• {I Do or I Don’t?} First Looks

    I’m so torn.  As a bride, I couldn’t fathom doing a first look, but as a blogger I totally get why it can be such a good idea.  Brides who didn’t do one swear by sticking to tradition, and brides who do don’t regret seeing each other before the ceremony.  Photographers love them.  So who’s right?  Here’s my two cents:

    A first look can serve several purposes, the obvious being that you get more photos out of the way before the ceremony so you have more time after for other photos and mingling with your guests.  It also helps you get over any pre-wedding jitters, major bouts of tears, and lets you get a makeup touch up from those tears.  Plus, the first look makes for some great photos.

    Here is why I didn’t do a first look: Seeing my husband at the end of the aisle for the first time on our wedding day was the absolute best moment of my wedding, maybe of my life (until I had a baby).  Of course I didn’t know that when I made the decision not to do one, but both my husband and I agreed we wanted to wait to see each other.  That anticipation, that seeing each other in front of all of our friends and family and not seeing anyone else but each other in that moment, and that joy was priceless.  Plus, it led to this:

    {I love the look of anticipation as he is seeing me round the corner}
    {queue the tears!}

     Now, I’ve seen a lot of great “first look” emotional shots too.  I think the first time you see each other is going to be emotional, but I love that ours was part of the ceremony.

    Another great idea is to do a no peeking first look, like this couple.

    {photos by Gina Leigh via Bridal Guide. To see Gina’s work featured on this blog, go here}

    Isn’t that such a cute idea!?  Makes for great photos, helps with the jitters and tears, but you still get to wait to actually see each other until the ceremony.  Love it!

    So, what do you think?  Say yes to a first look or wait till the ceremony?  I’d love to hear what you did or plan to do in your wedding or which you like to see best.

    leave a comment.


    1. Posted Feb 1 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      It was really important to my husband that we waited to see eachother until I was walking down the aisle, and since he’d pretty much given me free reign over the rest of the wedding, I had to give him that!:) And I’m so glad I did! We were both so nervous, but the second I walked out of the house I could spy him through the trees and he caught my eye and it was just the most perfect moment EVER!:) p.s. You looked SO beautiful in your wedding dress and I just love the shot of your hubs tearing up! So sweet!:)

    2. Liz Harvey
      Posted Feb 1 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      We too have decided not to do a first look. I cannot wait to see Chris when I walk down the aisle for the first time. I really hope I make him tear up!! He isnt an emotional person by nature, so I hope the built-up anticipation helps create water works!!

      BUT… I am doing a first look with my father. Ive noticed that this is an upcoming trend and I really like it. I am a daddys-girl all the way and I think this will mean a lot to him.

    3. Posted Feb 1 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      It is such a personal choice to do or not to do a first look, as a one I as a videographer encourage couples to do what they feel most comfortable doing.

      All you mention of relieving nerves, great photos is true. Great post! A first look also allows for a moment to have a conversation, exchange gifts, which can’t happen at the alter during your ceremony.

      But whether you do one or not, the first time he sees you walk down the aisle is an impression that will be with him for a lifetime. We have interviewed many older couples approaching 50 years of marriage and the men can always recount that moment when he saw his Bride come down the aisle. Always makes me tear up hearing their stories.

      With that said, seeing each other before the ceremony, really doesn’t take a way from the moment a Groom sees his Bride come down the aisle to commit their lives to one another. It is a priceless moment.

      And first looks for Dads are wonderful too.

    4. Posted Feb 1 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      We are doing a first look! The way I see it, with a first look you get two special moments. The first look moment, and the moment you walk down the aisle will still be special because you’re about to GET MARRIED!!!! I am looking forward to both moments. Plus we are doing the first look so we can go straight to partying with our guests after the ceremony!

    5. Posted Feb 1 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      We are taking photos before the wedding. It’s not about seeing or not seeing each other before the wedding, it’s about having as much time with the people who have traveled to attend our wedding (which is almost everyone) as possible.

    6. Posted Feb 1 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      That is SUCH a cute idea! I love it! We did a first look and I’d do it again in a heart beat. I love that all the emotion we shared was just between us, our own special moment. So much of the day is spent a part, I’m glad we had that intimate time to ourselves.

    7. Posted Feb 1 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Wow! The look on his face when he saw you. In that 2nd picture of your husband he’s saying “that’s my girl”. I’m still contemplating the first look but am swinging more towards that for exactly why you said. Makeup, tears, and more time to mingle and enjoy the day.

    8. J
      Posted Feb 2 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      We’re doing a first look for a few reasons.

      1. I love the idea of seeing each other first time in an intimate environment alone, with just us and our photographer. I think it’ll be a special moment for us to have some time together before we’re swarmed by our loving family and friends.

      2. Our ceremony and reception are at the same place. As much as I love our venue, I’d really like to have some pictures in a different location and trying to leave the site in between the ceremony and cocktail hour would be too hectic.

      3. I still think that moment walking down the aisle will be special. I plan to give him a letter to read after our first look but before the ceremony and I think even though he’ll have seen me in the dress already the magnitude of that moment will still be intense.

    9. Posted Feb 3 at 12:37 am | Permalink

      I LOVE first looks – they are so cute! But I have to say I am not sure what I would actually chose when the decision was for me – I think I would probably stay traditional!

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