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Just Said Yes May 2021

Unsure about first look and vows

Grace, on August 22, 2020 at 9:04 AM Posted in Planning 0 17
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The two major things we have left to decide on is whether or not we’re going to do a first look and then how we’re going to do vows. We’re definitely not saying our vows at the alter in front of everyone, so i’m not sure how/when we’re going to do them.


Then for the first look I was immediately completely against it because i’ve always really wanted that walking down the isle moment. But as we’ve been talking about it more it would be nice to share that special moment just us two, and the photographer of course. I’m just having trouble with the idea of “losing” that special walking down the isle moment i’ve always dreamed of!! I’d love to hear what you all have done or are planning to do and how you felt/feel about it!

17 Comments

Latest activity by Kimberly, on August 27, 2020 at 12:57 PM
  • Yasmine
    Rockstar October 2020
    Yasmine ·
    • Flag
    My fiancé and I are against the first look for that specific reason. We want him to first see me as I am walking down the aisle. As for the vows, we’re writing our own and will be saying them in front of everyone.
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  • Lisa
    Rockstar July 2022
    Lisa Online ·
    • Flag
    We are planning to do a first look! I was initially hesitant, but the idea of a special moment between just him and I is very appealing to me, and we also wanted to spend cocktail hour with our guests. So by doing the first look, we can get almost all pictures out of the way before the ceremony, and we'll be able to attend cocktail hour. It's such a personal decision though - there is nothing wrong with skipping the first look if you don't want to do one.


    As for the vows, if you decide to do a first look, you could say your vows to each other during the first look?
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  • Mindy
    Super November 2020
    Mindy ·
    • Flag
    My fiancé is superstitious and refuses to see me before I walk down the aisle. So that nixed first look.
    I’ve heard a lot of people sing the praises of the first look for a myriad of reasons. I think it could be really special and calming on what could be a nerve racking day.
    You could always write your personalized vows as notes to each other, which would be really sweet, but I’ve never been to a wedding that didn’t have a vows exchange as part of the ceremony even if it’s the standard “in sickness and in health” ones.
    • Reply
  • Cyndy
    Rockstar May 2019
    Cyndy ·
    • Flag
    We did first look and were so happy we did. Spending that time together alone was so special and I don’t believe it took away from anything. My favorite picture from the whole day came from that moment when he saw me. It’s also a time when you can share your vows if you want to or you could do them later in the evening when you finish. We wanted to be able to spend more time with our guests and enjoy our cocktail hour so it was better to get some pictures out of the way
    • Reply
  • Jessica
    Master September 2020
    Jessica ·
    • Flag
    I’ve gone back and forth about first look myself because I feel like it would be nice to have that moment to ourselves and really calm my nerves. Ultimately, when we decided on a sunrise ceremony it came down to lighting and having to get ready that much earlier.
    I have heard from people who have done a first look, that it doesn’t diminish the moment walking down the aisle, but 🤷‍♀️.
    As for vows, of you don’t want to say your personal vows at the altar, I’d go with the traditional ones. It would be odd to me as a guest to not have any vow exchange - that’s the part you are promising each other to stand by through thick and thin etc. If you want to do more personal vows privately, maybe write a letter/vows to each other to exchange before the ceremony- either to read during a first look, or have MOH/BM deliver. You could also read each other the letters without seeing each other, like around a corner/doorway, and maybe hold hands. You just have to do what’s best for the two of you. There are advantages and disadvantages both ways- as many PPs commented.
    • Reply
  • Kelly
    Champion October 2018
    Kelly ·
    • Flag
    We did a first look and we both still bawled as I walked down the aisle. It didn’t take anything away except for a few nerves.
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  • Melle
    Legend June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    I’ve seen people who don’t do a first look but do a first touch and so you could say your personal vows to each other at the first touch
    • Reply
  • Rebelle Fleur
    Rockstar July 2021
    Rebelle Fleur Online ·
    • Flag
    I’m not doing a first look. We’re going to write down our vows and give them to each other with the gifts we will exchange.
    • Reply
  • Chrysta
    Master November 2022
    Chrysta ·
    • Flag
    In terms of the vows, you could write your own to each other and either have your made of honor or best man deliver them to one another while you were getting ready, or you can exchange them if you decide to do a first look. I would highly suggest doing the traditional repeat after me vows at the altar though, otherwise I don’t know what the wedding ceremony would really consist of.


    As far as the first look goes, I have seen people praise both options. I think it is really a personal preference to sort of thing. some people really want to be able to get photos and video out-of-the-way prior to the ceremony and reception so that they can spin cocktail hour with their guests. I’ve also seen some people who suffer from social anxiety or don’t like being the center of attention Say that doing the first book helped them calm their nerves prior to the ceremony. I have to admit, I was definitely weird by the idea of getting photos/video out of the way before the ceremony. However, my fiancé and I both really want to have that special moment of 1st seeing each other at the ceremony. For me, it would take away from the specialness of walking down the aisle if we had already seen each other and shared that special moment. I would highly suggest you guys thinking about whether a first look would take away from the feeling you would have walking down the aisle. If it would, save it! If it wouldn’t, go for it!
    • Reply
  • A
    Devoted October 2021
    Adrienne ·
    • Flag

    For our minimony, we will still do the traditional walk down the aisle bit. It was really important to me that he see me for the first time and have that wow moment along with our closest friends and family. But at the big wedding, I'm considering the idea of a first look, for many of the reasons everyone has already suggested (intimate personal moment between you two, get pictures done, etc). This just depends on what you guys want and what is more important to you.

