As the name suggests, First Look wedding photos give the couple a chance to see each other for the first time before the ceremony. This intimate moment deviates from the traditional one in which the bride walks the aisle to meet her groom and he sees her in her dress for the first time.

Each scenario is priceless and each carries both pros and cons. On the one hand, you’re offered a private piece of time to revel in each other’s wedding-day glory. But on the other hand, there’s something magical about the first look during the ceremony. There’s a procession and music and flower petals. It’s all quite dramatic.

What’s a couple to do?

To help you make an informed decision, keep reading for the pros and cons of First Look wedding photography. By the end of the post you should have a pretty good idea of what will work best for you and your fiancé.  

First look between bride and groom. Bride in a white bohemian dress and floral crown faces groom in a black tuxedo with a large smile on his face. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.The Pros of First Look Wedding Photos

Saves time. One of the most popular reasons to have a First Look session is that it saves time in the long run. The photographer can pair your First Look photos with your couple portraits, which means there is one less thing to tick off the list after the ceremony. Ultimately, you’ll be able to spend more celebrating and less time posing for formals.

Bonus: Your photographer will have more time to capture all the unique, candid moments during the day.

Calms nerves. Many couples say their First Look session helped calm their wedding-day jitters. It offers couples an intimate moment away from guests and vendors, which can ease pressure and loosen any pre-ceremony nerves that have built up throughout the morning.

Bonus: First Looks give you the chance to get comfortable being yourself in front of the camera. That moment you share with your fiance will be an honest one since you won’t have a hundred eyes on you. So not only will your photographer get some great shots, but you’ll be more relaxed having spent personal time in front of the lens.

Frees emotions. If you’re worried about crying crocodile tears during the ceremony, then a First Look session is perfect for you. Once you see your fiancé for the first time, feel free to cry, sing, twirl or whatever big emotional reaction you’d rather only your partner see.

Bonus: You’ll have time to talk to your fiancé, which won’t be possible during the ceremony (except for the vows, of course).

While smiling, the bride reaches to untie the towel from around the groom's eyes for surprise first look. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.The Cons of First Look Wedding Photos

Early morning. If you’re not a morning person or have visions of a leisurely getting ready session with your bridal party, then a First Look may not be for you. Because you’ll need to have photos taken before the ceremony, you’ll have to wake up earlier to get dressed and prepared for the big day.

Less ceremonial anticipation. There is definitely something special about saving the first look for the ceremony. All that anticipation and excitement unfolds into a dramatic presentation accompanied by music. First Look photo sessions are much quieter and simpler and will lessen the impact of that climactic ceremony moment.  

Breaks tradition. For some couples, tradition isn’t optional. Whether it’s because of superstition (it’s bad luck to see the bride before the ceremony), because it’s important to the family, or some other reason, if it’s important to honor tradition, then First Look photos won’t be a good option for you.

Other Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Don’t feel like you have to react a certain way during the First Look. If your groom doesn’t cry or your bride’s eyes don’t widen in excitement, don’t feel bad. Expectations can lead to disappointment and awkward moments. Instead of forcing some kind of “right” reaction, just be yourselves. Let the emotions come as they will. Your photos will reflect that authenticity.
  • If you want to have First Look photos taken, but are worried about guests seeing you before the ceremony, let them know your plans and have the photos taken far enough away from the venue that sneak peeks won’t be possible.
  • Not completely sure about First Look photos? Make a compromise by having a First Look with your mom or dad. Or opt for a First Touch where you’re able to spend an intimate moment together without seeing each other.

Still weighing the pros and cons of first look wedding photos? Contact me using the link below! I'd love to share with you feedback from couples who opted in to do first look photos and those who opted out!

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