To Look…or Not to Look: Are First Looks the New Normal?

Oh, the dilemma! Do you have a private moment with your soon-to-be husband before you walk down the aisle? Or, stick with tradition so that you (and your guests) can see his true first reaction to seeing you in your wedding dress? My husband and I did have a first look…after a bit of convincing from our wedding photographer. My gut reaction was “No! That breaks tradition!” However, neither one of us is super traditional, so we figured we would go for it. I am so glad we did; my absolute favorite wedding photos are from our first look.

As I sometimes do, I turned to good ‘ole Facebook to help me with a bit of research on this topic. Did you have one? If so, why? If not, why not? Though my “research pool” was rather small, I was still surprised to see how divided it was. About half of the brides who responded did and the other half did not.

“We did first look pictures! And I am so happy we did. Travis hates taking pictures so being able to get them done ahead of time was perfect. After the ceremony, we took pictures with family inside of the church and were done within an hour. It was great timing because at that point people were done with the cocktail hour and were ready to party — as were we! I’ve been to some weddings where it takes the couple hours to get all the pictures they want, and everyone is just standing around waiting, and that’s not what we wanted. I wouldn’t have done it any differently!” – Ally M.

“We did, and it was one of the best decisions we made that day! It was a private moment (other than being captured by the photographer and videographer and my sister), but a million people could have been there, and we wouldn’t have noticed. It helped tremendously with the nerves and the emotions. In no way, shape or form did it take away from seeing each other when the doors opened, and I walked down the aisle.” – Meredith T.

“No, Wayne did not want to see me until I started down the aisle. Although, in hindsight, I kind of wish we had. The church we were married in was so long, and my vision is so bad, I couldn’t see his face until I was about two-thirds of the way down. After spending so much time picking out the dress and getting my hair done that morning, it would have been nice to see his initial reaction. I guess that leads me to the next level of this…I kind of wish I’d hired a videographer!” – Denise H.

“We didn’t do first look pictures even though the photographers really pushed for it. I may be old-fashioned or superstitious, maybe both, but the look on his face as I walked down the (backyard) aisle was worth it! We were able to share that moment of raw emotion with everyone! I wouldn’t have asked for anything different.” – Lindsay V.

“We did not! I’m old-fashioned and wanted to see Brad’s face as I came down the aisle. We got some amazing pictures holding hands and praying before the wedding!” – Jessica W.

This is an important decision to make. I would encourage you to conduct a bit of research on first looks. Reach out to friends who are already married…read articles online…(there are hundreds of them on the pros and cons)…and don’t forget to have a discussion about it with your photographer and, of course, your soon-to-be husband.