We didn’t do one and I am SO glad. I didn’t want to risk anything detracting from the moment he sees me walking down the aisle (seriously, look at this face!!!) I know plenty of people who did first looks say that it didn’t detract from the emotion of walking down the aisle but really, no one can say that for sure because no one has ever done it BOTH ways lol, and possibly losing even a fraction of the amazingness of seeing this reaction at the ceremony was never something I was willing to risk!
Also, I was never able to get on board with the logic of “it’s nice to have a private moment together when you see each other dressed up before the ceremony” because really, if you wanted a “private” moment then you should’ve eloped lol. We WANTED our guests to share in this special moment with us... that’s why we invited them!
This is totally not to criticize anyone who does a first look, I mean to each their own and I do see the perks of getting more photos before the ceremony (though, we got more than enough photos anyway!) but this is just my opinion and why we decided not to 🤷🏻♀️
Also, another relevant factor is we had a 12pm wedding and actually part of the reason for that is so we didn’t have to do a first look 😂 if you’re having a late afternoon or evening wedding I understand wanting to get your photos done earlier in the day, but since I knew we didn’t want to do a first look I made sure our wedding was early so it wasn’t like we were missing too much of the day before seeing each other.
I’m back and forth about it I’m general. But We are definitely not doing it. I personally just want the first look for us to be traditional and we I enter the room. But I’ve seen some AMAZING first look photo shoots
I’m so glad we did one. For us we wanted to be in our own cocktail hour and greet our guests and also get some of our nervousness out. It didn’t take any emotion away from walking down the aisle and my husband and I both bawled as I walked down. I’ve never seen anyone say they regret doing it.
You can look up “first look” here and see a ton of posts.
We did it and loved it. Our favorite photos of our wedding day because we were relaxed. We got to spend more time with our guests. And we loved a private moment together because the craziness of the day is real and it was incredible to have private moments together before our ceremony and party. Didn’t take away from the aisle moment one bit.
We did a first look and we are SO glad we did! It was one of my favorite parts of our day! It was such a special moment spent between just the two of us before all of the craziness began. The photos and video are so amazing and still bring tears to my eyes. And doing a first look it not take away from the moment of us walking down the aisle to one another. That was just as special. I highly recommend a first look. Plus, you can also get a lot of photos done before the wedding!
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Our ceremony and reception was also all on the same property. Our wedding started at 5:30. We did our first look at 4:00. We spent about 10 minutes together, enjoying that time alone. Then took photos together and with our bridal party until 5:00.
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Thanks for this post Gen! My FH wanted to wait & see each other for the 1st time at the alter, but I was on the fence. The practical side of me wanted to get photos & video out of the way so we could enjoy part of the cocktail hour with our guests. But, after reading your post, I think I will listen to the romantic side of me & wait til the ceremony. After all, there will be countless times for cocktails, but only one chance to see each other for the 1st time at the ceremony.
We didn’t want to see each other but wanted a moment to be together (and get a cute photo opportunity), so we each went on either side of a door and held hands! I surprised him with a helicopter tour of Hawaii while on our honeymoon so we got some cute shots of me revealing that to him. It was super fun, I’m glad we did it that way.
Daughter and SIL did first look and loved it -- it was one of their favorite parts of a completely perfect and awesome day. They chose to do it for several reasons, but most importantly because daughter was convinced she was going to totally lose it and "ugly cry" (her words), and she didn't want to do that during the ceremony. (Honestly, she teared up a tiny bit for first look, but nothing like she anticipated.) The second reason was because they really wanted to be able to do as many photos as possible before the ceremony, so they'd (theoretically) have more time to participate in/enjoy the cocktail hour.
Everything was at one venue. We arrived on-site at 1 pm. Photographer took photos of daughter's dress, and then of her getting in to her dress. Then, while groom and the guys were arriving, daughter did first look with FOB around 1:15. Then, at 1:30, in a separate location, the B & G had their first look. Both the still photos and video are priceless and adorable. Their emotion is very real, and incredibly sweet. That was pretty much the last time she teared up all day -- something she had worried would become a problem. They then did wedding party photos until 2:45; at that point, the entire wedding party went to what we called the "sequester room" for snacks/champagne/water, as the guests began arriving at the venue. The photographers were able to get all the background/details shots, and pictures of guests arriving, being seated, etc. The ceremony began, as scheduled, at 3:30. SIL STILL teared up (daughter didn't, LOL!) when daughter appeared at the end of the aisle. His expressions were, again, priceless and his emotions were quite clear, despite first look. Ceremony ended at 4, and cocktail hour began. The B&G did large group family photos (tons of family...) for about the first 15 minutes (they were very well organized and photographer cranked them out pretty quick), then they did some additional wedding party photos. Actually, B&G never did really join cocktail hour because of photos, but the families, wedding party, etc., got to enjoy a good part of it. When everything was done, B&G ended up with over 1100 fully edited photos and were incredibly happy with the way the day went. The wedding was a year ago, and they are still completely happy about their decision to do a first look. It was the right thing for them.
Two daughters married 2 months apart, one did a first look, the other did not. The one who did not regretted it. Their photos after the ceremony ran long and they and missed their entire cocktail hour. They had hoped to mingle with guests a little before the reception. The other had written each other personal notes and read them on video, then had their first look, alone. She said it calmed their nerves before the ceremony and didn’t take away from him seeing her walk down the aisle. Ultimately up to you, but from what I’ve seen on these forums, some regret not doing a first look while those who do it don’t regret it at all.
We ended up doing a first look and are glad we did. Originally he didn’t want it but then changed his mind and it worked out perfectly. We got to spend that time alone and seeing his reaction was priceless for me him not sure I would have had the same experience walking down the aisle. I was so focused on everything around me that I might have missed it.
FH and I keep going back and forth on this. Originally he wanted to wait and have all the emotions of seeing me for the first time walking towards him but now he is set on us doing a first look. He wants to be able to spend time with the guests and if we did pictures afterwards it would take up a decent chunk of the mingling time. I’m 100% okay with the first look because it will calm my nerves before walking down the aisle. I don’t like crowds and we both have big families which means a bigger wedding. So this will not only help my nerves, but it’s what FH wants too so it’s a win win!
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Haha I’m so glad I could help! I would’ve liked to go to cocktail hour too but I just felt like the ceremony is the reason for the day, right? So I wasn’t willing to give up any specialness of that for cocktail hour, even though it would’ve been nice to have it both ways lol... which we actually did in a way, because our photographers were SUPER speedy and we made it to the last 15-20 mins of cocktail hour!