The Pros and Cons of Having a First Look at Your Wedding

One thing’s for sure when it comes to your wedding day—the moment you see your significant other for the first time, all dressed up for the occasion, is bound to be a memorable one. Some couples are choosing this moment to happen before they walk down the aisle, while others are sticking with the more traditional route and waiting until the ceremony to see each other. There’s no right or wrong choice, but if you’re on the fence, here are a few pros and cons to having one. 

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PROS

Take all your photos before the ceremony
Having a first look allows you to get most of the portraits  out of the way before tying the knot. That way, after the ceremony, you can enjoy your cocktail hour, mingle with guests, or even eat dinner before the reception! Couples who wait until after the ceremony may miss out on parts of their own wedding or visiting with their guests, especially if the reception immediately follows. 

You’ll feel less rushed
Wedding photos with your fiancé(e), wedding party and family will take up more time than you think (and with good reason). Your photographer will want to make sure you have a variety of  perfect images to choose from, so you should allow anywhere from 1.5 – 2 hours for pictures. Trying to fit all of that in during a short cocktail hour can  cause stress, which is the exact opposite of how you want to feel on your big day. Trust me, your tense emotions will show in the pictures. After the ceremony you can spend some time reflecting on the fact that you just got married instead of rushing to get photos taken. 

You’ll feel more relaxed and attentive during your vows
Sure, I can understand thinking that seeing each other before the ceremony will take all the excitement out of the walk down the aisle, but in reality, it will still be just as thrilling. You’re walking down the aisle to get married! How can that moment ever lose its magic? The only difference is that the “first-time” jitters will be out of your system. Your mind will be clear and you can focus on the most important part of the day. 

It’s a more intimate moment
When you walk down the aisle, it’s not just your significant other that will be seeing you for the first time all glammed up, all of your guests will be as well. Obviously, you want them to be a part of your special day, but the feeling of seeing each other with hundreds of eyes on you can make the whole thing feel more like a spectacle rather than an intimate moment. A first look lets you enjoy the raw and organic emotions with one another before everyone else gets to see you. You may even feel more comfortable letting your emotions out, since 100 people aren’t all watching you.  Plus, their opinion and reaction is the only one that matters. 

It makes for some creative & emotional photos
There are so many fun options for seeing each other for the first time. You can walk up behind your S.O., stand back to back, hold hands on opposite sides of a door, cover their eyes from behind—the options are endless! I’ve got some great innovative ideas for your first look, just ask!

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CONS

The photos aren’t as authentic
Staging a moment to see each other for the first time isn’t going to feel as natural, bottom line. When you appear at the other end of the aisle, your reaction is going to be pure and raw. Something that’s planned could influence you to react (or not react) a certain way for the camera, instead of showing your truest emotions. When you hear the music, see the guests rise to their feet, and see your fiancé(e) waiting for you, there’s no hiding how you really feel. 

It may lessen the importance of walking down the aisle
Walking down the aisle is a staple moment of anyone’s wedding day. It’s often something people picture when they find the outfit of their dreams, “I can see myself walking down the aisle in this”, it’s the moment you share with your parent(s), and the anticipation of finally exchanging vows is at an all-time high. Seeing each other before all of these emotions happen can make the whole thing feel a little less emotional. 

You’ll have to be ready much earlier in the day
Since you’ll want to get all of your wedding photos out of the way before the ceremony, you’ll need to push up your wedding day timeline a bit. You’ll all need to be ready hours before your walk down the aisle, which, depending on your ceremony time, could be tough the night after your rehearsal dinner. Skipping a first look allows for a little extra shuteye. 

Your wedding day attire might get dirty
If you’re taking pictures with your S.O., family and friends outside, you run the risk of getting your dress or suit dirty before you even exchange vows. Skipping a first look mitigates any unnecessary stress and you can wait until the last possible minute before getting dressed! 

You’ll really be married when you take the photos
Think about it, these pictures will be sitting in frames around your home for the rest of your lives. Would it be weird to think that in them you’re not technically married yet? The authentic joy you feel after exchanging vows is absolutely something that warrants taking pictures. There are plenty of ways to schedule your wedding day so that you don’t feel rushed during the photo session, but there’s no way of substituting that “just married” feeling that’s sure to radiate in every photo captured. 

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