Q: My FH and I are really torn on whether or not to have a first look. I’m pretty traditional but he says he can go either way. Aside from getting to see each other before the wedding, are there other benefits to having a first look vs. taking photos with each other after the ceremony?– Samantha
A: This is truly one of those wedding planning issues (like whether or not to have children at your wedding) that is completely personal to you and your future spouse. It’s also something that a lot of people tend to have strong feelings towards one way or the other. So, the key is really figuring out what you’re most comfortable with! But, since I AM a big fan of doing a first look (again, this is purely a personal opinion), I’ll tell you why:
1. They let you get your wedding photos out of the way
This might sound like a simple idea (see each other before the wedding and take your photos), but there’s really A LOT of pros to taking your wedding photos before the ceremony. First, you and your groom are going to look picture-perfect. Your hair and makeup will have just been done, your groom is looking coiffed and if it’s not too hot out, perspiration-free. Your wedding dress will also be wrinkle-free (hopefully). Your wedding party will be bright-eyed and not worn out quite yet (LOL), and same goes for your family. Tears have not been shed yet (well, at least all of them), and everybody is nervous yet happy about what’s to come.
2. You’ll get more time to spend with your guests
The cocktail hour (if you’re having one) is typically when couples who did not have a first look go and take their wedding photos. But what stinks about that is it’s such a great time to mingle with your guests who have travelled far and wide to be with you! My husband and I chose to do a first look before the wedding for exactly that reason, and I’m so glad we did. I talked to more people during the cocktail hour then I did the entire reception. That’s because you have an hour where guests are easy to locate and you can chat with them when they’re not trying to eat that piece of chicken on their plate!
3. It settles your nerves
My FAVORITE wedding photo is our first look photo (above). The venue was quiet and it was just our photographers (we had two) and Cory and I meeting in the hallway. And as soon as we saw each other we just started laughing. I think it’s because we were both nervous and excited! It was really, really great to see him before walking down that aisle, and it completely calmed my nerves. Well, it was either that or that glass of champagne I had before the ceremony. 🙂
I completely understand if you’re traditional and don’t necessarily want to see your groom before the wedding. I get that. I also consider myself a bit of a traditionalist, and even went as far as to stay alone the night before our wedding and definitely did not want my husband to see me BEFORE the first look (I was adamant about that). That, to me, allowed me to honor tradition while still being practical. Just know that whether or not you choose to see your groom before the ceremony or when you walk down that aisle for the first time, it will be a special moment NO MATTER WHAT.