The First Look: Pros and Cons



Nearly every bride and groom I sit down with want to know my opinion on whether or not they should do a First Look.  It can feel like a daunting decision.  It’s a personal decision that the bride and groom get to make together, and as a photographer, I am completely supportive of whatever the couple decides!

For today’s blog post, I have tried to consider a few pros and cons of doing a First Look in order to help couples decide whether or not it’s a good choice for them.

First, I’ll share my personal experience, and explain why my husband and I decided to go with a First Look.

 Photo Courtesy of A Beautiful History Photography Photo Courtesy of A Beautiful History Photography

For our wedding day, we wanted to write vows to each other, but we knew we would be too emotional to actually speak these vows to each other in front of our family and friends.  As a solution, we decided that in our letters to each other, we would include our vows.  The perfect time to share these vows would be during a First Look.  Ryan also just knew in his heart that he was going to cry when he saw me.  (He is such a sweetheart, I know.) But, he didn’t want to cry in front of everyone.  We knew the First Look would be the perfect time to reflect on our day, and what it truly meant to us.  It also ended up being the perfect time to get all of my nerves out of the way.  On my wedding day, I was a nervous wreck, as I pretty much figured I would be.  By the time I went to meet Ryan, I was literally shaking! As soon as I saw him, my nerves just melted away, and I was READY to get married!!  I was so happy that we decided to do a first look!  Without seeing Ryan when I did, it would have been a lot harder to get through the wedding day.  I loved reading his vows to me, and it was such a special moment that I will never forget.

Of course, take my personal experience with a grain of salt! It’s a personal decision for the couple!  I have met many brides and grooms that say the first time they want to see each other is when the bride is walking down the aisle!  I totally understand that!  I love how traditional and classic that is!

Without further ado, here are some pros and cons of doing a First Look:

PRO: More time for bride + groom portraits.  Doing a First Look typically allows you to have more time and opportunities to have photos of just the two of you.  It also allows you to have more variety in the types of photos you have together.  If either you or the groom gets emotional during the first look, you will have some really raw, intimate portraits of just the two of you.

CON: Everyone has to be ready earlier in the day if you are going to do First Look portraits.  A First Look speeds up the timeline of your day and doesn’t allow you to relax as much, so your hair and makeup have to potentially last a lot longer this way.

PRO: You have a lot more flexibility in your timeline.  IF you want, you can take all of your family portraits BEFORE the ceremony.  If your family can arrive a little earlier, you can knock out all of your family portraits before the ceremony, so your family can go straight to the reception after the ceremony.  The more photos you are cutting out after the ceremony, the less your guests are left waiting, and the more photo time your photographer has with just you and the groom.  Again, this allows for more beautiful portraits time with you, the groom, and the bridal party.

CON: It takes the surprise out of walking down the aisle.  If your groom and family see you before you walk down the aisle, it could make it feel less special.  For me, I still felt nervous, and my groom still shed a couple of tears.  But, if you want it to be a total surprise, the First Look is probably a deal breaker.

PRO:  It allows you to get your nerves out of the way before walking down the aisle!  For nervous brides and grooms, a first look can help them relax and re-focus before the ceremony.  Seeing their significant other can help them remember the entire reason for their wedding day, and other problems can suddenly seem so small in comparison.

CON: If you are superstitious, you don’t want to do a first look.  It’s supposedly bad luck to let a groom see his bride before see walks down the aisle.  Did you know rain on your wedding day is supposedly good luck?

In the end, every couple gets to decide what is best for them!  First Look or no First Look, just go with your hearts!!



All images are owned by and the property of katie gallagher or the properly attributed party. 









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EST.         2017