The Pros & Cons of a First Look on Your Wedding Day

Wedding couple sees each other for the first time before ceremonyHow tough is the decision to see your fiancé before the ceremony? For some brides (and grooms) it’s not a hard decision at all; they know that seeing each other before the ceremony just seems blasphemous as they are a bit more traditional or they LOVE the idea of a first look so they can get all of their photos out of the way and have time to enjoy their cocktail hour with their guests! All brides and grooms come to this decision in their own way, but what remains important is that the decision is made with the right intentions in mind and that it isn’t a decision that they will later regret.

Pros & Cons of a First Look


  • First Looks aren’t very traditional
  • The ceremony may feel less special if you do a First Look
  • It adds more time into your wedding day and you would possibly have to start getting ready sooner
  • If you would like to spend some time together before the ceremony but still not see each other, you could opt for a first touch instead


  • First Looks can be more intimate and private (ie. more personal and romantic) than seeing each other in front of all of your guests
  • A First Look can be FUN!
  • It gives you more time alone together on your wedding day
  • It gives you more B+G portraits!
  • It truly may not take away from the specialness of seeing each other as you walk up the aisle

The bride and groom at a wedding I photographed recently opted for a first look because their ceremony was starting later in the afternoon. They knew that a 6:30 p.m. ceremony would not allow for very much time for family formals and B+G portraits before the reception. They decided a first look was their best option and we’re so glad they decided to go for it! They got ready for their wedding at the Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Columbus and the hotel has a beautiful rooftop patio with gorgeous views of Downtown Columbus. Even when we ran a bit behind on schedule, we still had enough time to photograph Ryan & Katrina’s first look, some B+G portraits, wedding party photos and some stunning bridal portraits of Katrina! We also were able to get most of the family at the wedding venue for family formals before the ceremony, all because Ryan and Katrina decided to do the first look!

Do you like the idea of a first look, but truly want to wait to see other until the ceremony? At a wedding we photographed last July in St. Henry, Ohio, we learned about a new trend in wedding photography which is still pretty popular currently – first touches! After we photographed this for the first time in July 2014, we photographed another first touch just a couple of months later!

Never heard of it? A first touch is when the bride and groom have decided that they would like to spend some time together before the ceremony but without seeing each other. This can easily be accomplished by using a door or wall as a divider. The bride stands on one side, the groom on the other and they both reach out to hold hands. Sometimes the couple prays together or reads a letter to each other or sometimes they just talk back and forth to calm the pre-wedding nerves.

Are you more traditional? Or do you truly just do not have time available in your day for a first look? This is totally okay! Because guess what? It’s YOUR wedding day! You as the wedding day couple have the ability to make that decision on your own. Take into consideration your own pros and cons or consult an article (like this one) for advice. Whatever you decide, your wedding will be beautiful and your photographers will totally support you in your decision to first look or not to first look!

All photos are © Steph Parker Photo.