First Look or not?

posted 2 years ago in Photos/Videos
  • poll: What to do?
    First look : (47 votes)
    59 %
    Traditional Walk Down the Asile : (33 votes)
    41 %
  • Post # 31
    56 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: October 2017

    I always love hearing the points from both sides whenever this discussion comes up! This has been something I’ve been debating with myself on. My wedding is in late OCtober, and although it’s before Daylight Saving Time, I’m worried about how much sun we will have after the ceremony (ceremony is 5-5:30). Ultimately, I think I’ve decided on not doing a first look for a few reasons:

    1. I know I will cry. And I am not a pretty crier. This may sound superficial, but I don’t want to be worried about messing up my makeup, dress, or anything else because I know the stress of that would distract me from the moment.

    2. My Fiance is pretty go with the flow and said he doesn’t mind either way, but I can’t imagine it would be ideal for him to have the focus be on his reaction to seeing me. I don’t want him to feel like he needs to react a certain way.

    3. There’s something I like about the “mystery” and romance of not seeing each other until the walk down the aisle. 

    4. I recognize that this is purely personal, and I hope no one takes this offensively at all, because that’s not the intention. I’m always somewhat self-conscious about how others will feel about certain ways I do things or details I’ve chosen for my wedding, and I think I’d feel that the walk down the aisle would serve as just pomp and circumstance if we’d already seen each other. It feels like it would be more for a show for the guests, rather than us meeting at the altar. I do NOT feel this way about my many, many friends who chose to do a first look, but knowing myself, I think this would be in the back of my mind, despite how ridiculous it sounds.

    All that to say, I think most of my married friends chose to do a first look, and a few chose not to. I haven’t heard one on either side regret their decision. I think, as PPs have mentioned, it’s all about how you want to flow of the day to go and what you want. If you want to make sure you have plenty of time for pictures, or would just love some extra time to calm your nerves with your groom, I would do a first look. This is the aspect that occasionally pulls me toward doing a first look. If you’ve always envisioned seeing each other first when you walk down the aisle, and that particular moment is important to you, then wait.

    I do not think that a first look is staged or the emotions and pictures aren’t genuine. You’re still seeing each other for the first time. And they’re still pictures from your wedding day–I don’t think it matters whether you’re actually married yet or not in them.

    Post # 32
    343 posts
    Helper bee

    jellybellynelly :  well, I will have some staged photographs. Pictures of me taking a walk with my new husband through a forest – those will be staged photos. If a picture is taken of us standing in the middle of the street kissing – that will be a staged photo.  None of these things would i do on my wedding day if we were not being photographed.

    The dancing at my wedding will hopefully not be staged for the sake of it being photographed. That’s a great example, actually. Let’s say we can have our first dance during the course of the dance party in a reception hall with no natural light – or the photographer suggests we can have a “preview” first dance before the reception starts in some romantic, beautifully lit setting.  

    In both cases we are having our real “first’ dance as man and wife. There is something special about having only the couple and their photog there for it. It can help calm nerves and is a sweet “quasi private” moment. But the “preview” verison of the first dance is an event planned and staged for the sake of good photographs.  It is a photo-op, which has risks and benefits vs something more candid. 

    You can apply this to anything else that happens in a wedding. The moment you change things or do anything really, for the sake of photographs – you have turned that moment into a photo-op. I am not bashing photo-ops – there will be plenty at my wedding. Now that I think about it, the solo first dance might be a photo-op I could go for. The risk of it being an artificial moment is not as big a deal to me. 

    Post # 33
    167 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: April 2018

    “but then I think “but I always pictured walking down the asile and then him seeing me.””

    That right there tells me that you should wait to walk down the aisle and see each other the first time there. If it is what you’ve always imagined, it will feel great to finally get to experience it. Go with your gut.

    Post # 34
    1209 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2017

    I think the one thing I’ve noticed from these boards is that whatever a bride picks, she tends not to have regrets. There are many good reasons for/against doing a first look and each couple knows what’s more important for themselves and what will work the best with how they’d like the day to flow. Just make sure you get a general idea of timeframe and how you’ll have time to get in all of your pictures if you decide against a first look. I scheduled my ceremony time so that I’d have enough time/daylight to get all of my pictures in between ceremony and reception. Good luck bee- I think whatever you choose will be the right decision for you!

