Wedding Day First look: Should we do it or not?

Wedding day first looks are the big talk of the town these days. There’s so many pros and cons for both so here’s my spin on it! A first look should be something you and your partner 100% agree on. Now I can tell you all the perks of why you should do it, but at the end of the day it’s what you and your partner WANT!

I’ve talked to many brides recently and heard around that there are photographers out there that won’t let you book them unless you agree to the first look. I am going to be brutally honest and tell you that is RIDICULOUS! Your wedding day is YOURS and you should have the say on whether you do one or not. If your potential photographer is telling you to do something in order to book them, you should take that as a red flag and run in the other direction.

Here are some stats from my 2022 couples and their choice when it came to the first look. I had 16 weddings and 13 couples opted to do a first look and 3 opted to not do a first look. The main reason that most wanted to do one was so that they could enjoy their cocktail hour. The main reason those who didn’t choose to do one was because they wanted to go the traditional route of being seen for the first time while walking down the aisle.

I am going to give a list of some pros, cons and some tips, but please notes these are my personal opinions and what I have observed while being in the industry!

“Pros” of doing a first look

  • Free for cocktail hour to do as you please without having to worry for anymore posed photos
  • Intimate moment with you and your partner ALONE
  • All posed couples’ photos, wedding party and family photos done before the ceremony
  • Special moment for all your family and friends to see the couple walk down the aisle for the first time
  • Capturing a truly intimate moment of you and your partner on a wedding day
  • You can do private first vows immediately following the first look

“Cons” of doing a first look

  • You will more than likely have to start getting ready a tad bit earlier
  • Partner at the ceremony arch won’t see you for the first time as you walk down the aisle
  • Lighting for the first look and other photos might not be ideal if there is not a shaded area to take photos

“What if we don’t’ do a first look? What will our day look like?”

If you and your partner decide to not do a first look it’s totally okay! Don’t feel like you’re forced to do one if you really don’t want to. Without one you are still able to do most of solo photos, wedding party and family photos, but without your partner. All additional photos will be during your cocktail hour right after the ceremony. This is what your day will look like if you opt to not do one.


Getting ready photos

Solo portraits of each partner

Wedding party photos each side separately

Family photos each side separately


Cocktail hour – Couples photos, full wedding party, family combo photos all together adding in each partner

Wedding day tips for the first look or without

  • First look or not: make sure everyone knows the timing of when photos start so you’re able to get them done before the ceremony. If anyone is late it will push back some photo combos into the cocktail hour whether or not you do a first look
  • First look: If you don’t want to be overwhelmed by cocktail hour, take that time to yourselves and have some alone time. You can pop in at the last 15-20 minutes to greet everyone
  • No first look: Try to see if your venue can do a 90 minute cocktail hour so you can do all of your photos and still have time to attend it

In conclusion, as I already mentioned your wedding day is YOURS! It’s only one day so do as you please. Don’t let anyone try to “force” you do something you do not want to do. If you agree you want to do a first look, DO IT. If you absolutely do not want to do one, DON’T do it! Stick your ground and don’t let anyone take that away from you.

Here is one of my favorite first look moments + private vows with Melissa & Federico. Get ready to have a tissue handy!

March 2, 2023

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