The First Look: 10 Pros and Cons of this Wedding Day Trend

A first look at Springbank Park, London

Dreaming of a sneak peek on your wedding day? Or do you prefer to stick with tradition and save the big reveal for the ceremony? First looks are becoming more popular among couples, but many brides and grooms still choose to wait until the ceremony to see each other. If you're trying to decide which way to go for your big day, consider these pros and cons of a first look.

Pro: Save Time After the Ceremony

A first look before the ceremony gives you a chance to take the bulk of the wedding portraits before the guests arrive. This means you might actually make it to the cocktail hour. Choose a secluded spot and schedule the moment at least an hour before the ceremony to avoid any early guests seeing you.

Con: You Lose a Special Moment at the Altar

Many couples dream of the moment when the groom sees the bride for the first time as she's walking down the aisle. This is a beautiful, special event that adds emotion and significance to the ceremony. A first look takes away from this moment because you've already seen each other.

Bride walking down the aisle at Willow Creek Barn Events.

Pro: Capture Great Photographs

Shooting pictures of the two of you before the ceremony means your makeup and hair will still look fresh. You'll also be feeling fresh, which makes it a great moment to capture sweet shots. Starting the portraits early also gives the wedding photographer more flexibility and time to get the best shots possible.

Con: The Moment Feels Staged

First looks can feel staged, probably because they are. You've set up a specific moment and have a wedding photographer and videographer hovering close by waiting to capture every emotion. The wedding party may also be watching. All of this can detract from the moment for the couple. Of course, you'll have more people watching if you see each other for the first time during the ceremony, but there's more distance in that situation.

Pro: Ease Nerves Before the Ceremony

The wedding day is emotional; you're likely to feel many things throughout the day. A first look can help relieve jitters so you can focus more during the ceremony. The quiet moment gives you an opportunity to connect with your partner and take a breath during a busy day.

Con: Create an Awkward Moment

On the other hand, a first look can actually increase nervousness. It's hard for some couples to relax and enjoy the special moment with the wedding photographer and videographer close by. Feeling like you should cry or make a surprised face may make you clam up in front of the camera. Asking the photographer and videographer to shoot from a bit of a distance can help with this because you can share your feelings without being overheard.

Pro: Time Together on Your Wedding Day

This may sound strange since you'll probably spend a lot of time together on your wedding day, but it'll be over before you know it. Once the guests arrive, weddings are a whirlwind with little time for the bride and groom to catch their breath. A first look gives you a private moment together before family and friends surround you. Many couples choose to share a few words or gifts and reflect on the day and coming marriage during this intimate time.

Bride and Groom relaxing after the ceremony just outside of Grand Bend.

Con: It Breaks with Tradition

For some couples, a first look may be out of the question simply because it breaks with tradition. Having a wedding that more closely resembles the ones your parents and grandparents shared can add a special and meaningful touch to the day.

Pro: Let Your Tears Out in Private

Crying at the altar is touching, but some brides and grooms prefer to avoid the waterworks. Letting out some of your emotions during a first look gives you a chance to share tears with your partner and capture them in the photographs while still having plenty of time to compose yourself and touch-up your makeup. Private people may prefer to experience the emotional first moments together without an audience.

Con: You Have to Get Up Earlier

A first look and pre-ceremony photos mean you and your wedding party need to get up and ready earlier in the day. If the wedding is in the evening, you may be happy to start preparing earlier. For morning or early afternoon weddings, a first look may mean getting up at the crack of dawn.

First look or not? There are benefits either way, so it comes down to what the two of you feel fits best with your wishes and vision of the day. Take time to consider your options during wedding planning, and create a timeline that helps you both enjoy each special moment of your wedding day.