what every couple needs to know

How To Decide If A First Look Is Right For Your Wedding Day

January 20, 2022

Tips and Tricks

how to decide whether to have a first look on your wedding day

To see or not to see, that is the question 😉

One of the biggest decisions you’ll make about your wedding day won’t be selecting your reception venue. Or ordering your wedding gown. Or even picking out your floral design! Surprisingly, the big decision I’m talking about here is whether or not you’d like to see your oh-so-soon-to-be spouse before the ceremony!

This is a big decision for a lot of reasons. Some of them are more logistical reasons, and some of them are more emotional reasons. But rest assured, no matter what decision you make regarding a first look, it’s the right decision for you. It’s your wedding day. It’s one of the biggest days of your lives, and you two should get to decide how you spend it!

Below I’ve created the ultimate decision maker, a pro-con list, to help you consider every aspect of each option and feel confident in the direction you choose to take.

(NOTE: Some of these pros and cons only effect a wedding with an evening ceremony and reception.)


You can complete most of your wedding photos before the ceremony. If your reception happens directly after your ceremony, this is a good thing because it allows you to go straight to your reception without taking any time away from it and your guests.

You’ll be less rushed throughout the day. By seeing your future spouse before the ceremony, you’re able to spread out your photos across the entire day, rather than trying to cram them into an hour or so between the ceremony and reception. This means less stress – and more time for fun! – for you and your entire wedding party on the big day.

how to decide whether to have a first look on your wedding day

You can spend more time (alone) with your soon-to-be-spouse on your wedding day. Your couple portraits are one of the few times during your wedding day when you’ll get to spend time together just the two of you (and your photographer). Some couples value having this private time together on a day that is, despite being all about them and their relationship, an incredibly hectic and busy day.

how to decide whether to have a first look on your wedding day



You’ve already seen each other before the aisle! There’s something romantically magical about seeing your future spouse for the first time at your ceremony. It’s a major moment in your lives, and that added element of anticipation makes it all the more special!

how to decide whether to have a first look on your wedding day

You may have to start your day earlier. Seeing each other before the ceremony means you have to be ready and dressed sooner before the ceremony! Depending on the rest of the day’s schedule, this may mean you’ll have to push up your hair and makeup to make sure you’re perfectly primped before the big reveal.

how to decide whether to have a first look on your wedding day

The day can become a bit more complex. If you don’t want to see each other before the ceremony, chances are you’ll spend all of your time pre-ceremony staying in one place relaxing with your wedding party and getting ready. Adding a first look into the mix, eases some day-of logistics, but introduces a whole set of other logistics that can make your wedding day feel hectic and complex (rather than relaxed and simple). Since you’ll be getting ready at different locations, at least one of you will need to relocate to a new location to see each other for the first time. On top of that, you’ll likely need to move your wedding party as well to the new photo location.

how to decide whether to have a first look on your wedding day

One more thing to think about – the sun!

If you’re having a winter wedding, you may have to take your couple portraits after sundown. Say your ceremony is at 5 PM, and sunset is at 6 PM on your wedding day and you don’t want to see each other or take any photos together before the ceremony. Typical ceremonies last about a half hour, after which you’ll want to take your formal family portraits to allow your family to head to the reception as quickly as possible. With that kind of timing, the odds are great that you’ll end up taking your couple portraits after dark. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re envisioning bright, natural light photos for your portraits this is definitely a logistic to keep in mind. (It’s also important to make sure your photographer is comfortable taking non-natural light portraits so you’ll love your first photos as a married couple.)

how to decide whether to have a first look on your wedding day

As you can see, there is ample support for seeing each other and not seeing each other before the ceremony. The choice truly is up to you! And, with the right coordinator and photographer by your side, you’ll feel confident knowing that your day will go off without a hitch 🙂

So, what do you think? To see or not to see? Tell me in the comments!

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