To Look or Not to Look | Pros + Cons of a Wedding First Look

April 29, 2021

As a wedding photographer, you’d probably assume I feel strongly one way or another about doing a first look. But here’s the thing: it’s YOUR big day. So, the only thing I’ll encourage you to do is have fun and cherish every moment of your sweet day. 

Don’t worry about the logistics or when you’ll have time for photos. I will make it work! As long as we know up front what we’re working with, I can get gorgeous photos no matter what you decide to do (without skimping on any of the must-have shots). 

And trust me, you can get those heart melting man tears either way! When you love each other that much, it doesn’t matter if you see each other privately or across the aisle in front of your friends and family. The reaction will be just as sweet!  

Some couples prefer keep it traditional and wait until ceremony time to see each other while others prefer to have a private moment to themselves before it all begins. You do you! However, if you’re still not sure and are weighing your options (any pro/con list lovers out there?), this post it for you! 

First Look Pros

These are the top 3 reasons couples decide to do a first look:

Dawn Marie Photography
First Look
First Look

1. Ease the Nerves

Maybe you’re a bit shy; or, maybe one of you hates the idea of getting emotional in front of groups of people. A first look is a great way to have a moment together without the pressure. You are free to respond however you want without onlookers gazing in at you. Plus, your other half and best friend probably knows just what to say and when to give that reassuring touch you need on your big day. First look photos are always so romantic!

First Look
First Look
First Look
First Look
First Look
First Look

2. Lighting

If you’re getting married as sunset and want outdoor couple’s photos, a first look makes it a bit easier to get those in since it will be dark once the ceremony is over. After your first look, we can go ahead and take all of those scenic couple’s portraits outside while we still have great lighting. 

First Look
First Look
First Look
First Look

3. Get the Party Started!

Some couples don’t want to miss a single moment and would rather enjoy the full cocktail hour with your guests. A first look cuts out most of the post-ceremony photos since you can take the wedding party and family portraits ahead of time. So, go ahead, exchange the rings, kiss the bride, and grab a drink with friends! Cheers! 

First Look
First Look
First Look
First Look
First Look
First Look
First Look

First Look Cons

You don’t need anyone to tell you that it’s ok to keep it traditional; however, here are the top 3 reasons couples forego the first look:

Dawn Marie wedding photography
Dawn Marie wedding photography
Dawn Marie wedding photography
Dawn Marie wedding photography
Dawn Marie wedding photography

1. A First Look Adds Time before the Ceremony 

A first look could potentially add to your photography time (i.e., you’ll need to add this into your wedding package, especially if you want photos of the exit and sendoff, too). 

In addition, if you’re doing an earlier wedding, it may be tricky to get everyone ready, do the first look, and get all of the photos in before the ceremony. If you know that time may be an issue, a first look may not be the best option for you.

Dawn Marie wedding photography
Dawn Marie wedding photography
Dawn Marie wedding photography
Dawn Marie wedding photography

2. You Love Tradition

Maybe you’ve always dreamt of that traditional first look across the aisle shot. Then do it! I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Dawn Marie wedding photography
Dawn Marie wedding photography
Dawn Marie wedding photography

3. Catch the Golden Hour

If you prefer your couple’s portraits to have that warm sunset glow, you may want to wait and do them after the ceremony (although we can always do both if you decide to do a first look). 

Dawn Marie wedding photography
Dawn Marie wedding photography
Dawn Marie wedding photography
Dawn Marie wedding photography
Dawn Marie wedding photography
Dawn Marie wedding photography

First Look Alternatives

Love the idea of a first look but want to hold tight to tradition? I’ve got options for you, too! Try one of these memorable alternatives instead:

1. First look with the bridal party or a family member.

First Look with Dad
First Look with Dad
First Look with Dad
First Look with Dad
First Look with Dad
First Look with Dad

2. First touch where you hold hands around a door — but don’t peek!

3. Read letters from each other before the ceremony.

Dawn Marie Photography
Dawn Marie Photography

Book Your Wedding with Dawn Marie Photography

Get to know Dawn here, and get in touch today to book your engagement session or wedding. Plus, check out more recent sessions in the Portfolio!

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