What is a first look and should you consider doing one on your wedding day?

What is a first look?

A first look is when the bride and groom plan to see each other for the first time in a more private setting on the wedding day before their actual wedding ceremony. This is definitely different than the tradition of the groom waiting to see the bride until she walks down the aisle. First looks have become more popular in recent years for a variety of reasons.

A couple's first look before their wedding 

Photo: Broc and Alexa Photography


Why should you consider having a first look?

It Calms the Wedding Day Nerves

All the anxious anticipation leading up to the wedding day really does hit you on the morning of your wedding. Typically, non-Catholic ceremonies start at 4 pm or later and that allows for the nerves and anticipation to build all day. Being able to see your bride or groom earlier in the day before the ceremony allows for your nerves to fall away. This helps you relax and enjoy your entire wedding day a whole lot more.


Allows More Time for Wedding Photography

Whether wedding photography is important to you or not, you put a lot of money into your wedding day photos. You might as well get as much out of it as you can. By having a first look you have more time for bride and groom portraits, bridal party portraits and family photos as well. You’ll also be able to get more variety in your photos. Your photographer will be able to take you to more spots throughout your wedding venue. This typically leads to a wider array of portraits and an overall larger wedding gallery from your photographer. You’ll also be able to get all your bridal party portraits done before the ceremony when everyone’s hair and makeup looks amazing. By doing this your bridal party can enjoy cocktail hour while you finish up with family portraits.

When couples choose not to have a first look, wedding photos typically all get crammed together within cocktail hour time-frame. This leads to less variety of photos. Typically, all your images will happen in one location and there is not much time. During one hour you are trying to get all family photos done, bridal party and bride and groom photos. After that hour, most couples feel drained or they feel rushed because they don’t want to keep their guests waiting.


You Get to Spend More Time With Your Bride or Groom on the Wedding Day

Think about it… you are spending anywhere from $10,000-$100,000+ on your wedding day and if you don’t have a first look you don’t see your future husband or wife until the day is 2/3’s over. Don’t you want to be able to celebrate with them and actually be able to spend some alone time with them during the day? By having a first look you get some private time with your husband or wife to tell them how pretty their dress is or how handsome they look in their suit. You also get more time at cocktail hour to either spend time with your guests or take 30 minutes alone as husband and wife to just soak in married life.

First look on wedding day

Photo: Broc and Alexa Photography


You Can Share Personal Vows and Show More Emotion

We’ve all seen the Pinterest reactions of grooms seeing their wives for the first time. As amazing as those reactions are, most grooms don’t have much of a reaction when their bride walks down the aisle. It’s not because they don’t think you look beautiful. It’s typically because they have 200+ people looking at them and they don’t want to have people see their emotion. In all the weddings we’ve photographed, typically we see grooms get more emotional and have a better reaction during a first look. It’s because it is a more private moment and they feel more free to be themselves.

This is also a time that you can share personal vows with one another that you might not feel comfortable reading out loud in front of your grandmother. This is a time to write sweet and silly vows to one another if you want or just write a note or share gifts, but ultimately show your love to one another in a private setting.


Overall, It’s Up to YOU!

First looks aren’t for everyone. Your wedding day is YOURS so make sure to do what you want. While there are a lot of perks to having a first look, if you want to see your husband for the first time walking down the aisle it is completely okay. Lots of couples still choose to stay traditional and it truly should be your decision. Don’t ever let anyone, whether it be your bridal party, photographer, or videographer pressure you into doing anything you don’t want to on your wedding day. It’s your day and no matter what your decision you’ll still end up married to your best friend at the end of it. Make sure to do what’s best for you and your wedding day will be amazing.

Broc and Alexa Photography are a husband and wife wedding photography team based in Columbus, Ohio. They love sharing wedding planning advice with their couples and capturing beautiful images on wedding days that their couples can treasure for a lifetime.

Website: www.brocandalexaphotography.com

Instagram: @brocandalexaphotography

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