When it comes to wedding planning, one of the many decisions you’ll have to make is whether or not to see your fiancé before the ceremony. This is often referred to as a “first look.” There are pros and cons to doing a wedding first look and it can be tough to decide what’s right for you. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what a wedding first look is, and go over the pros and cons of seeing your fiancé before the ceremony. We’ll help you make the decision that’s right for you!
What is a first look?
A first look is when the couple sees each other before the wedding ceremony. Called, a first look being the first time to see the bride OR groom in their wedding attire. Couples opting for a wedding first look is a newer trend and historically it is said that it is bad luck to see each other before the ceremony.
The Tradition | Not seeing the bride before the ceremony .
Origin: According to Bridal Guide, during the time when arranged marriages were custom, the betrothed couple wasn’t allowed to see each other before the wedding at all. The tradition of not seeing the bride before the ceremony is said to be so that the groom did not have the opportunity to change his mind. Let’s not even get started on what a veil was originally for!
Today: Although arranged marriages are no longer common, many couples still choose to wait until the walking down the aisle to see each other. Even unintentionally most follow in-part this old tradition by doing a first touch, not seeing each other the morning of, keeping the dress a secret or remaining hidden until ready to reveal the dress or full wedding look.
The Benefits of Doing a Wedding First Look
Many people still believe that doing a first look is bad luck and some just think it makes the day more exciting and memorable for the couple and guests to all get the big reveal at the same time. It’s important to remember that your wedding day is about you and your fiancé, so do what feels right for you and to consider all of the benefits to doing a first look.
- With a first-look, couples are able to knock out many portraits, giving their timeline more flexibility (see timeline samples here)
- The couple will have a private moment together before the wedding day chaos begins. This can be a very intimate and special moment for the couple, and it’s a great way to calm nerves and get excited for the big day.
- Couple can get some of the burst of emotions out before the ceremony, to be fully present and in the moment of the ceremony.
- Another bonus is that couples can take formal pictures pre-ceremony when everyone is freshly done-up with time to refresh any makeup mishaps that happened from tears.
- Some couples may be more shy about speaking their vows in front of guests and a wedding first look allows couples the opportunity to do a personal vow reading or share emotion privately.
- Couples can take many of their portraits before the guests arrive, so they can get to the party faster afterward.
- Couples may feel anxious or nervous in the build up of the day they have been planning for months or years. Couples may feel more relaxed if they see each other for just a few minutes before the ceremony.
Owner of Bushel + Peck Photo, Lacy Alewel says “Simply put, Couples who choose to do a first look, get nearly double the amount of portraits! If the timeline gets behind you still have options after the ceremony to catch up or can use the additional time for portraits in a different background or lighting, at sunset for example.”
How to do a first look
There are a few options to set up for a first look and any good photographer will be able to help! There are a few ways to set up for a first-look including, having one person walk into the room, blind folded or closed eyes until ready to open, tapping on the grooms shoulder to a turn around reveal. Here are a few steps or things to consider when setting up a first look.
- Timing- In order to plan a first look you will have to consider a time where both parties are ready, but where guests will not be around. Setting time in your timeline 2 hours before your ceremony is usually ideal.
- Location-Assess your location to find the right spot for a first look! Good lighting, private area with a nice background is a must.
- Witnesses- In some cases, a couple may want their parents or bridal party to witness the first look or they may want to be alone with just the photographer to capture.
Variations of a First Look
Any one can do a wedding first look! Brides, grooms, fathers, daughters, wedding parties etc. We have seen different many different variations of people opting for a first look since the trend of doing a first look first appeared.
Doing a first look can be a very personal decision for a couple, but if you are considering it make sure to discuss with your photography team, the logistics and timeline that will work best for you on your wedding day!