Pros & cons of a wedding first look

The famous “first look” that all couples are talking about right now!! I’ll be sharing the pros and cons that we took into consideration when planning our wedding and why we made the decision to go ahead with a first look.

If we go way back to when weddings were arranged… It used to be a tradition that the couples weren’t allowed to see each other at all so the groom wouldn’t change his mind. It then became a tradition for the couple to spend the night before the wedding apart and not see each other until the bride walks down the aisle. There’s also the superstition that it’s bad luck to see your fiance before the ceremony.

From the beginning we we’re both pushing towards doing a first look, I was probably more resistant just because it wasn’t as traditional. When we took the decision to have a “big” wedding, that’s when we chose to have that private moment between the two of us. Here are the things we took into consideration when making our decision.


A private moment between the two of you – I think this was the biggest factor that made us have a first look. As we we’re having over 100 friends and family coming to celebrate with us we wanted to have that one special moment where it was just the two of us. Your day will be one happy blur and the next thing you know, it’s over. It’s important to take some time to enjoy and remember what this day actually means to you.

Give each other a card or gift – While it’s just the two of you it’s a great time to give your soon to be hubby/wifey a note or card. You could also take this moment to read your vows in private. If your other half is not a fan of having to say long vows in front of all your guests, saying them during your first look might be a way to make that moment stress free.

Get a start on pictures – A first look makes the best candid photos. We had 2 photographers and 2 videographers hidden in the woods where neither of us could really see them and they managed to capture this moment without a problem. Getting some or most of your pictures done before give’s you more time to enjoy the cocktail hour with your guests.

Takes the pressure off – If you’re the type of person who stresses about being in front of people or even just the normal stress that comes with planning the perfect day then the first look can relieve some of that pressure. You get to take in seeing your fiance all dressed up and you can let your emotions show without being scared of the reaction people might have.


It’s not tradition – If you’re having a traditional wedding or your family is more conservative then it might be best to keep it simple and do it the way it’s always been done.

Guests feel like they’re missing out – It’s nice to include your guests on the emotions. It’s such a sweet moment when you both see each other for the first time so why not share it with everyone. A few of our wedding guests did ask why we chose to have that moment privately as they would have loved to be part of it. Like I said before it comes back to it being a tradition and older guests might disagree with a first look.

Time-consuming – Doing a first look means you have to be ready even earlier. Depending on what time your ceremony is, you might have to get up extra early in the morning for all of your wedding party to be ready in time. My ceremony was at 16:00, our first look was an hour before that so that meant my whole bridal party had to be on location for hair and makeup at around 7 am.

First look alternatives

Father and daughter first look- Why not do a first look with your father. Every father dreams of walking his daughter down the aisle so this day can be quite stressful for them as well. Doing a first look with your dad makes for great pictures and a moment you both won’t forget.

Touching or exchanging notes without seeing your fiance – If you want to keep things traditional but still want to exchange a note or even just hold hands before the ceremony then why not have a private moment without a “look”. One of my best friends had a “first look” without seeing her fiance, and I thought that was a great idea. They exchanged a card, got to hear each other’s voice, and get beautiful pictures taken.

Hopefully, these pros and cons can help you make the best decision. Remember its YOUR special day so don’t let the opinion of your friends and family influence your decision. If you want to see more of our wedding photos make sure to read my post about our Canadian cliffside wedding or check out my Pinterest.

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