First Looks vs Keeping with Tradition

One of the questions I get asked most often when helping to plan the wedding day timeline is, "Should I do a first look?" The answer, I believe, is 100% up to you! It is a personal decision, which usually varies from couple to couple. I have photographed weddings where the couple has chosen a first look and others where they have not. Both are successful. Both are meaningful and both have their advantages. If you are stuck somewhere in between and unsure which might be a better fit for you, fear not. I'm going to chat more about it below.

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first look surprise

What is a "first look?"

A first look is a private moment between the bride and groom where they see each other for the first time on the wedding day. This takes place earlier in the day, or just prior to the ceremony.

Why should I consider a "first look?"

First looks are amazing for many reasons!

Reason # 1 | They are wonderful for your timeline, because you get the bulk of your photos done earlier in the day. This allows you to return to your guest after the ceremony more quickly.

Reason # 2 |They help calm nerves. Let's face it, the wedding day is emotional, and that's OK. Some couples prefer to get the tears out and relieve some of the nervous excitement before stepping out in front of family and friends.

Reason # 3 | You can be you! Embrace! Cry! Kiss! Whatever you want to do, DO! With traditional ceremonies you are forced to wait until it is over before you are able to really make a full connection with each other, with first looks there is no waiting. This is also an excellent time to exchange gifts (while getting it on camera)!

jones wed first look

traditional ceremony look
traditional first look at ceremony

Keeping with tradition.

Traditionally couples don't see each other until the ceremony.

Why should I consider staying with tradition?

Traditions have deep roots. They carry different meanings for everyone. I typically hear these two reasons why from couples who have decided to wait until the ceremony to see each other.

Reason # 1 | It's what you have always wanted and envisioned. It's your wedding day and that should be reason enough. If you have always pictured that for your big day, then you should live it.

Reason # 2 | Many think it is bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony. Although I don't believe this to be the true, I respect everyone's beliefs. We can work together to find time on your wedding day to photograph the two of you after the ceremony.

tearful ceremony first look

new first look

Daddy Daughter First Looks: Oh how these ones make me cry! Some brides want to keep it traditional with their groom but love the idea of first look photos. A first look with your father are an excellent and very meaningful way to do this. I love these moments especially if you have a father who tends to hold in his emotion in front of a crowd. This way he can let go of his emotions and be in the moment with you.

daddy daughter first looks

The "not" first look: Any bride who has spent any time on Pinterest is most likely familiar with this one. This one is perfect for couples who want to have a minute together but not break from tradition by not actually seeing each other. The idea behind this one is that while you can touch,  hold hands (or not), you can still talk to each other. A special moment like this builds excitement while also calming nerves a little.

the "not" first look

No matter what you choose, it is a personal decision. Your day is meant to celebrate your unique love. The way you feel it. The way you envision your day. There is no "wrong" choice. Of course, I am always willing to give you my input if you don't have a preference or are still feeling a bit indecisive. I'm happy to help guide you through the photography process in any way I can. In the end you will have photos that reflect you wedding day and that you can cherish for a lifetime.