There’s that moment during the ceremony when the couple sees each other for the first time; they gaze at each other from opposing ends of the aisle on the most important day of their lives before they join together and exchange their vows. It is a magical moment that stems from the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony. But, as with many wedding traditions, couples today are choosing to break from the customs of the past. Enter the First Look. First Looks (or First Reveals) are when the couple sees each other prior to the ceremony in a private moment away from guests. First Looks have been gaining popularity recently. According to the Knot, in 2016 nearly half of all couples now chose to do a First Look.
Why the rise in popularity? Catching a glimpse of each other before the altar has some definite benefits that may make your wedding day go smoother. However, the break from tradition also has some disadvantages as well.
One of the main reasons couples opt to do a First Look is that it’s a huge time saver. Typically the majority of pictures will be taken after the ceremony during Cocktail Hour. Doing portraits before the ceremony allows couples to partake in their Cocktail Hour and spend more time with their guests. Daylight can also be a factor. First Looks are especially popular for winter weddings since it allows you to have a later reception. If you’re wondering what a wedding day agenda looks like, check out this Example Agenda.
But that also means that your day is now even longer. If you have an earlier ceremony planned you better be prepared to be up at the crack of dawn in order to be photo ready! First looks can take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour, so be sure to factor that into the day-of timeline. A First Look may also not be included in the cost for your photographer, so the extra time may come at an extra cost.
First Looks can be super intimate, and can help ease pre-wedding nerves. Some couples are more comfortable sharing time together prior to the ceremony rather than being separated. Wedding days are long and hectic, and years later you may look back and cherish this private moment.
Not to mention, the anticipation prior to a First Look can be just as stressful as waiting for the ceremony! You never know how you will react to your nerves, and your First Look reaction might not be what you expected. While First Looks can be a great photo opportunity, the look on your faces might not be what you expected. This is why couples want to save that moment for the altar. Seeing each other before the ceremony might dull the magic of seeing each other for the first time at the altar.
Still can’t decide if a First Look is for you? Why not try a compromise instead? Write each other a letter to open before the ceremony, or indulge in a “first touch” like these couples did.
Another idea is to save that private moment for the end of the evening like Lauren and Tyler did by having this private dance once all of their guests had left.
These happy mediums keep the old tradition alive, but give your day a creative spin. There are definitely some benefits and drawbacks to doing a First Look. Ultimately the decision is up to you and your fiancé whether you’d like to savor a private moment before the chaos of the day or cherish the reveal in front of all of your loved ones.