Top 5 pros and cons to having a first look on your wedding day

If you’re still on the fence about whether having a first look is the right choice for you, I’m sharing my top 5 pros and cons of planning a first look for your wedding.

You’re getting married – woohoo!

And as your wedding day approaches, you might find yourself asking…
– “How does a day so magical even start? I mean… what do you even do up until your wedding ceremony?”

Now, obviously there’s hair and makeup.
And you can enjoy a glass of bubbly with your bridesmaids too.

But what if you want something more – something truly special?

Well, if you want to make the most of the day you get married, and start delving in the magic & love as soon as possible…
…then have you considered actually breaking tradition – and having a first look before the ceremony?

“Okay… but what even is a first look?” – you might be asking.

A first look is when you arrange a private time to see each other BEFORE the ceremony. The only people present will be the two of you (and of course, I’ll be there to capture all the emotion)!

It’s when time stops for a few heartbeats (or, you know, an hour or two) giving way for a private moment for the couple to meet before the ceremony begins or the guests start arriving.

It’s an emotional blink of an eye, when the beautiful bride (in her gorgeous wedding dress) and the charming groom arrange to see each other for the first time on their special day either at their wedding venue, or somewhere not too far away. Giving themselves just a bit of extra time to focus on each other, share an intimate moment, or take first look photos.

You can even decide to have a first look with other people (or doggos) close to your hearts – like your best friend, your bridesmaids, your parents, or your siblings – to share an emotional moment in private before everyone else gets to see you too.

Li doing a first look with her dad
Sarah having a first look with her bridesmaids
Sarah doing a first look with her friends
Alice having a first look with her dad
Grace having a first look with her bridesmaids
Grace having a first look with her dad

While I have met couples who wanted to stick to tradition and waited until their ceremony to see each other, first looks are becoming a real trend. And fewer and fewer couples want to wait to see each other for the first time on their wedding day. (I mean… can you blame them?)

So, if you’re still on the fence about whether having a first look is the right choice for you, I’m sharing my top 5 pros and cons of planning a first look for your wedding. (Okay, so actually just pros, since there really are no cons – except for maybe having to get ready earlier)

1. You get to spend your entire wedding day with your best friend

Having a first look means that the bride and groom – that’s you guys – get to spend 2+ more hours more together to have fun, hang out with each other, and prepare yourselves for the epic day that’s about to come. And not just the ceremony and reception.

Just think about it: if you choose to do a first look moment, that means you’ll see each other earlier in the day. And this gives you a rare opportunity to spend a bit more time to enjoy each other’s presence and to have a private moment together before the ceremony starts.

And you can use this time to share your excitement and anticipation with each other or to let all your emotions out – and experience them together with your soulmate. You can have a deep conversation in private, or even share some goofy, candid moments in a much more private and relaxed atmosphere.

So, while a lot of couples only get their intimate moments post-ceremony, you can choose to be different. You can choose to spend a bit more time with the love of your life – before the enchantment unfolds.

2. A first look is more emotional than seeing each other down the aisle

Hold on…

“But why would I want to spoil that magical moment when the love of my life first sees me walking down the aisle?”
– you might be thinking.

I mean, shouldn’t you wait until you walk down the aisle for your big reveal?

Well, I’m not going to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. It is your wedding, after all.
Which means that on this day, you get to make the rules – and I’d encourage you to do whatever makes YOU happy.

But I will tell you this: every couple I’ve ever worked with can attest that first looks feel just as emotional and meaningful as seeing each other down the aisle. After all, it’s just the two of you (and maybe your photographer and videographer in the background, to capture this once-in-a-lifetime moment) in a quiet, romantic atmosphere.

You’re free to let go – to hug, to cry. And you don’t have to do it in front of everyone.
Here, you can keep your rawest emotions and your tears just to yourselves.