    For the vows, you can still do the standard ones and do them repeat after me style so you don't even need to bring anything up with you or memorize anything. Then also write a letter to each other to read before the ceremony (or after, depending on preference) that has all the sappy cutesy stuff that you might not want to say in front of other people. This is what we're doing, I didn't want all eyes on me when I share really personal feelings with my FH.

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  • Jana
    Master October 2022
    Jana ·
    • Flag
    A close friend of mine got married last year and she was very hesitant about doing a first look but said afterwards she was so glad she trusted the photographer's suggestion because it eased her nerves but didn't take away from the walk down the aisle in the least. It also allowed them time to spend with their guests at the reception.


    The first time I had seen a first look done as a guest was a number of years ago before it became mainstream. While it was odd at first glance, it turned out great because the couple could go straight to the party after the receiving line at the end of the ceremony.

    I have read about exchanging personal vows during the first look. Most states still require some type of vows to be said during the ceremony for legal purposes.
    • Reply
  • M
    Savvy June 2020
    Michelle ·
    • Flag
    Like Kelly, we did a first look and my husband still cried when he saw me walk down the aisle! Doing photos before hand saved us so much time to spend with our guests after the ceremony
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  • VIP August 2020
    ·
    • Flag

    I think you need to have some vows during the ceremony. They don't have to be personal, but the whole point of inviting people to your wedding is so they can be there while you promise to stay together. Vows are pretty much the only part of a ceremony that you have to have to make it a wedding. I don't know what you're considering as far as options for your vows, but we wrote ours together. We each wrote a bunch of them over the course of several months and then we went through all of them together, found recurring themes, and edited/rewrote a vow for each of five themes so they'd go together. We repeated them after our officiant during the ceremony. It was a really nice process because we got to say all of the things we had been thinking about saying to each other, but it wasn't too nerve wracking or emotional during the ceremony.

    For the first look, we were always planning to do one because I wanted to feel less anxious before the ceremony and I knew it would help. Being able to get some pictures out of the way seemed like a bonus. When we ended up doing a miniwedding because of covid, I didn't think it made sense for us to do one. There really wasn't any private space with good lighting and there weren't going to be enough group pictures to create a time problem, but I still wanted to do one. We ended up just having a quick little moment alone on the basement staircase. There were no photos, it was just the two of us. "You look great, are you ready?" "Yes, are you ready?" "Yes." And then he went back downstairs and I went back upstairs. It didn't ruin the walk down the aisle at all. Neither of us was going to cry either way, but we had the same feelings on the stairs as we did in the aisle. I can see how a more traditional first look with photos and everything could take away from the feeling of that moment, but it wouldn't ruin it. I would definitely do one for logistical reasons if we were ever to do another ceremony, but I feel like part of the reason our little first look worked so well (in terms of reducing anxiety but not reducing the feeling of the aisle moment) was that it was very brief. If you want to say vows to each other, or just say hello, before the ceremony, I would highly recommend doing it. If you're nervous about losing the walking down the aisle feeling, make it short and don't include anyone else (except your photographer if you want photos).
    • Reply
  • V
    Champion July 2019
    Veronica ·
    • Flag
    We wrote our own vows and read them during the ceremony. We also had to read the standard vows because it was required by the state we got married in. You could read your personal vows privately, but you will likely still have to read the traditional ones during the ceremony to adhere to the state's requirements. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law wrote their personal vows down and exchanged them the morning of the wedding then only said the traditional ones at the ceremony.
    I was also very much against a first look, but it was something my husband really wanted to do. After talking it over with him, my sister-in-law who did one, and my photographer I decided to do the first look. I'm very glad we did as it gave us extra time together and helped calm my nerves. I don't think it took away from him seeing me walk down the aisle as we both were still emotional.
    • Reply
  • Jai
    Rockstar May 2020
    Jai ·
    • Flag
    We wrote our own vows and it was amazing. To feel so much emotion when reading them made that moment feel so intense. We did a first look and it helped ease our nerves. He was against it at first, but thought more about it and he enjoyed it a lot! I'll post a pic of his reaction lolUnsure about first look and vows 1

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  • Breann
    Devoted June 2020
    Breann ·
    • Flag

    If you don't like the idea of sharing vows in front of an audience, are you gonna just do a private ceremony and then throw a reception with guests? We got around that by eloping...we both hate being the center of attention, esp with emotions involved.

    We did a first look and I thought it was a good idea. I hate crying but ended up crying anyway while he was reading his vows to me. I didn't want to be too overwhelmed with emotions and I think breaking it up like that might have helped Smiley tongue

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  • Kimberly
    Expert October 2019
    Kimberly ·
    • Flag
    As someone who also always wanted that walking down the aisle moment, having a first look doesn't lose that. I wanted the first look because I wanted to have that time with my husband before everything got started. I knew I was going to be nervous and he was going to be nervous and seeing each other ahead of time really helped calm us down.
    I still cried waiting to walk down the aisle. And I was still a little nervous to do so. And he still cried seeing me at the altar. I highly suggest it, only because I feel like it really does help take some of those jitters away. Walking down the aisle with everybody staring at you was a lot of pressure.
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