To "First Look" or "Not to First Look".. That is The Question?

A friend:  “Are you and your fiancé doing a “first look” at your wedding?”You: “No way!  I want the doors to open and him to see me for the first time as I’m walking down the aisle and think I look amazing, like a queen!”

If you’ve found yourself having this exact conversation, or day dreaming of the moment your fiancé sees you for the first time as you’re walking down the aisle towards him, please allow me to sit you down for a moment and tell you why you may want to reconsider!  … Brace yourself…  We’re breaking tradition here ladies!

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So, what are the pros and cons to having a first look?!  Well, let’s start with the aspect of modern wedding photography and how it plays into the “first look”!  Back when the tradition of waiting to see your fiancé at the ceremony was created, wedding photography consisted of the bride and groom having one or two posed photos, typically standing at the front of the church after the ceremony!  That was it for posed photos of the bride and groom!  Don’t believe me, ask your parents to see their wedding photos!  Now wedding photography is more creative and photographers will sometimes even drive the bride and groom to another location off site and spend 30 minutes to an hour, capturing photos of the two of them together in the perfect sunlight with the perfect backdrop!  All of those gorgeous photos you’ve been pinning on pinterest take time to create!

My good friend Holly said it best when she said, “We waited until walking down the aisle… but wedding photographers are so much better now than 14 ½ years ago!

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Now let’s talk about how many guests you’ll have?!   100? 150? 200?  And when’s the last time you saw some of them?  A year ago?  5 years ago?  10 years ago?  I’ll bet you’re excited about getting some good quality time in with them during the cocktail hour and reception, right?!  Well, without a first look, you’ll be busy doing photos with your entire bridal party together, family photos, and all of those gorgeous posed “pinterest inspired” photos you’re dying to have of you and your new hubby!  Hate to say it, but you may not make it to your reception for an hour or two while you get all of those photos in post ceremony!   However, if you opt for a “first look”, you’ll be able to do all of those gorgeous photos of you and your fiance together, as well as ALL of your bridal party shots and even some family shots before the ceremony, leaving those last couple family shots for after the ceremony!  To think, you could make it to your cocktail hour 10 or 15 minutes after your ceremony!  Amazing, right?!

My friend Dana said, “Back when I got married in 2007, I don’t think “First Looks” were “a thing” yet!  Looking back, I wish we had seen each other beforehand and had more time for portraits together.  Our reception seemed so short, so it would’ve been nice to enjoy cocktail hour with our guests!

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One of my favorite parts of my own wedding was Aaron and I’s “first look”!   He turned around when I was 10 or 15 feet away from him and seeing his reaction as I walked towards him was the most amazing look I’d ever seen him give me!  It didn’t matter that I wasn’t walking down an aisle… He was seeing me all dolled up in a wedding dress!  That’d make any fiancé beam with pride and excitement!   No one else was around (except our photographer of course) and I was completely focused on him and him on me!   We had the most authentic, intentional, and sweet moments together for about 5 minutes!  He told me how beautiful I looked and how excited he was for me to be his wife, and I hugged and kissed him over and over again, telling him how lucky I was to be able to call him my husband!    We were ALONE, just him and I, and I couldn’t have been more happy to have had that time to re-focus ourselves and our minds on what the day was all about – US starting our life together!

My best friend Sarah said, “We did a first look and it was the sweetest, most special moment of the entire day!!!!!”

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The ceremony was JUST AS SPECIAL, if not more, because we had already connected and had had time to calm our nerves!  While you’d think that the first look would ruin the excitement of him seeing you walking down the aisle towards him, let me remind you, he’s still seeing his future wife, the woman he loves, walking down an aisle in a wedding dress, to marry him!  He’ll be just as excited and may even shed a tear or two like my Aaron!

My friend Susie said, “We waited, but I specifically asked our photographer to get my husband’s face when he got a first look at me!  It’s my favorite pic!”  --- Just think Susie, your photographer could have had 2 chances to get that look on his face, one at the “first look” and again at the ceremony!

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So, there you go… what do you think ladies?  Have we changed your mind? To “First Look” or not to “First Look”?

A huge thank you to our friends at Aaron Nicholas Photography for this fabulous post! We absolutely love a first look for more reasons than one, don't you agree?