Should we have a first look?

Hi there. I can see lots of couples are having first looks. Is the first look a good idea? What's the best part about having a first look and what would be a reason not to do it, from a photography perspective? Thanks!


Question Asked: 28/03/2023

Wedding Date: 3/11/2024

Most Helpful Response

Cooper Brady Photography

(16) · Sunshine Coast & Surrounding Areas

Posted: 13/06/2023

Hi there, adding to the great responses already left here. Ive found the couples Ive photographed who have chosen to have a first look,  to have found it a special moment, and it has shown in the images. These couples still enjoyed beautiful, emotional reactions at the isle. 

I recommend having some private time together after the ceremony, a really valuable time to catch some fresh air together, have a laugh and a kiss privately as you are now married. A few minutes away from all the loving family and friends  allows a reset to be able to return to the party and be present. 

Answered by: 7 Experts

Sort by:

Mel Hill Photography

(48) · Canberra and surrounding areas

Posted: 25/05/2023

Whether or not you should have a "first look" – a moment where you and your partner see each other before the ceremony – is entirely up to you and your partner's personal preferences and the logistics of your wedding day. There are pros and cons to consider for both scenarios.

Pros of a First Look:

  1. Ease Nerves: Seeing each other before the ceremony can help calm any pre-wedding jitters. It can be a private moment to reconnect before the whirlwind of the day.
  2. More Photos: You can capture a wider range of photos before the ceremony, including reaction shots, couple portraits, and possibly even wedding party and family photos.
  3. More Time Post-Ceremony: If you've taken care of most of your photos pre-ceremony, you can move straight to your reception after the ceremony, giving you more time to enjoy your party.

Cons of a First Look:

  1. Tradition: If you or your families have strong feelings about the tradition of not seeing each other before the ceremony, a first look might not be the right choice for you.
  2. Rushing Pre-Ceremony: Depending on the timing of your day, a first look can mean an earlier start to your wedding day schedule, which might feel rushed.
  3. Less Emotion at the Ceremony: Some people feel that a first look can take away from the emotional impact of seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony.

Ultimately, there's no right or wrong answer here. You should discuss this with your partner and consider what will work best for the two of you on your wedding day. If you decide to do a first look, make sure to inform your photographer in advance so they can plan the shooting schedule accordingly.

Twelve Eleven

(4) · Sydney

Posted: 9/05/2023

A "first look" is a private moment between the couple before the wedding ceremony where they see each other for the first time in their wedding attire. It can be a special and intimate moment, and it allows the couple to have some private time together before the busy wedding day activities.

Liz Andrews Photography & Design

(0) · QLD

Posted: 9/05/2023

Bride's choice

Augmented Arts Weddings Photography & Videography

(6) · Melbourne

Posted: 12/04/2023

First looks are becoming increasingly popular in wedding photography, and they can be a great way for the couple to have a private moment together before the ceremony. From a photography perspective, first looks can also be a great opportunity to capture some beautiful and emotional photos.

However, some couples choose not to do a first look for various reasons. One reason might be that they want to maintain the traditional aspect of the wedding ceremony, and see each other for the first time as the bride walks down the aisle. Another reason might be that they want to avoid feeling rushed before the ceremony, as first looks can sometimes add an extra element of stress to an already hectic day.

Ultimately, the decision to do a first look or not should be based on the couple's personal preferences and what they feel will make their wedding day the most special and memorable for them. From a photography perspective, both options offer unique and beautiful opportunities for capturing special moments, and it is ultimately up to the couple to decide what will work best for them.

Maryke de Villiers Photography

(1) · Melbourne

Posted: 29/03/2023

Hi. I did a first look recently with a mini couple shoot before the ceremony and the grooms reaction was priceless. It all depends on how you want to experience the moment when you and your groom see each other for the first time. 

Doing a first look:

 - It's more intimate

 - The groom can have a very long look at his bride without the celebrant interrupting the moment

 - You are more relaxed when you have the ceremony since you got most of the excitment out with the first look

 - You get more confident with the photographer and being infront of the camera which makes the rest of the wedding photos more relaxed and not awkward.

If I have to sum it up I would say it's just a really special and intimate moment between bride and groom.

Not doing a first look:

 - If you are looking for a very traditional wedding, I would suggest this route

 - In my experience it makes the moment bigger when he sees you for the first time while walking down the isle

 - The reaction from both bride and groom when they meet at the altar is a great reaction (there's usually tears)

Both scenarios are really special and it really all depends on how you want to experience the moment. I do not think you will regret doing a first look as it's just such an intimate and special moment.

From a photography perspective, I personally do not have an issue with either. I've done weddings with and without a first look and both are special in their own way.

Not sure if this helps at all.

Tamara Little Photography & Video

(26) · Melbourne / VIC State Wide

Posted: 29/03/2023

Hi there, great question! 

There are two main advatages of having a first look. The first is that you get to spend more time with your guests during the cocktail hour as it's during the cocktail hour that couples are usually whisked away for photos. If these are mostly all done, then, the cocktail hour can be spent mingling with your guests. 

The second big reason is to make use of the light. This is most relevant for Winter weddings when ceremonies are scheuled for late in the day, you can opt for a first look before you run out of light.

A first look is certainly gaining in popularity, approximately 30% of the weddings I do, the couple opts for a first look. The main disadvatange I see, is that's a a less "traditional" approach. This may not sit well with familes of the older generation or for cultural weddings where it's not the norm. 

There are no right or wrong answer, do whatever suits you and your parnter best. And good luck! 

Didn't find what you were looking for? Ask your own question and we'll have our experts answer it.

Ask a question

Hi! I'm Chelsea and I can help you find suppliers for your wedding. Would you like some help today?

1 Chelseabot