First Look – Regrets?

posted 1 month ago in Ceremony
Post # 16
6999 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

doglovingbee :  First looks are a topic I’m really passionate about. As a wedding photographer I can tell you that I’ve never had a couple regret doing a first look but I have had them regret NOT doing one. 

At the end of the day you need to do whatever you want. That being said you just need to think about what you want out of your wedding day in regards to photos. Wedding day photography has really morphed and changed A LOT over the years. Couples have a lot more expectations and a much larger wish list when it comes to photos, and simply put, it’s become a situation where we can usually no longer fit ALL their wishes into the traditional “cocktail hour” we’ve always been allotted. One hour is enough for photos when the family formals list is not excessive and you stick to a handful of bridal party photos before moving onto the couples portraits. The problem is that now couples expect a lot of variety in their formal photos and getting that kind of variety takes time. 

From a stress factor I know that most of my couples really enjoy the first look. The internet (primarily pinterest and social media in general) have really built up expectations of these swoon-worthy photos coming down the aisle where your spouse sees you at the end and has some pinterest reaction. The reality is that almost never happens. I’m being totally honest when I say that I’ve gone entire wedding seasons without getting an over the top reaction during that part of the wedding. The reality is you’re spouse is standing at the end of the asile with 100+ sets of eyes staring at him. He/she might be nervous, anxious, emotional….and for most of my weddings out in the sun and usually squinting. Everyone is always so much more relaxed after a first look. 

Before anyone thinks I’m just another photographer who selfishly loves a first look, I’ll say that I’m 100% OK with whatever a couple chooses…..provided they manage their expectations about what we can accomplish during their cocktail hour. 

Post # 17
4691 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

starfish0116 :  this. We were so nervous during the vows, both felt everyone’s eyes on us that the ceremony didn’t feel *swoon worthy” lol. in reality it’s a bit foggy and full of anxiousness about not screwing up the vows. Wished we had a first look session.

Post # 18
900 posts
Busy bee

We did a first look and I’m SO glad we did. I would have been a blubbering crying mess during the ceremony if I hadn’t had that private moment with my husband before. It settled my nerves to see him and I’m just really, really glad we did them.


Plus, logistically, we only had to do the huge family pics and wedding party pics after. We maybe had 30 minutes max of pics after the ceremony and were able to quickly join the reception and go have fun! I hate it when couples take 1-1.5 hours for pics between the ceremony and reception. 

Post # 19
2151 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

doglovingbee :  our first look was my favorite part. Getting ready and thinking about the details of the day stresses me out. Once I saw Darling Husband all my fears melted away and we had the most amazing hour together. Do. The. First. Look!! No regrets. 

Post # 20
548 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I know you’re not looking for more “here’s what’s great about first looks” but we did do one and I still absolutely ugly (joyful) cried the whole damn way down the aisle. Nothing can take away how special that experience is even if you spent the entire day before it together.

Post # 22
239 posts
Helper bee

We did a first look and I mildly regret it, but not because of emotions or anything. We chose the first look solely to have more time for photos, not to quell nerves or anything. It was a nice moment but I could’ve lived without it. I don’t know if it was my fault for mapping it out wrong or the photographer’s fault for not being better with time, but we ended up not getting all of the pictures I wanted, specifically all of the bridesmaid pictures that typically happen before the ceremony. So I regret doing it because it didn’t serve its purpose. I guess if you’re going to do it to ensure photo time then MAKE SURE you’re on top of a photo schedule and save yourself the heartbreaking regret I’ve been dealing with for the last month looking at our pictures and regretting the ones that didn’t happen.

Post # 23
9615 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

I loved doing our first look! It was one of my favorite parts of the day. And some of my favorite pictures came from the first look. 

Post # 24
39 posts
  • Wedding: June 2019

We didn’t do a first look and I don’t regret it! My husband was adamant that he didn’t want one and I didn’t really care. There are a few photos of me with my bridesmaids, waiting to walk down the aisle. I was a little nervous! And I didn’t see his face the minute he saw me, but I did see it after, he was so happy. We spend a lot of the ceremony just looking at each other (his outfit was a surprise to me too lol). Honestly it was really nice. The nerves were just a part of the day and that moment for me! And I love that we had already done the vows and were married when we took all our photos. We had a family friend do our photos and it only took maybe 10-15 minutes to get all our shots together. We spent another 15 minutes getting every combination of family photos and photos with the bridal party. We didn’t even do bridal party pics ahead, a first look with my dad, or even getting ready photos. Ours were very quick and simple but I loved that about it, we have some nice photos of us with our loved ones all dressed up and happy, and that was plenty for us!

That being said though, I think maybe you should do one. It sounds like you would enjoy it and most people want a lot more pictures (especially posed ones) than we wanted. Our way worked for us but these days, I think that it is no longer the norm and many people feel disappointed if they miss out on those photos they see online. When you are spending so much time and money for the day, I think it is better safe than sorry! We knew we would be content and because my husband was so sure, it was an easy choice for us.

Post # 25
1923 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

doglovingbee :  You’re welcome! Also saw another poster mention hair and makeup, and I agree. I live in the south, and it’s dang hot even in the fall and winter. I hate some of my wedding pictures because I look like I’m melting. 🙁 My Mother-In-Law sweetly gave us some canvases of some wedding pics that I dislike for that very reason. 

Post # 26
2570 posts
Sugar bee

Some of my favorite pictures are from the first look.


Post # 27
686 posts
Busy bee

Just wanted to add that we did a first look and I’m so glad we did! I loved that it was just an intimate moment (with photographers and videographers😂) but it was so nice to just have that moment and really bask in the last few minutes of officially becoming husband and wife.

Post # 28
977 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

I loved our first look! It was nice to have those moments to ourself. Walking down the aisle was still special, and he still cried!

Post # 29
1713 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

Never regretted it. Even almost 2 years later, we were watching our video, and my H said that he is so glad we did a first look and pictures before. It made me so much more relaxed and did not at all “ruin” the walk down the aisle. I am not an emotional person at all and still got emotional before the walk down despite doing the first look 

Post # 30
607 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2018

We did a first look and like so many other bees have said, it was one of my favorite parts of the day. So much more intimate than seeing each other for the first time in front of the crowd. And I can honestly say it still did not take anything out of the walk down the aisle for me – except for maybe some nerves because I had just seen him.

I will say I didn’t wear my veil until after the first look, so there still was that moment where my husband saw me in my full outfit at the end of the aisle. Another perfect moment.

So we did our first look and formal photos with family and wedding parties before the wedding. Then we did a quick (maybe 20-30 mins) of portraits just the two of us after the wedding during the cocktail hour. I really cherished both of those times of just he and I.

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