What the heck is a “First Look”? The Pros and Cons of having a First Look on your Wedding Day.

One of the many decisions every couple who is planning a wedding has to make… to have a first look or not. 

What is a first look? Mostly, a photo opportunity. The photographer sets up the couple privately so they can see each other for the first time and have a few moments alone before the craziness of the wedding day.

first look between a bride and groom at a private residence wedding in southwest ranches, florida First look with Bride and Groom on wedding day at PAMM in Miami, Fl Black and white portrait of two brides embracing after their first look on their wedding day.


I’m not exactly sure how the first look trend even started. 

Obviously the tradition is to see your fiancé for the first time when they walk down the aisle. But do you know why that tradition exists? So the arranged marriage wouldn’t fall apart. If the couple didn’t have a chance to see each other before the big day, they wouldn’t have time to back out of the marriage. The veil is also an outdated tradition as it was to hide the bride from the groom so he wouldn’t take off after he discovers she wasn’t attractive. Yup, weddings are TOTALLY patriarchal bullshit. Dad walking you down the aisle was basically a transfer of property. Yes, brides, you were the property. 

Regardless, your wedding day is just that, YOUR wedding day. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you aren’t comfortable with. As your wedding photographer, I honestly don’t have a preference. The only time I strongly encourage doing a first look is if your wedding ceremony is scheduled at sunset. All of your family formals, couples portraits and wedding party photos will be in the dark with flash. In order to have a variety of portraits I would suggest doing all of the portraits before the ceremony. Move your ceremony up a few hours if you are determined to skip the first look! Or you can always book a “day after” session with your wedding photographer. Yes, that’s a thing.

Many brides do a First Look with their Dad’s and sometimes with their Bridesmaids as well!

Groom sees bride for first time during First look at Deering Estate in Cutler Bay, Miami. Emotional First Look with Groom and Bride at a magical Southwest Ranches Wedding in South Florida

Reasons you want a first look:

Get the family formals, wedding party & couples portraits completed BEFORE the ceremony.

Cocktail hour – you can actually go mingle with your guests if you finish all of your formals before the ceremony! Get your drink on party people!

You get to spend most of the day with your love!  Spend your wedding day TOGETHER! 

If you aren’t comfortable being the center of attention or being emotional in front of lots of people, a first look is way more intimate. 

Avoid stress and nerves. once you see your love, you’ll be EXCITED to get married. You’ll be less likely to faint in front of all of your guests at the altar / huppa.  

You can have your sunset ceremony and not have to worry about lighting for your formals.

You get to wear your gorgeous wedding day attire longer! Get your moneys worth on your dresses and suits! 

Groom sees Bride for first time on the aisle during their wedding ceremony. Traditional church weddings often the couples do not do first Looks.

Reasons to skip the first look:

You want to stay totally traditional like your parents did. Tradition is important to you as a couple. 

The anticipation of waiting to see each other on the aisle excites you. 

You don’t care about having an abundance of couples’ portraits.

Cocktail hour isn’t important to you. You don’t mind sacrificing cocktail hour with your guests to get your family formals, wedding party AND couples portraits accomplished. 

More chances of getting your wedding attire dirty. It can happens. Especially if you’re doing all of your portraits outdoors.

first-look-moment-black-and-white-fearless-photographer-tiny-house-photo.jpg lighthouse_point_yacht_club_wedding_first_look_bride_groom_steph_lynn_photo-19.jpg

I’ve seen many a couples STILL get emotional on the aisle even after they’ve seen each other before the ceremony. I’ve had so many tears even after having that first look. So the emotional factor is a moot point. Emotions still happen either way!

Whatever you decide, remember that it is
your wedding day.

Decide as a couple what you are most comfortable with and do that. 

Bride is approaching her groom at the Miami Beach Edition on their wedding day. Emotional groom hugs his bride in this black and white image of the couple’s first look on their wedding day. A Groom is speechless in this portrait of the couple’s first look in Key West, Florida on their wedding day. Bride sneaking up on her groom for their first look at the Ritz Carlton in Coral Gables, FL Bride approaching her Groom at the Palms in Miami Beach on the couple’s wedding day. A couple experiencing their first look on their wedding day at the beautiful Miami Beach Edition Bride and Groom reactions as they have their First Look on their wedding day at the Hillsboro Beach Club in Hillsboro Beach, FL