Despite having been around for a long time now, first looks are still pretty controversial. Many couples are unsure if they should do one. For those wondering, a first look is when the couple sees each other for the first time at their wedding. Nowadays, many couples are opting to do this before the ceremony, so they can see each other early and capture that emotional moment. Some are still opting for their first look to be at the ceremony though. So, should you do a first look? The answer is it depends.
Pros of a First Look
Overall, a first look is an opportunity to have that intimate alone time with your partner before the wedding craziness really starts.
Gives you a quiet moment together before the ceremony
Your wedding day goes by so fast. Having those intimate moments together before the ceremony is a great way to connect and enjoy each other before everyone else enters the picture. You can even do something special for just the two of you like read letters you wrote to each other or exchange gifts away from everyone else. If you have personal vows that you don’t want to share with the world, you can do them then.
Helps with the nerves
If you’re really nervous about walking down the aisle or standing in front of everyone at a ceremony, seeing your partner ahead of time can help mitigate that. Spending some time with your partner might make you calmer. A first look often gets out all of those pre-wedding ceremony nerves.
Allows you time for portraits
There’s no denying that your first look is an emotional event, and you might want to capture that. But beyond that, if you do a first look, you’ll have more time for portraits before the ceremony. This takes some pressure off cocktail hour and gives you more time together. If you want to actually attend and enjoy cocktail hour, a first look can help with that too.
Cons to a First Look
These are the things that might make a first look not worth it for you.
You have to be ready earlier
Because you’re setting some time aside earlier in the day and allowing time for portraits, it means you need to be ready earlier. You might need to move up your hair and makeup, and you’ll be in your wedding day outfit sooner. Since your day is already starting so early, this might not appeal to you. If you don’t do a first look, your starting time is later because you don’t need to be photo-ready so soon.
Lighting might not be good for photos
Since you’re meeting earlier in the day, it might make things a little trickier for your photographer and videographer. Harsh light isn’t actually good for photos. So, you may end up taking a few photos together later in the day too. (But honestly, who doesn’t want those gorgeous sunset photos regardless?)
You might just want a ceremony first look
If you or your partner really wants that first look to be at the ceremony, that’s a valid reason not to do one earlier. Do whatever is important to do and what feels right.
First look alternative
One alternative to a first look that’s gaining steam is a “first touch.” Couples stand on either side of a corner or meet back to back. They’re able to hold hands and talk to each other, but they don’t actually see each other. If you’re unsure if you want to see each other before the ceremony, this might be a great option for you.
Whether or not you do a first look is a personal decision. Don’t let anyone pressure you either way. Go with your feelings.
What are you thinking? Are you going to do a first look or first touch?
Erin Lafond is a blogger with ample experience writing about weddings. She planned her own wedding and got married in October 2019. She lives in New Hampshire and loves a casual wedding with luxury details.