To first look? or not to first look? that is the question...

It’s no surprise that first looks have become common practice in the wedding world although I think some couples and/or parents are still a bit confused at what it actually means for the couple and wedding day if they do a first look. I get asked all the time “should we do a first look?” and I hear couples say they’re really on the fence about including one so i thought deep diving into the pros and cons might be really beneficial to couples currently thinking through this part of their wedding day experience.

One of my favorite parts of the wedding day is when I get to watch my couples see each other for the first time. Sometimes when they cry, I cry … who am I kidding I always cry! Seeing your fiance for the first time during a first look is so intimate, emotional and private! This is often times the one opportunity during a wedding day that you are alone together with our 150 sets of eyes watching you.

I still remember the anticipation walking up to my husband on the rooftop terrace of the Sorrento Hotel in Downtown Seattle and seeing his face as saw me standing before him. My eyes instantly filled with tears and my entire body was put at ease. I remember him pulling me in so tightly and in a shaky emotionally charged voice telling me how beautiful I looked, how much he loved me and that I had to stop crying because he was going to start crying! LOL. It’s one of the most vivid moments of our wedding. When everyone tells you a wedding day is a total blur, they’re not kidding!

So on to the real reason why you are here reading this post. Some helpful tips and of course some pros and cons of including a first look in your wedding day in the hope that it helps you make the best decision as a couple!

Disclaimer: Please know that i will never force my couples to do a first look. I will however, ask you if you have thought about doing one and answer any questions you have about first looks and let you know how I think think one could benefit your day specifically. In the end, this day is 100% about you and no one else. I want your wedding to be the way you envisioned and will do everything I can to help make that vision come to life!

Your day is going to be pure magic whether you do a first look or not but a first look will definitely allow you more time spent TOGETHER on the best day of your lives. I would love to know your thoughts on this and if you’re already married and did a first look or not, please share what you loved most about your decision.


Here are some pro’s and con’s of both options and a few images from one of my all time favorite 1st look sequences!


A couple doing a first look at their congressional country club wedding.


Option #1 – Including a First Look


    • One of my favorite things about a wedding day with a first look is that we are ensuring you and your fiance have an intimate moment together. The first time you see each other is private and shared just between you two! The truth is, this is probably the only time all day you’ll get alone time! I make sure to tell all my couples to take as much time as they want during this moment, I will not interrupt you.

    • You get to spend More of your day TOGETHER … not apart!

    • You both will look your freshest! Hair, make-up, the works.

    • The nerves of seeing each other for the first time will be gone and you can simply look forward to and enjoy the day with your family and friends.

    • There’s  more opportunity for portraits! When things run late it’s almost always the couple getting married whose time for portraits ends up getting trimmed. A first look ensure that you have photos together at two points during the day – right after your first look and later during the evening around sunset.

    • You can schedule all wedding party photos and immediate family photos to happen before the ceremony, so afterwards all the formal images left to take are extended family photos if you’re opting to include them.

    • You get to go to your cocktail hour! #enoughsaid

    • Your bridal party and family ALSO get to go to cocktail hour instead of taking formal pictures. They’ll love you for this.

    • You can also look at this time as a trial run of walking around and moving in your dress before you have to do it in front of everyone at your ceremony!

    • Timelines seem to be way less stressful when everything is done before the ceremony!


    • First looks are not traditional and may confuse some of your family.

    • We typically need additional time. Most weddings that include a 1st looks usually need a little more than 8 hours of coverage, especially if your ceremony and reception are not all in one locations – 9 Hours of coverage is usually best in this situation. If your day is truly happening all at one location (getting ready, ceremony, and reception) and you’re not doing a big send off, 8 hours will probably be sufficient.

Option #2 – No First Look

You do not see each other before the ceremony and the first time you see each other is when your fiance is walking down the aisle.


    • You get to keep with tradition.

    • If you are wanting to have a cocktail hour for guests that you do not want to attend between the ceremony and reception, taking the bulk of your images after the ceremony will allow your guests to mingle and enjoy drinks while you’re getting your pictures taken.


    • If the ceremony begins late, or family photos run longer than expected, then it’s always the married couples photo time that gets cut short.

    • In the event of weather issues, not doing a first look gives you less flexibility with time and location – a 1st looks allows us be a little more flexible if all of a sudden we have clear weather outside.

    • The photo time after the ceremony will take longer so the couple does not get to attend cocktail hour.


So, whether or not you’re a couple sticking to tradition, or ready to experience your own special moment together before everyone else sees you, I hope this blog gives you something to think about and helps in your decision making!  Always ask if you are wanting to plan something a little more special for your first look – I am more than happy to help you brainstorm something fun or unique ideas.

Some other first look ideas, maybe try including a personal moment with a first look with a parent, with the wedding party, with a child etc. The are also some fun reactions and memories to think about.