Do A First Look, Or Keep It Traditional?

When you are planning your wedding, one of the most important choices you will make is whether to do a first look before the ceremony or wait to first to see each other at the altar. A first look means you are planning to take a private moment to see each other before the ceremony. This can be done to take advantage of pictures before the ceremony, getting your nerves out, and it gives you more time with friends and family. Doing it the traditional way is a time-honored tradition that has been done for generations and can be an essential part of your wedding. There are pros & cons to both and no wrong choice. But what is the right choice for you?

Doing a first look

First Look on the rooftop of Essex House in Manhattan, Jenny Fu Studio, Editorial, Photojournalistic, Documentary, Wedding Photographer based in New York City, NYC Top Wedding Photographer

Pros

  • Your nerves are calmed earlier in the day. Doing a first look before your ceremony allows you to calm your nerves and share a moment in privacy.
  • More time to take pictures. Even the most well-planned weddings can be hectic, and doing a first look allows you to take photos before the ceremony (and get the tears out!).
  • A moment alone, together. You are about to be surrounded by your friends and family, and while the whole day is about you, a quiet moment away from everyone will be a cherished moment.
  • Go straight to the reception after the ceremony. If Golden Hour photos are not part of your wedding plan and you have taken all your photos, you can skip the photo session after the ceremony altogether and head right to the reception with your guests.
Bride and groom first look.

Cons

  • It breaks tradition. Seeing your partner standing at the altar as you march down the aisle and locking eyes with each other is a time-honored tradition.
  • It moves your timeline up. If you are planning to do a first look, you will need to be ready to go a lot earlier in the day. If you plan to take all your photos before the ceremony, time will need to be alotted for everyone to be ready well in advance.
  • Golden Hour Shots. Doing all your photos before the ceremony, you will miss out on the ever-gorgeous Golden Hour photos.
  • You will have to freshen up. As there is an extended period between your hair and makeup session and the ceremony – touchups will be inevitable.
  • You’re not technically married. You will have your own take on this, but technically you will not be married in the photos of your big day. This could be a deal-breaker from some couples.

A traditional look at the altar.

Bride walking down the aisle.

Pros

  • You are sticking to tradition. The tradition of the couple first seeing each other at the altar has been around for decades, and you will be continuing it.
  • Share an intimate moment with those you love. Having all your friends and family present for such a special moment is a beautiful thing to share.
  • It gives you more time. You won’t need to be ready as early as you would if you were doing first looks beforehand.
  • Golden Hour. Taking your photos between the ceremony and reception means at least a few of them during Golden Hour.
  • You said yes to the dress. And, it will look it’s best for the ceremony having not gone through a round or two of photos.
Groom tearing up when seeing his bride walk down the aisle.

Cons

  • Nerves. There is special nervous energy you two will share at the moment when your eyes lock. Cue the waterworks!
  • Less time to take photos.  All photos will need to be taken in the time between your ceremony and reception, which means there is a chance some will need to be cut.
  • No time alone after the ceremony. You just got married to the love of your life, but there is still a lot of things to do before you get a moment alone. 
  • Not as intimate. This is a once in a lifetime moment between you and your partner, and it can be challenging to savor with the pace of the ceremony.

No matter which option you choose, the most important thing is that you get to say I do – do it your way!

If you and your partner are looking for a wedding photographer for your wedding, please do not hesitate in reaching out to me, or taking a look at my work over on my Instagram!