One of today's biggest wedding trends are first looks. You know, where the bride sneaks up behind the groom and he turns around to see her all done up for their wedding day before anyone else gets the chance to. They make for the most intimate, heart-warming photos, filled with intense amounts of love and happiness. I mean, just look at how much emotion is pouring out of the bride and groom pictured above! Day made.
And yes, you read that right. Couples all over are going against the traditional notion that the groom can't see the bride before she comes down the aisle. However, there are still many couples who want to save seeing each other for the first time for the ceremony. It's LITERALLY the moment that has been playing over and over in their heads ever since they were little.
If you're a bride-to-be, I bet you've been debating back and forth for WEEKS now asking yourself if a first look is worth it, or if you would rather follow tradition and save the surprise of seeing your fiancé for the altar. To help you get closer to making the decision that's right for you and your fiance, I have provided some pros and cons to doing a first look below. I hope it helps! And please comment below if there are some points that I did not cover, I would be more than happy to provide additional insight for you!
Pro: Get your planned photos out of the way before the ceremony
It’s not uncommon for the wedding party and immediate family members to miss out on 1-2 hours of the wedding reception because they are off taking photos. By doing a first look earlier in the day, brides and grooms typically follow that up with couple portraits, then wedding party and family photos (since all include both the bride and groom!). That way, once the wedding ceremony ends, they have nowhere to report to but the bar and the dance floor! (Click here for help on how to organize your wedding day)
Another plus regarding time efficiency: the photographer will have more time to take even more amazing images of the candid moments of your wedding reception, such as you embracing your guests, or capturing detail photos of your reception decor.
Con: You will have to start getting ready much earlier on your wedding day
Since a first look means taking photos before the ceremony begins, that means your hair and makeup will need to be completely finished much earlier on in the day. By deciding not to do a first look, that means you and your bridal party can sleep in and start your wedding day grooming more mid-day.
On the other hand...if you don't mind an early morning pampering, you can utilize the time before the ceremony to take wedding party pictures (i.e. bride with her bridesmaids, groom with his groomsmen) and then just do photos of the whole party together after the ceremony.
Pro: The first look helps to get some nervousness out of the way
First looks typically are shared between the bride, groom, and their wedding photographer(s)/videographer(s). Brides have mentioned that they loved it because it was such an honest and raw moment shared between them and their fiance without the pressure and anxiety of being observed by hundreds of guests.
Also...sometimes, intimate moments mean random and uncontrollable happy-crying. Not saying that your actual wedding ceremony won’t feature its fair share of escape tears! But by seeing each other in advance, you may be reducing experiencing those moments in public by at least one.
Con: A first look may make the moment of walking down the aisle less exciting
To some couples, saving the moment of first seeing each other for the ceremony is something that both of them have been anticipating for forever! The bride appearing at the end of the aisle looking as beautiful as ever...the groom brushing away a tear and standing up even taller with an uncontrollable grin because he realizes he's the luckiest guy in the world...It allows them to share that meaningful moment with all of their guests as witnesses. Plus, by saving wedding portraits for after the ceremony, it gives the bride and groom the opportunity to both be wearing their wedding bands in the photos (if you do a first look, the groom won't have his wedding band on and neither will you)!
Pro: Enjoy a private moment alone together
While your wedding is an occasion intended to be shared with close friends and family, some also cherish the quiet moments alone with their fiance. By not doing a first look, there is not really another wide-open opportunity during your wedding day to be alone together and reflect. Think about it, you will both get ready in separate places then see each other for the first time in a room full of hundreds of people, only for that to be followed by an hour plus of rushing to take photos so you can make it back to the reception to make the most out of the time you have with all of your guests. Without a first look, the first opportunity to be truly alone together on your wedding day may be when you get home post-reception.
A first look allows you both to spend a quiet moment together just taking it all in. It gives you a break from the whirlwind of events happening that day, and makes for the perfect time to exchange special gifts, private readings of letters meant for each other, or just time to enjoy with one another!
Con: It may put a lot of pressure on the groom
One of the big draws of first looks is capturing the groom's initial reaction of how his bride looks. I know we all love those first look photos where the groom is crying or has the biggest grin of excitement and awe on his face, but sometimes grooms are more reserved with their emotion. By asking your fiance if he wants to do a first look, some grooms may feel uncomfortable with so much attention and expectation being placed on him to react in a certain way.
Keep in mind that by committing to a first look doesn't mean that it has to be photographed. If you still want to share an intimate moment together before the ceremony, but your fiance isn't comfortable with being photographed during such a personal moment, ditch the idea of having that time together being captured! You should both feel comfortable on your wedding day.