I'm Mallory, a wedding planner based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Traveling throughout Richmond, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. With a passion for weddings and an eye for details, I help create a personalized and seamless experience for you and your guests.
Having a first look on your wedding day is a modern tradition and is becoming more and more popular. This intimate moment for the bride and groom to see each other before the wedding ceremony versus seeing each other walking down the aisle for the first time has become a bit of a hot topic.
With a traditional timeline, it can feel like you are jumping from ceremony to photos to your reception. Having a first look can allow you to get photos done earlier and allow for more of a relaxed transition from ceremony to reception. With that being said, most couples know in their heart what is right for them. We never try to push a couple one way or another when it comes to a first look. We give them all the pros and cons and help them decide what is most important to them and go from there. So let’s dive into those pros and cons!
It is such a sweet moment when a couple sees each other for the first time on their wedding day. It’s very candid as you are so focused on one another and you can completely let your guard down. This makes for amazing photos and a memory you can cherish forever.
Getting a chance to see your person, one on one, can calm any nerves you may have before the ceremony.
You’ll be able to get more photos done pre-ceremony, allowing you more time together with your guests at cocktail hour. If you are having a late fall or winter wedding, having a first look before the ceremony gives your photographer more daylight hours before the ceremony. This allows them to get natural light photographs.
Having a first look allows couples a moment together before the chaos of the day really begins. Couples often find very few minutes to step away and really take in their day. Weddings are busy, and family and friends are there and everyone wants to celebrate with the bride and groom. First looks provide that chance to connect and relish in the day before being surrounded.
To make sure you have time to get photos in before the ceremony, we will need to be done with hair and makeup earlier. This may interfere with how you wanted your morning to look within your timeline.
If you truly believe that seeing each other beforehand is bad luck and may jinx your marriage, I would not suggest it! I definitely don’t want you to look back after you have your first big married argument and think, “We shouldn’t have seen each other before the wedding!”
If your timeline for the day is really tight and there isn’t time to see each other before the ceremony, I wouldn’t recommend forcing it. There’s already so much packed into this day, you don’t want to cause any additional stress.
With your photographer and videographer documenting you, you might feel a little staged and uncomfortable in what is supposed to be a candid moment. This can also add pressure to react a certain way, knowing that this moment is being captured. If this is something you are worried about, you might feel less self-conscious when in action during the ceremony, and that’s okay!
If you’re torn between yes and no, you can opt for a first touch instead. This is where we are able to position the bride and groom so they can’t see each other, but are able to hold hands and share a moment before the ceremony. You can also exchange letters or gifts. There are a few ways to have a special moment before the ceremony that isn’t an official first look!
I love how the idea of a first look has been stretched to more than just the bride and groom. We’ve had grooms have a first look with his sisters and brides having first looks with their dads or wedding parties. There are lots of combinations that would make for great moments.
For my wedding, my husband had this idea of me walking down the aisle to a special song. His heart was set on seeing me then, not ahead of time. I’m so glad we did it that way and I have no regrets! As a wedding planner, I’m Team First Look, but there’s no right or wrong choice. Whatever you and your partner decide is completely up to you!