and bridal party photos before the wedding
  • You will be able to spend more time enjoying the cocktail hours with friends and family
  • Depending on the time of your ceremony, and the style of photographs you want, the light may be best prior to the ceremony

First Look Photos

Then, on the other hand, going the more traditional route of opting not to do a first look, allows you to capture that magical moment when you see one another at opposite ends of the aisle. I have to be honest, one of my favorite photographs from every wedding I plan, is when the groom sees his bride for the first time, in all of her bridal glory.

Groom at Altar


Even if you have been together for years, there is something just so moving about that first glance from a distance. Maybe I am just a helpless romantic, or somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to weddings. But, before you jump to a decision to do a first look (and most photographers will urge you to do a first look), be sure to consider the things that are truly most important to you in the long run.

Of course there is no right or wrong. It is your day, and it should be exactly as you want it to be. You may even consider doing something in between a first look, and the traditional end of aisle moment. Perhaps, instead of the sneaking up from behind the groom, the bride could enter from a distance, allowing the groom to see her in all of her glory from head to toe, taking in the moment as you approach one another, soon to be husband and wife.

A few tips if you choose to go the traditional route.

  • You can still do a majority of the family and bridal party photos, prior to the ceremony, including; the bride with the bridal party, groom with groomsmen, family shots and of course the  “first look” with the father of the bride.
  • Be sure to check the time of the sunset and schedule time for some portraits of the two of you during this optimal time for photographs. Even if you need to sneak out of the reception for 20 minutes.
  • Provide your photographer with a detailed list of all the formal group shots you would like, and schedule approximately 4 minutes for each grouping.
  • Let family members know if you will be needing them for photographs before or after the ceremony.