Still, if you’re afraid that you’ll miss that “epic moment” down the aisle, I’d honestly say that – regardless of having a first look – most of my couples STILL got choked up during their ceremony.

3. Breathtaking wedding photography in any season

First looks happen early in the day – or at least earlier than the “wedding ceremony”.

Now, guess what that means for your wedding photos?

It means that you can have some – or maybe even most – of your wedding portraits taken at your first look, while you’re still fresh and the sun is high.

While this can always be a good idea, it’s even more important at times when the sun sets earlier (such as non-daylight savings time or during the winter), since you’ll have a lot of light for your photos – allowing you to have a later ceremony and more time to celebrate with your guests.

This makes having a first look ideal for weddings in non-daylight savings time or in the winter, since it gives you a chance to take full advantage of the soft, natural lighting for your photos – before it all starts to fade.

Just imagine your faces flooded with warm, natural light as you hold each other close in your arms.
Your hearts pounding with excitement & anticipation as you get lost in each other’s gaze
– a soft kiss, a smile, a tear.

4. More time: with your wedding guests and for your photographer

If you’ve managed to shoot your first look and portraits before the ceremony, you’ll have a ton of time left to focus on your friends & fam later on. I mean, you’ll already have the majority of your formal photos taken – so, there’ll be no reason for you to scramble for photos anymore.

Instead, you can ease up and relax after your actual ceremony, knowing my camera is already loaded with your memories.
You’ll get to spend more time with your guests – and each other – without having to worry about taking photos.

So, feel free to soak up all the feels of your magical day. Have a few light-hearted moments with your guests during cocktail hour. Go grab some food – and maybe a drink or two – and embrace every second of your reception. But whatever you do, just make sure you have an absolute blast at your wedding party.

And sure: you still might want to do family portraits and bridal party photos during cocktail hour. But since we’ll already have your portraits, we’ll have all the time in the world for everything else. And this, in turn, will not only lead to a more comfortable & easygoing experience for both you and your guests – but all that extra time will ultimately lead to better wedding photos too.

As a huge bonus, your wedding photographer will also have a lot less on their plate. So, they can roam around freely, hunting for all the candid moments of your wedding.

Because even though you’ll already have most of your formal photos done, they’ll still be there in the background, snapping away to capture every single goofy, emotional, or authentic unstaged moment.

Ultimately what I’m trying to get at is that if you want to experience all the special and memorable moments of your wedding – and still get every single beautiful photo of your most cherished memories, without “rushing it” – then a first look might be the best way to make that happen!

First Look at Stones of the Yarra Valley

5. A first look on your wedding day can ease your nerves

Are you the nervous type?

Well – just in case you were planning to down half a bottle of champagne before your ceremony – I’m here to tell you that having a first look can easily save the day!

Imagine being with the love of your life on your big day. Holding hands, embracing each other, and gazing into each other’s soul with eyes full of love. Nobody’s running away. After all, you’re both in the right place at the right time…

As a wedding photographer, I’ve seen many couples lose their jitters during their pre-wedding romantic meeting. They helped each other relax by tuning in to each other before the ceremony even began. And this, in turn, made everything else easier, more enjoyable, more memorable – and just better – for both the bride and the groom.

So if you already know you’re going to be tense, or if you’re just afraid that your nerves will turn your entire day into a huge blur – then why not do a first look to lose the nerves?

And there you have it: my top 5 reasons to have a first look at your elopement or wedding. First looks just make everything – and I really mean: everything – run smoother for everyone: you, your guests, and even your photographer. But don’t listen to me – heck, don’t listen to anyone. It’s your fairytale we’re talking about, so feel free to do whatever makes your hearts sing.

And if you want a wedding photographer who will not only give you the most heartfelt photos of the beautiful day your “happily ever after” began – but will also give you unconditional support in bringing your vision to life – then we need to talk.

Feel free to get in touch to have a quick chat.
After all, I just might be the wedding photographer you’ve been looking for…