To Have a First Look or Not, That is The Question

Happy #weddingwednesday! I love Wednesdays because on Wednesdays we talk weddings! Recently, I shared my thoughts on making a Wedding Day Timeline, you can see that article

Recently, I shared my thoughts on making a Wedding Day Timeline, you can see that article here. One of the things that will dictate how your day will unfold is whether or not you will see each other before the ceremony. Most of my couples feel two ways about a first look. They either absolutely do NOT want to see each other before the ceremony or they have no idea what they want to do. I, absolutely, have no idea which is better. They both have their pro and cons and so I want to give you as much information as possible so you can make an informed decision.

I believe there are 3 different ways you can go about your wedding day. There is the traditional way where you don’t see each other until you meet at the altar, the first look where you see each other before the ceremony, and the first blind look where you don’t actually see each other before the ceremony, but are able to hold hands, talk, pray, etcetera. There really is no wrong way to do it. So, sit back grab some coffee or a glass of wine and read on.

Traditional No First Look

church wedding, denver wedding photographer, rocky mountain wedding photographer, colorado wedding photographerTraditionally it was bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony. This dates back to when arranged marriages were the norm. This was to prevent the groom from backing out of the marriage if his bride were unattractive. Not only did this ruin a business deal between two families, but it also cast shame on the bride’s family.

Today, most marriages aren’t arranged and that tradition may not be as common. Some couples feel that not seeing each other before the ceremony adds another element of excitement and anticipation. Other couple’s worry that seeing each other before the ceremony takes away the emotion that comes with seeing each other as the bride walks down the aisle.

The biggest con of doing a traditional no first look is not being able to do bride and groom portraits, family portraits, or entire bridal party portraits. If you do choose to not have a first look make sure to pad your timeline with enough time to get those photos after the ceremony. Do keep in mind that you will probably not be able to join in on cocktail hour festivities.

First Look

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Let’s start off by defining a first look. A First Look is when the bride and groom meet before the ceremony and see each other. Usually, I have the groom face away from the where the bride walks and then she will tap her groom on the shoulder and your photographer will capture you two seeing each other for the first time and having a few moments together. From there we usually jump into bride and groom portraits.

What are the benefits of a first look? A first look gives you the opportunity to have a calming moment before the ceremony. Most of the time this calms the nerves of bride and groom. Weddings can be stressful between all the planning, bills, and trying to please your family as well as yourselves. The first look is a moment to just be together before you get married. After you’ve had a few moments together, I usually give my couples a few minutes of privacy and then we jump right into bride and groom portraits. After that, we will do bridal party photos and family photos (if you decide to do these before the ceremony). If you choose to have a first look you will have more time with your guests and be able to join them for most of the cocktail hour.

Most couples view the biggest con of a first look is not having that magic moment when the bride and groom see each other as she walks down the aisle. Most couple’s view this moment as more emotional and special than seeing each other before the ceremony or they view it as bad luck.

Blind First Look

blind first look, aspen wedding photographer, hotel jerome wedding, rocky mountain wedding photographer, denver wedding photographerA Blind First Look blends the two together. You have probably seen photos floating around social media and Pinterest where the bride and groom are placed around the corner from each other or there is a door between them or the groom is blindfolded. Sometimes they are just holding hands, praying, or exchanging gifts. This is a Blind First Look. This a chance for the bride and groom to have a few moments together without actually seeing each other.

Why do a Blind First Look? In my experience, bride and grooms opt for a blind first look when they want to preserve that magic moment of the bride walking towards the groom, but still want to have a few moments to calm their nerves or pray together. Not only is it a beautiful photo opportunity filled with a lot of emotion and anticipation, but it seems to have a very calming effect on both the bride and groom. Weddings are full of a lot of stress and this moment can really help couples ground themselves before getting married.

The cons of doing a Blind First Look are similar to a no first look because all of your photos are pushed to after the ceremony. Something to, also, consider is you will still have to block out 15 minutes for your Blind First Look. With my couples that choose to do this, I give them the option to have a few minutes of privacy.

I always get asked on what I prefer. I don’t think there is a wrong way to do it. All that matters is what you want to do on your wedding day. I love the intimateness of a first look, the traditional no first look is timeless, and a blind first look is unique and emotional.

What did you do on your wedding day? Do you wish you would have done it differently? If you are planning your wedding, what are you planning to do?

Until next time,



    June 15th, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    This is so sweet Shebli. I love your blog!

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