July 16, 2020

Why a First Look is Always a Good Idea on a Wedding Day

Is it possible to have a wedding day first look? Is it breaking from tradition? Or is it actually reasonable?

“The groom can’t see the bride before the wedding!”

How many times have we heard that being screamed by bridesmaids, brides, and mother-of-the-brides any time a groom gets dangerously close to a bride’s ‘getting ready’ headquarters? Well, times are a-changing and now experts are saying it’s actually a good idea for brides and grooms to take a moment for a wedding day first look. This way they get to see each other in private before the wedding begins. These moments are called wedding day first looks and today, many couples think they are the best practices for weddings – us included!

Read on to find out why you should think about adding a first look to your wedding day (both with your spouse and parents)

1. It Can Relieve Stress and Anxiety

A lot of planning goes into a wedding. When you are coming up on those few hours and minutes before a wedding, your nerves can be in tatters trying to anticipate what could possibly go wrong. These feelings can really keep you from enjoying your wedding day. Waiting to see the groom at the alter can add to these nerves. It increases a sense of anticipation which is supposed to make the moment more special, but it also adds to the anxiety.

Seeing your spouse-to-be before the wedding not only minimizes anticipation, it gives you a chance to see the person who should mean the most in this whole planning process. It gives you a chance to laugh, cry or consult over details. Best of all, it gives you a chance to hug them and reassure them and tell them how beautiful they look while saying ‘hey we got this’ – “we’re about to get MARRIED”!”

 And you get to do this without 100 people watching you at the altar.

2. A Wedding Day First Look Minimizes Risk

When you are hosting a wedding, a lot of things can go wrong, especially in terms of timing. Anyone can be running late including members of your wedding party, your officiant or the people who are providing services. It may also be difficult to get people from your ceremony to your reception in a timely manner. It is for these reasons that it’s best to get your wedding photographs out of the way before your wedding.

Wedding photographs will include pictures of the members of your wedding party and many require that the bride and groom pose together. If given the choice, it’s better to do a first look to allow time for these photos rather than leaving them for the last minute and take the risk of not getting them or having to interrupt your reception to take the shots. Leaving them for later also means you lose natural light meaning you may be limited to indoor shots only.

4. It allows you to enjoy your Cocktail hour and your Guests 

One of the least thought aspects about why you should do a Wedding Day First Look is the fact that you can enjoy your guests after the ceremony and not be stuck doing all your family portraits while all your other guest are enjoying “their” cocktail hour themselves. If you don’t do the first look you often won’t be able to spend time with your guest until the dance floor opens up later in the evening – and then most of the day has gone by.

5. It Does Not Detract from the Emotional Factor

Many will argue that doing a first look before the ceremony will take away from the emotions you would feel if you were seeing each other for the first time at the altar. However, this is not necessarily the case. Sometimes brides and grooms have so swept away in details of their wedding that that ‘first look moment’ they have at the alter gets minimalized. And sometimes, even if you do a first look, that time you see each other at the altar will be as special as ever.

Either way, one thing I can guarantee is that sharing that private moment will be an emotional time that is sure to stand out in your memories for years to come.

6. A Wedding Day First Look Creates More Photo Opps

If you have a photographer on hand, you want as many photo opportunities as possible. A first look will give you another chance to take meaningful shots. The pictures you take before the wedding will include those of the bride and groom with their bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, and other key members of their wedding party. But they can also include shots of the both of them together.

First look shots will make for meaningful pictures of the couple seeing each other for the first time in their wedding attire and looking forward to taking the journey to becoming a union. These will be the perfect items to add to your photo album.

7. It Gives You a Private Moment Together

There is so much to do during your wedding, it can really detract from your special moments together as a couple. Your first look gives you a chance to concentrate on each other and take a moment for yourself. It is for this reason that most couples who decide to do a first look will be glad they did

Planning for Your Wedding Day First Look

If you have decided to go ahead and do a wedding day first look, just like every other detail of your wedding, you should be careful to plan this moment out in advance.

There are many ideas for shots you can take. Here are a few.

  • Bride Coming out of a Doorway: During a first look, the focus will usually be on the bride. Therefore, it’s a good idea to take a picture of the bride with the groom looking on in the background or foreground. In these pictures, you can have a bride coming out of a doorway while the groom looks on from the front of the house. If you are getting married in a building that has a doorway that opens out to a balcony, this can give your photos even more of a dramatic effect. The groom can look on from ground level.

  • Use a Blindfold: Blindfolding the groom before the bride comes out and seeing the reaction on his face is a great way to add drama to the big reveal.

  • Closeups of the Bride and Groom: Taking photos of the bride and groom’s faces right before they see each other and when they first see each other can be an effective way to capture the emotion of the moment.

  • Account for Logistics: In addition to getting a creative shot, you also want to make sure the lighting is good, the location is right and that the style is in-line with your wedding aesthetics.


A first look is not right for every bride and groom but these are some great reasons why they are becoming a more common tradition at modern weddings. There is a reason we recommend them to ALL of our couples! So what do you think? Will you be doing a first look on your wedding day?