6 reasons you should do a first look

In case you don’t know, a first look is exactly what it sounds like. Rather than the traditional run of show where you wait to see one another for the first time walking down the aisle, so many couples are deciding to do a first look before the ceremony. Here’s why they’re one of the best things you could do on your big day!

1. Allows you to relax
Come wedding day, you’re likely going to feel nervous, excited, anxious, filled with butterflies… maybe all of the above. And the person you’re about to marry is probably one of your biggest comforts. Their presence, their smile, their overall understanding of you, and you of them. Seeing each other can help calm your nerves, and set the tone for a joyful and relaxed best-day-ever!

2. More time to celebrate
This one is important to me, maybe the most important. This day is only going to happen once and it’s going to be over in the blink of an eye. Between getting ready in the morning, making your way to the venue, and hiding out until the ceremony, half your day is already taken up. Especially if your ceremony isn’t until later in the day, say sometime between 3-5pm. Then you walk down the aisle, make it official (whoohoo!) and it’s off to photos, followed by making your way to the reception, doing toasts, dinner, greeting guests, first dances, and a couple hours of dancing and before you know it – you’re leaving the venue. Phew – what a fun, tiring, perfect day! Don’t you wish you could hold on to these sweet moments just a little longer? (I know I did.) Good news – you can. Doing a first look allows you more time with your future husband or wife. More time to talk about how excited you were to see them. More time to laugh, share a drink, compliment how freaking bomb you both look! You’ve likely been planning this shin-dig for months, if not a year+ … Don’t you think you should take advantage of every minute?

Couples first look before wedding
Groom sees bride at first look before wedding

3. No need to rush through photos
Sharing a private first look means you can also take your couples portraits (and even bridal party group photos) before the ceremony. I love doing these before the ceremony whenever possible in case the day runs late or the weather is poor. Either way, I’m going to give you a fun, amazing photo experience, but I’d rather not feel like we need to rush along your photos quickly behind the ceremony site. Having a bit of flexibility is helpful for everyone.

4. Gives you an intimate, private moment
Yes, the entire day is to celebrate you two and your marriage, but you’ll rarely get a moment alone on your wedding day. First looks provide you the opportunity to share time together, just the two of you. These photos are always some of my absolute favorite because you actually have time to focus on one another. Sometimes that looks like tears rolling down cheeks, and other times it’s jumping in the air with a huge smile.

See what I mean… Ah, my heart jumps looking at Lisa and Michael’s first look.

Groom seeing bride at first look before their wedding
Couple excitedly shares first look moment
Groom tears up seeing bride during wedding first look

5. Fresh hair and make-up
A big perk of doing a first look is that you will have just had your hair and make-up done. This point is short and sweet, because there’s nothing better than feeling fresh for your photos.

6. Less waiting around for guests
Doing a first look and photos before the ceremony means you get to head to the party sooner, which also means your guests won’t spend 2-3 hours waiting at the cocktail hour to celebrate with you. It’s a win-win!

OK, yes, those are all really good points but I want to keep it traditional.

Totally fine! I will never ever pressure you to do this. A few alternatives are a “not-first-look, first look” which is when you meet before but don’t see one another and still save that moment for the ceremony. During a “not first look” couples might hold hands and pray together, read letters they’ve written, or just simply chat about the morning.

Bride and groom do a not first look, first look
Holding hands during first look

First look with parents
Another option is a first look with your dad, parents, or bridesmaids! I didn’t do a first look with my husband, but I knew I wanted to share that moment with my dad. He’s one of my favorite people in the whole entire world and that moment was a really special part of the day to me.

There you have it, six reasons to consider having a first look on your wedding day. Personally, I am ALWAYS a fan of couples doing first looks, from an emotional connection and practicality standpoint. Hopefully this insight helps in your decision making! Feel free to pass this on to your friends in the wedding planning process!

What do you think? Did you do a first look, do you wish you would have? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s talk about it!

Mary Kathryn Parrott

My husband and I did a traditional “see you at the altar” but a short time alone together right after the ceremony. Gave us some time to connect and talk about what we just did! One of my favorite memories from the day.

I love that! After the ceremony is so special, it’s so nice you had a moment to soak it all in together!

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