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Should You Have a First Look on Your Wedding Day?

Aug 16, 2017

should you have first look on your wedding day

Should You Have a First Look on Your Wedding Day?

Should you have a first look on your wedding day? This is a frequent question voiced by most of our couples and we love helping couples make a decision that they are truly comfortable with.

Having a first look with Caleb on our wedding day is my favorite and fondest memory of our entire wedding day. During our first look we also exchanged our vows. I’ve never seen Caleb cry, laugh, and love me so intently. I will carry those memories in my head for as long as I live.

Some couples prefer to hold to traditions, and not see one another until the ceremony. Other couples may find that those particular traditions are unimportant to them, and they would prefer to have a first look.

When making your own decision about whether or not to have a first look on your wedding day, feel free to consider…

Reasons to Have a First Look on Your Wedding Day

  • You really want those photos + moments. Everyone has seen photographs of first looks. They are romantic, they are adorable, and they bring tears to your eyes. Wanting these photos is a perfectly valid reason to do a first look. Having a first look can be an emotionally moving moment and give you and your fiancé a chance to relax. Words cannot describe the value of having a few minutes to admire one another privately before the ceremony. It can help you feel more grounded, closer, and more in love. It can help calm your nerves because you won’t feel as “on display” while standing at the front of the room or walking down the aisle.
  • The tradition doesn’t matter to you. Many couples follow the tradition to not see each other before the ceremony, but …. Do you even know why?? Whelp, in the past, when arranged marriages were the norm, the bride and groom were kept apart until the ceremony and the bride’s veil was not lifted until the initial kiss because the family was concerned the groom might back out if the bride was not as pretty as he expected.
  • Your wedding is being held in the evening in the fall or winter. In this scenario, having a first look will enable you to get your bridal portraits and family formal photos photos while there is still sufficient lighting for great photographs. Taking these photos after the ceremony will require us to use flashes which produce an entirely different look for your images.
  • It makes your timeline run more smoothly. If you would prefer to go straight from your ceremony to celebrating with your guests, then do the first look, wedding party portraits, and even some family photos before the ceremony. That way you can enjoy cocktail hour, mingle with guests, sneak away at sunset with your bride/groom for more photos, and then get back to your guests.

Reasons to Not Have a First Look on Your Wedding Day

  • It makes you feel rushed. If your wedding ceremony is in the morning or early afternoon or you’d have to get up at three in the morning in order to have a first look, then maybe you should skip it.
  • You want to honor the tradition. This can be really exciting and fun for some couples. If you’re one of them, and you want to feel that excitement and anticipation building up before you walk into the ceremony, then don’t you dare do that first look!
  • You want your look to be pristine. First look photos typically tend to mean going outside to some gorgeous location, which means dragging your dress through the elements and maybe subjecting your hair to the wind and your body to heat and sweat. If you would rather walk into your ceremony as flawless as you’ve looked all day, then a first look may not be for you.

Ultimately, this decision is left entirely up to the couple. There is a lot to think about, but you likely know in your heart whether or not you want to have a first look. The timeline is extremely important to consider, but ultimately the wedding day is yours and we are happy to accommodate to you wishes!

Marie + Derek exchanged their vows to each other during their first look and then did an abbreviated version during their ceremony:
first look wedding day
Monique & Tony did their first look out in the gardens and then met up with their wedding party for photos inside the conservatory:
first look for weddingfirst look for weddingfirst look for weddingfirst look for weddingJosh teared up when Kaylee walked down the isle even after they did a first look:

The Landing 1841 Wedding

Annie + Jim wrote each other letters and shared them during their first look: wedding photography

Planning YOUR Wedding?? You may enjoy: Why You Should Hire a Professional Makeup Artist


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  1. […] Planning YOUR wedding? You may be interested in: Should You Have a First Look on Your Wedding? […]

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ren + caleb lenhof of studio 29 photography | best wisconsin Family photographer