What is a Wedding First Look?

The first look is where you see each other for the first time during your wedding day. It’s often one of the most important emotional moments, so when planning your wedding, you will have to make a decision on whether you see each other down the aisle or meet at a location before the ceremony and have an intimate moment with the two of you? Here are the benefits to both versions so you can make a decision on what makes the most sense for the two of you.

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First Look During the Ceremony


It’s the traditional way to see your bride or groom for the first time down the aisle with all of your guests present. Some people dream of this moment forever and love the idea of seeing each other for the first time during the ceremony.  There is no additional scheduling for this moment as it occurs during the ceremony. The wedding portrait session is planned between your ceremony and reception, usually during cocktail hour.

First look before the Ceremony


Scheduling a first look before the ceremony is not only a non-traditional way, but couples say it feels more intimate since it’s a moment just between the two of you where you can really show your emotions and tell each other how much you love them and be in the moment of seeing each other. The idea of it being bad luck to see your bride before the ceremony was because when marriages were arranged, it wouldn’t give the couples a chance to back out if they saw each other before the wedding. Weddings have come a long way since those days.

The benefit to having it before the ceremony, is not only can it take the stress off of you seeing your partner for the first time with all your guests, but you can get your wedding photos with the two of you and the wedding party photos done before your ceremony. If you want more time with the creative photos, or go to multiple locations, you often have more flexibility in time before the ceremony than you do between the ceremony and reception. The bonus is you get your posed wedding portraits done at the beginning of your day, and spend the rest of the day enjoying the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception with your guests. This is becoming a more popular choice amongst couples because they like to enjoy all the events with their guests, and get their portraits done while makeup, hair, and flowers are fresh.

Optimal timing for a first look before the ceremony or portrait session is 20 minutes. If you are going to meet at a location away from your getting ready location, factor in travel time into your schedule.

There is no right or wrong way to do a wedding first look. Go with your heart and plan it the way that you envision your day!

If you found this helped you with your wedding planning, check out our article on Why Getting Ready Photos Are Important!

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