Top 3 Reasons to Have a First Look on Your Wedding Day

You’re planning your wedding and it’s likely that you have heard of couples opting for a “First Look” and photos together before the guests arrive. This isn’t a new trend and I believe that it’s just how weddings are evolving in order to make way for new traditions. The idea of the bride hiding herself from her groom before the ceremony is such an antiquated tradition.

But where does this tradition come from?

Ok, so back in the day, there were arranged marriages, it was more of a business transaction between families than it was a matchmaking. It was customary for the couple to spend the morning of the wedding apart, but wasn’t uncommon (and often expected) for them to never have met at all in the first place.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that your parents didn’t buy your fiance’s love and that this isn’t an arranged marriage! Ok then, why not consider ditching this tradition? Plus, who believes wedding day superstitions anyway? * carefully considers whether her marriage is doomed because she didn’t wear something blue .*

Ahem.

In all seriousness though, there are a number of reasons for couples opting for a first look. I will give you the top three reasons why I wish every single wedding that I photograph included a first look.

Full disclosure: I am a wedding photographer, so this post may be a tad biased towards making photography a priority on your big day, but that is only because I want to capture the most important day in your relationship in the most beautiful and authentic way possible. I also want you to receive all the photos that you always dreamed about. Oh, and I’m all about laid back, stress-free wedding days. Of course, if you are all about traditions and believe in wedding day superstitions, I can respect that. I am not here to tell you how to believe or pressure you into something you don’t want on your wedding day. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you all the wonderful reasons you should consider it though. Right?!? In the paragraphs that follow, I will make the case for a first look, and in the end, you will choose whether you believe it is right for you on your big day. Because ultimately, your wedding day is about YOU!

Ready? Ok, here we go!

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#1 Ditch The Wedding Day Jitters

“Cold feet”, “nerves”, “jitters” call it whatever you want, but every single person I know gets nervous on wedding day. Perhaps it’s the thought of being with one person for the rest of their lives, or maybe it’s the fact that they are about to stand in front of a large group of people and vow their love to their person, but no matter the reason, even the most laid back couples get jittery as their ceremony approaches.

It is common for my couples to mention that they were really nervous but after the first look they were relieved and ready to get on with their day. This can be especially helpful if you or your partner is prone to general anxiety or nervousness. During the first look, all that anxious anticipation melts away and a feeling of joy and excitement is left in its place, once you see each other. Honestly, it’s the most magical moment of the day, every single time.

Brides, I know you may be fretting about the fact that you have been dreaming of that “walking down the aisle” moment your entire life. You may be wondering if seeing each other before the ceremony will make that moment less special. My educated answer is “no”. I have witnessed so many authentically emotional moments from the groom even after a first look. I promise that the enchantment is not lost because he’s already seen you. In fact, because you have gotten past all the anxiety, it is more likely that he will be able to feel all the emotions more strongly. and here’s a secret- now that he’s seen you, he’s likely even more excited to marry you! I have seen all the beautiful tearful moments happen during the ceremony, even after the first look. And here’s the thing, we get to capture the moment twice because you’ve already experienced all the feels once before, during your first look. I mean, who doesn’t love a good BOGO deal?

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#2 Intimate Moments Spent Alone

The first look is as intimate as it gets. You have spent so much time planning this day to be magical for both of you. Don’t you think that spending some time alone with the person you are about to marry sounds like a dream? Trust me, the time passes quickly on your wedding day. You’re going to be surrounded by tons of people all day, with little time to spend alone together. Before you know it, it’s time to cut the cake and you’ve barely said two words to your better half. If your love language is quality time and/or you want to spend an intimate moment with the one you love, on your big day, a first look is definitely for you!

Along the same lines of time spent alone, you won’t spend the majority of the day hiding from your future spouse. Truth: I have actually helped hide a bride behind a tree stump while she was on her way to the restroom (we were out in the boondocks) in order to keep her hidden from the groom. It all sounds a bit crazy when you stop to really think about it. Instead of spending the majority of your time trying to hide from each other, you could be spending magical moments together and with your family and friends (who by the way, came from far and wide to celebrate your day with and celebrate you). You could spend more time reveling in the fact that this is your wedding day instead of trying to escape your better half’s gaze. You will be able to relax and enjoy every single moment together.

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#3 You’ll get MORE photos

And lastly, but absolutely not least, Weddings are excessively expensive and I know that hiring a wedding photographer is a huge investment (and if I’m blessed enough to be offered the opportunity to photograph your wedding, I know that you value your photos). Guys, there is really no better way to say this, so here it is: scheduling a First Look into your wedding day is the best way to capitalize on your investment. It’s that simple. There will be so many more portraits of just you and the love of your life. You are going to value and love all the photos of your wedding day, but the ones that will end up printed and hanging on your walls forever, will be the ones of the two of you alone together. These are the photos that you will end up showing off to your children and they may even share with their children someday. What could be better than MORE photos of the two of you together?

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I hope that this post is helpful to any couples who have been vacillating between having a first look or not. I am obviously 100% in if you choose to have one. On the other hand, I respect that it is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. We all value different things when it comes to weddings. Your wedding should encompass all of your values and be everything you have dreamt it will be.

I will leave you with this one last piece of advise; sit down with your fiance and talk about it- go over the pros and cons of both, think hard about your wedding day and what you value most. and of course, talk to your photographer (if that happens to be me, I’m stoked!) . Ask them all the questions so that you can make a solid decision about what is right for you and your day.

Ok there it is ya’ll!

Now I’d love to hear your thoughts? Was this helpful to you? Do you understand The First Look a bit better after having read my thoughts? if you are a past bride whom chose a first look, would you agree with any of this? If you know a current bride or groom to be and you think this would be helpful to them, please, by all means, share!


Chelsi is a destination wedding  and portrait photographer based in Fort Bragg, California. She loves to travel and will go anywhere to capture your life's sweet moments. She lives for seeing the world, capturing authentic love, and making people feel fabulous. Her style is authentic, real, and emotional. She believes in laughing too much, singing too loud, and most importantly living life to the fullest and prefers capturing every single authentic beautiful moment that evoke emotion over perfectly posed photos.