Are you wondering… should you do a first look on your wedding day? In the past few years, wedding trends have changed significantly. With this shift, couples have begun opting out of walking down the aisle reaction photos for first look photos. As the name implies, a first look lets the couple see each other before the ceremony starts.
As a Massachusetts wedding venue, we have seen lots of couples stray away from this tradition. With pros and cons to each option, Saphire Event Group is here to guide you in making the choice that feels aligned with your wedding vision.
Pro #1: Easing pre-ceremony jitters
Waiting until the last possible moment to see your significant other on your wedding day can contribute to excess amounts of nervousness and anxiety. Your mind is naturally going to wonder what your partner is doing, whether they’re just starting to get ready or already changing into their gown or tuxedo. To ease these pre-ceremony jitters, you can opt for a first look instead of painstakingly waiting until the processional music starts.
While you might be questioning if this takes the surprise out of the equation, we would argue that it only increases the excitement you’ll feel when you finally see each other. Without all of your guests watching you, the two of you get to have a private moment alone where you can express all your emotions wholeheartedly. There are no friends and family around so you don’t feel the pressure of reacting a certain way for your guests. This time is also great if you want to exchange vows more privately in comparison to reading them aloud for all to hear.
Pro #2: Getting most of your photographs before the cocktail hour
A traditional wedding itinerary usually schedules the main photography session during the cocktail hour. This means that you probably won’t enjoy any of the appetizers you carefully selected or mingle with family and friends before you take your respective seats. It also adds a lot of pressure on the photographer (and those in your wedding party) because you’re held to a tight schedule. In an effort to make it on time to your reception, you might miss the opportunity to get all the photographs you were hoping for. A first look can knock off a big chunk of your photography session because you can take most of your pictures before the ceremony, leaving you and your guests to relax before dinner.
Pro #3: Your makeup, hair, and outfit will be in pristine condition
The getting ready process; including hairstyling, makeup application, and buttoning up corsets or tying bow ties takes a lot of work. Having a first look ensures everything about your appearance is perfect and unaffected by grass stains, wine spills, or streaks of mascara when your partner sees you for the first time. Since this is arguably the most important day of your life so you’ll want to ensure you look your very best. This will ease worries about looking a certain way in each photo and let you feel more relaxed and confident.
Pro #4: You’ll feel more present
Emotions on your wedding day are likely to fluctuate. There will be time for smiles, tears, and laughter but if you’re worried about your schedule or fitting in all the ideas you have for your photography session, you won’t have time to focus on much else. Doing a first look and getting most of your pictures out of the way will help clear your head and let you take in all the small details you won’t want to forget. This is your day and you planned it not only for your guests to enjoy but for you and your partner! If you aren’t worried about running late, you’ll be completely focused on the present moment and soaking it all in before it’s over.
Con #1: You lose the opportunity for a grand reveal
One of the many reasons couples don’t see each other before the ceremony is because the build-up leaves for a fantastic photo opportunity at the altar. Seeing each other for the first time as you walk down the aisle is a priceless moment where you might catch each other shedding a few tears. Some people look forward to that moment where everyone’s eyes are on you like you’re the Oscar nominee that stepped out onto the red carpet. While a first look still allows for some elements of surprise, your family and friends won’t be there to watch your reactions to each other.
Con #2: Your wedding day will start earlier
If you’re opting for a later afternoon ceremony, you have the luxury of waking up later in the day and taking your time during the getting ready process. If you opt for a first look and also decide to jam in as much photography as you can, you’ll have to wake up earlier and you might not have as much time to get ready. If you don’t plan on executing a complex up-do or you’re a pro at tying ties or bow ties, this shortened getting-ready time won’t mean that much to you. In comparison, if you plan to take lots of pictures with your bridesmaids or groomsmen during the pre-wedding rituals, opting for a first look might take too much time.
While there are pros and cons to each option, it seems as though doing a first look comes with a lot of benefits and very few drawbacks. You’ll be able to share an intimate and private moment with your significant other—this is especially important for shyer couples—and have plenty of time to execute all the wedding party poses on your shot list. Whether you decide to do a first look or stick with the traditional approach, this moment between you and your partner will be a special memory that you can look back on for years to come.