To Look or Not To Look, Is that the Question?

Most brides and grooms do not need to do a first look. We only recommend this option when it is really necessary. When we do please try to understand that we do really want you to make a well informed decision. We understand that mom may gasp, guests may be whispering, grandma may be offended, and you may be stuck in the middle. A lot of couples today are torn between the concept of seeing each other before the ceremony or trying to fit a lot of photos into a small amount of time. Know that if you do not leave enough time something will have to suffer. Ultimately you, the bride/groom, are the only ones who can make the choice. The average recommended amount of photography time on a wedding day for the bride/groom and bridal party is 1.5 hrs. Some photographers may want more, and some may prefer less. The average amount of time recommended to leave for family photos is 30 minutes. If you have a large family you might need more. Add travel times to these and you’ll have an idea of how much time you should leave on your wedding day. As a professional photographer I’ve seen many couples chose to do a first look, and many who have not.

Here are some things to consider: 

  • I Really Regret Having a First Look.” Said No Bride Ever
    Every single bride that has had a first look has told me it was the best decision she made for the wedding.


  • If You Calculate How Much You Spent Minute Per Minute on The Cocktail Hour, You Probably Don’t Want To Miss It
    Just tell this to inquiring minds; it usually gets them off your back.


  • The First Look Reaction is Always Better Than Walking Down the Aisle
    Because your first look will be arranged in a private area you’re free to be yourselves in the moment. You can kiss and talk to each other and there aren’t 100 people staring at you. Not to mention you photographer can control the light and background for your photos.


  • It Doesn’t Make Walking Down the Aisle Any Less Special
    Seeing each other before the ceremony takes the edge off. You’re not nearly as nervous walking down the aisle so you can better absorb the moment. Because you’re not so focused on each other you can take in everyone looking back at you.


  • If You Don’t Greet Your Guests Before Dinner, They Will Try to Greet You on The Dance Floor
    The bigger the wedding the harder this is to deal with. I’ve seen couples heart broken to spend only the last songs of the reception on the dance floor because guests wanted to greet them, and they couldn’t be rude. I highly recommend a receiving line during cocktail hour.


  • Why Not Extend Your Day
    You only get this day once in your life. Why limit it to 6hrs? If you see each other before hand you are basically having a pre-party with all your closest friends and extending your wedding day.

Still Not convinced?
If you have your heart dead set on seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle then you might try moving the start time of your ceremony up. I know it’s cheaper and easier to have your ceremony flow right into your cocktail hour, but is it worth the expense of sacrificing the quality of your photos? If your not willing to move your ceremony time/location try extending your cocktail hour to 1.5hrs or leaving a gap in between. Work with your photographer to be extra organized about rounding up family for photos so you can maximize every minute of your time.