The Pros and Cons of Having a First Look

Planning a wedding is an exciting and sometimes challenging experience. Perhaps because it’s a day where every decision plays a role in shaping your story—one of them being whether or not to have a first look.

We’ve seen firsthand the advantages a first look can have. But we also understand the importance of respecting tradition.

This post will explore the pros and cons of the first look from a practical standpoint. And equip you with the information and confidence you need to make the right decision for you.

First, let’s look at what this moment is all about.

What is a First Look?

A first look is the moment you see each other for the first time before the ceremony in lieu of seeing each other for the first time at the start of the ceremony. It’s an opportunity for an intimate connection away from the watchful eyes of your guests.

The Pros of a First Look

The decision to have a first look offers a range of advantages. For many couples, it allows them to relax and celebrate with friends and family after the ceremony.

Here are five big benefits to having a first look:

More Time to Mingle: Having this private moment beforehand frees up more time to mingle with your guests during cocktail hour. 

Optimal Natural Light: Natural light is always an advantage. This is particularly beneficial during the fall and winter when daylight hours are shorter. 

A Moment to Relax: Overwhelming emotions can fill the moments leading up to a wedding ceremony. A first look provides an intimate moment for you to connect with one another, and calm any pre-ceremony nerves. 

Flexible Travel Time: Sometimes, couples opt for a first look at a location separate from the wedding venue. This allows for creative and unique settings but requires additional time. A first look provides the flexibility to travel and enjoy the experience without feeling rushed.

Formalities, then Fun: By having most of the posed photos out of the way before the ceremony, you can truly relax and revel in the evening’s celebrations. 

The Cons of a First Look

While a first look can offer numerous advantages, it’s not without its downsides. Consider these potential drawbacks alongside the benefits to ensure you make the right choice for your wedding day.

Miss the Aisle Moment: One of the primary drawbacks is possibly missing out on one of the wedding day’s most iconic and emotionally-charged moments—the groom seeing the bride walk down the aisle. It’s a moment when the couple, along with their guests, are united in anticipation. This traditional moment might lose some significance and impact when a first look occurs.

Awkward and Overdone: Some couples find the first-look setup somewhat awkward. The typical scenario of the groom standing with his back to the bride while she taps him on the shoulder can feel staged and unnatural. It doesn’t always capture the reality of the moment, and it can be a challenge to achieve a genuine reaction. 

Cocktail Hour Con: While having more time at the cocktail hour is often considered an advantage, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t always benefit everyone. Even with a first look, certain essential photos still need to be taken after the ceremony, such as family portraits and possibly a few more couple shots. This means the extra time gained might not be as substantial as expected. It’s essential to weigh the value of an extended cocktail hour against the necessity of capturing specific moments later in the day.

How to Decide if a First Look is Right for You

Is a first look right for you? This is a deeply personal choice and should align with your vision and preferences. Along with considering the pros and cons of a first look, you can also take the following steps:

  1. Communicate with Your Partner: Open, honest, and heartfelt communication is essential. Discuss your feelings, desires, and expectations for your wedding day. What moments are most important to you both? Take the time to understand each other’s perspectives and find common ground.
  2. Prioritize Your Values: Consider what you value most. Are you drawn to preserving tradition and experiencing the emotional moment of the groom seeing the bride walk down the aisle? Or are you more excited about the intimate and relaxed atmosphere of a first look, allowing you to connect before the whirlwind begins? And remember, if you need to have that traditional moment, don’t let anyone push you into a first look to save time.
  3. Consult with Your Wedding Planner: If you’ve hired us as your wedding planners, don’t hesitate to lean on our expertise. We can provide valuable insights into the logistics of a first look and how it aligns with your wedding day timeline. We can also offer creative suggestions to make the most of your chosen approach.

Ultimately, what matters most is that your decision reflects your values and vision. Trust in the process, communicate with your partner and know that your choice will result in a day that beautifully celebrates your love.Reach out so we can plan your day to perfection, and you can enjoy every moment—first look or not.

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