First Look Pros + Cons

The tradition of not seeing the bride before the wedding is deeply rooted and isn’t going anywhere soon. In fact, I was a HUGE stickler on this for my wedding. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of bucking this tradition.

To fully understand WHY this is a tradition, we first need to know how it came to be. The practice is from an era when prearranged marriages were common. Marriage was a strategic arrangement to help both families and not about love. The tradition was to help ensure that the groom would still go through with the wedding regardless of the bride-to-be’s identity or appearance. Hence the “bad luck.”

Despite arranged marriages being less common, this tradition still holds on because the bride, like myself, wants her bridal look to be a surprise. If you weren’t a bridesmaid or my mother, I didn’t want you to see me. I wanted a sign that said “No Sneak Peeks” on the getting ready room door.

You might be thinking, “Ok, first look absolutely not.” If I could go back 10 years and have a redo, I would have probably done the first look, but first looks were just becoming a thing. Here’s why:

  1. AND it’s a big one. Many brides want that picture of their groom standing at the end of the aisle holding back tears. It’s a #PinworthyMoment. However, my observation has been that the presence of a ton of people makes them clam up. IE I had a groom staring at the floor, and half peek up at his bride walking down the aisle. #NotaPinterestMoment A moment that you can tease him about at your 50th anniversary? Yes. A First Look Means You can have an intimate just the two of you first look. There’s not a whole bunch of people, and you can talk to each other and not wait through an entire ceremony. You can help calm each other’s nerves—all good things.
  2. Because you both are conveniently in a great spot to take pictures *Wink, wink* you can get your couple’s portraits done. Check that off the list, which leaves more room for relaxing, talking with guests, or more pictures later. This is also a great option if you are crunched for time after the ceremony for photos.
  3. The 2nd Not only do you get to wow your groom, but then you get to wow all of your guests as you are walking down the aisle.
  4. Photos while you’re fresh. If it is a hot sticky day getting pictures done early means it’s typically cooler. If your ceremony is outside, it means you won’t have to endure sweltering heat for ____ [insert ceremony time here] before you get your pictures made. You won’t be glistening in your photographs.

Keeping the tradition is fine, too. Here are some Cons to a first look.

  1. Family members might give you a hard time and remind you it’s bad luck.
  2. You will have to plan to get ready a little earlier. The actual first look doesn’t take more than 5 minutes. Its pictures we do immediately following takes time, but that means we won’t need to do them later. And no one says you have to do photos at the same time too.
  3. There might not be a great spot to do a first look, even if you are getting ready at a hotel.

I hope this helps you decide whether or not a first look is right for you. If you would like to see a sample timeline with and without a first look, please subscribe to our newsletter. I promise I won’t spam your inbox.

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