    Post # 35
    2826 posts
    Sugar bee

    TeresaBenedicta :  

    In regards to the First Look being chosen just for the photos – I’m doing a “first look” without a photographer. Which maybe isn’t technically a ‘first look’ anymore? I want to have that first moment to ourselves so I can laugh and cry and hug him and talk to him, rather than wait 20 or 30 mins before I can actually talk to him or touch him. 

    The fact that we can then also do a bunch of the OTHER photos before is nice though because then we don’t have to be pulled away from our wedding guests right after the ceremony (and hopefully won’t have cried my makeup off yet). 

    I totally get why people like to do the walk down the aisle thing, there’s more of an emotional build up to it and it’s more of a traditional production, a moment some girls have thought about a lot. But I’m a more private person emotionally and want that moment for just us. I’m also a pretty anxious person and think it will calm me down so I don’t have a panic attack before walking down the aisle.

    Post # 36
    1760 posts
    Buzzing bee

    wolfeyes :  I hope to do exactly this! I love the idea of not having a photographer there. I want to do a “first look” so that our moment can be private, not just to get photographs. Another big reason I want to see him before the ceremony is I get really nervous and I am not looking forward to any emotional buildup. I don’t want to be sobbing from anxiety when everyone is staring at me.

    Post # 37
    343 posts
    Helper bee

    wolfeyes :  i think you will love it. I don’t consider that a first look the way the term is used nowadays.  The fact you aren’t trying to stage a “private” moment with a camera clicking away means the risk that it will feel inauthentic or performative is zilch. You will really be alone with Fiance. What an incredible way to start your most momentous day.  

    both what you’re doing and the traditional first look is great for logistics. I couldn’t accept the “risks” of a trad first look for the better logistics. to each their own. 

    Post # 38
    1758 posts
    Buzzing bee

    somandasaid :  I didn’t vote. We did the traditional walk down the aisle and honestly I was happy we did it but I wish we did the first look. Our wedding fot pushed back a bit due to weather but the part I wanted was seeing Darling Husband expression when he first saw me. Not going to lie, no idea what his expression was. I walked myself down the aisle so I was very nervous that my mind was running all over the place. Darling Husband looks mad in all of our pics because he was fighting back crying. It was memorable but I think if we had those few minutes would have been a lot better. We would have gotten more pics as well (again due to weather our wedding got pushed back and cocktail hour ended up not being an hour so group shots and single shots ended up being like 30 minutes so as you can tell, we dont have a lot. Go with what you feel comfortable with.

    Post # 39
    863 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: February 2017 - historical mansion

    pinkprincess88 :  I totally agree with this. My Darling Husband teared up during our first look, but I don’t think he would have during the ceremony. Also we had more time to take pictures. Also it was still light out. And finally, there was a rainbow during our first look so it was meant to be. 


    Rainbow first look 2 -- smaller

    Post # 41
    253 posts
    Helper bee

    I guess I’m old, because I never heard of “first looks” until a month or so ago when I joined these wedding planning forums. Nope. No first look for my FH. We’ll probably all go for mani/pedis (yes, the guys, too) and then we’ll go our separate ways to get prettied up for the ceremony. He won’t see me again until my dad walks me down the aisle. 

    Post # 42
    533 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2017

    somandasaid :  


    Our wedding dates are so close! I’m getting married on August 6th. We are not doing a first look. I have always envisioned him seeing me for the first time when I enter for the ceremony and he’s really excited for that too. I’ve been doing my best to keep my wedding dress a surprise for him. 😊

    Our photographers are doing “getting ready” photos prior to the ceremony and I’ll also be taking photos with my bridesmaids, mom, and Mother-In-Law. 

    Post # 43
    502 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2016

    definitely first look!

    we did a first look on our wedding day and I am so glad that we did. we got to spend an hour or so just us (other than the photographers) before the all the chaos started. i loved how my husband and i go to laugh together and just spend time before the ceremony. and the first look did not take away from the feelings i had seeing my husband as i walked down the aisle.

    hope that helps 🙂

    Post # 44
    194 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: July 2018

    First look all the way.


    Post # 45
    873 posts
    Busy bee

    Our wedding is at 5 pm… We are doing a “first look” for a number of reasons:

    – We will both cry, and neither of us wants to do that in front of 200 people.

    – It allows us to take all of the portrait photos before the ceremony, so our guests are not waiting on us for hours.

    – We can use the hour between the ceremony and reception to have a receiving line.

    – We can car pool to the ceremony.

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