Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

First Look

Ok so I am not sure what to do about my fiance seeing me for the first time. I want to wait so he can see me walking down the aisle for the first time but many people suggest that we do a "first look" photo shoot instead to save time because our ceremony and reception are at the same location. Any thoughts on this? I watched a "first look" video from our photographer and it did not seem special. Also my sister's husband said he did not care at first about not seeing her ahead of time but then he was glad that they waited. Thanks in advance!

Re: First Look

  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Don't do it if you want to wait for him to see you as you walk down the aisle.  I am not doing a first look, either.  If you are concerned about the time frame, you could take other pictures (you with your BMs, him with his groomsmen, etc.) before the ceremony to get them out of the way.  Then, you could have your pictures done with your groom between the ceremony and reception.  During this time, you should probably offer a cocktail hour for your guests so they are not twiddling their thumbs waiting for you to finish.
  • This is one of those things that's entirely up to the two of you. We did a first look for a couple of reasons: we didn't want to spend time away from guests for photos, I knew I'd be really anxious and he calms me down better than anyone else, and we walked down the aisle together. Our first look was very special and emotional. I'm shy in front of people, so it was nice to see him when it was just the two of us (and our very unobtrusive photographer). We liked being able to take some time to show off our outfits and hug and just recognize that we were about to be married. But you might feel differently.
  • We may do something through the door when we exchange letters. My family is very traditional, and some people are very superstitious in my family, and it is very bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. I don't necessarily believe that, but my family all feels very strongly that we don't see each other. Plus I want to see his reaction as I walk down the aisle, so I am totally okay with waiting! Do what makes you happy it is YOUR wedding day!
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  • It really depends on what you want. I do "get" the whole seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle. However, we are spending a small fortune on our wedding and really want to enjoy our cocktail hour (and want our WP to also) We are also hoping it makes us less nervous during the ceremony.
  • We're not doing a first loo.  I want that anticipation of seeing him for the first time as I walk down the aisle. He'll do all his family pictures before the ceremony to help save time and since we have no wedding party, the post photos won't be too bad. We scheduled cocktails for an hour and a half so we can enjoy part of it too.
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    We did a first look and have absolutely no regrets.  We were able to share that private moment and enjoy it without others around (aside from our photographer, of course, who captured some amazing photos).  It definitely eased my nervousness later walking into the ceremony, yet it was still special walking down that aisle.  As an added bonus, my DH and I got to enjoy the cocktail hour, which, IMO, is one of the best parts of the wedding.

    If you don't do a first look, that's ok!  Just ensure you host a cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception for your guests.  And make sure you don't take longer than that hour!
  • This is a very personal decision and depends on the two of you.

    I was considering a first look session to decrease photo time in between ceremony and reception, but FI said he wanted to see me first down the aisle- Ok! Done.

    Photographer and venue suggested a first look, for time saving, but we said no and will work around it other ways.

    As a PP said, a good way to save a bit of time is to do your separate bridal party photos (groom and his men, bride and her maids) and any separate family photos that you can (ie. if your respective parents will be in the same location as you when you are getting ready) prior to the ceremony. 
  • I was in two weddings last year. One we did a lot of pictures before the ceremony with the bridal party. So the bride and groom saw each other. The other they didn't see each other until they walked down the aisle. The photographer did pictures of the boys and pictures of the girls separate beforehand so we did not waste too much time afterwards.

    My fiance and I are having a really small wedding so I'll probably see him the first time as I'm walking down the stairs at my parent's house.

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  • We're doing the first look photos, because I know I'll be nervous, and this is such a huge day, I want that special moment with FI before the (very long, full Catholic Mass). It's a personal decision, though. 

    My mom is very traditional, but she gets why we want to do it, and is totally on-board with it. 

    To the poster who said it's 'bad luck' to see the bride -- that dates to arranged marriages when the fear was the groom would see the bride and run screaming for the hills. Pretty sure that's not a problem anymore.

    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    We did not do first looks but thinking back on it I wish we had. H was super nervous and I really think us spending a bit of alone time before the ceremony would have calmed his nerves a bit. It also would have been nice for 15 minutes that was just us because we really didn't have that during the whole night.

  • It's totally up to you. If you feel strongly about not seeing him before, have a list of all the photos you can do before the ceremony separately (ie with each bridal party, bridal poses, close ups) and then have a cocktail hr to entertain guests while you do all the pictures of you two together. It's doable.
    We did a first look and I loved it. It was a special moment for just the two of aren't alone really any other time that day. We got a chance to cry together and talk and just be excited together. It also helped with the little bit of nerves I had so when the ceremony came around, we were calm and collected. We also wanted to attend half of our cocktail hr to see all of our guests. I'm glad we did it.

  • arrippaarrippa Sam Adams Craft Commonwealth member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Honestly, I want see him privately before we got married. I also want pictures of us at a few places around Boston so we do need to do it first. But mostly, it's because I want that private moment between us (and our photographers).
  • This is something totally up to you. FI and I are doing a first look and almost all of our pictures before hand. We're paying for cocktail hour and we want to enjoy it!
  • We did a first look and I'm so glad we did. It was awesome to have those few minutes to ourselves and then we took all ofour pictures before the ceremony. My mom was totally against it and I had to end up telling her this part wasn't about her and the decision was made. It was right for us and some of my favorite pictures are from the first look. But its not right for everyone and its a decision that's up to you as a couple.
  • We're not doing a first look, I'm kinda traditional in that I don't want him to see me before the ceremony, but I will have other photos done before, getting ready ones and some of him and his family
  • I think we'll probably do a first look. My fiance is very introverted and I think a nice quiet moment before so many hours of intense socialization will be great for him. Plus I have so many anxiety issues that I'm sure will be flaring up then. He's the only one that knows how to calm me when I start to get anxious so I think a few minutes before of just us will be great for me as well.

    It's a totally personal thing, I think. Just decide what you think will work best for YOU and only use our advice as suggestions, not instructions.
  • Oh I just posted this same question, I looked over the discussion titles before but passed this one right up.

    We're considering walking down the aisle together so his first look will be between us privately possibly which I'm loving the idea of, but I hope he doesn't think we'll be getting ready together or anything!

    -anjo (aka the future mrs miley :)

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  • Aww I thought this thread was going to be of people's pictures of their first look moments :(
  • emmyg65emmyg65 member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    edited October 2013
    Here's some from ours. :) I was standing with my back turned and he was walking toward me, already crying. I tried to keep it together at least till I saw him, but then pretty much lost it right after.


  • Here's some from ours. :) I was standing with my back turned and he was walking toward me, already crying. I tried to keep it together at least till I saw him, but then pretty much lost it right after.


    Stuck in the box!
    Aww those are so sweet! Love it when the groom cries, it's so cute!
    More pics! More pics! Come on people!
  • So glad  you posted this !  I am having the same dilemma.  I never even considered a first look...I've only thought about him seeing me for the first time when I come down the aisle, but then the photographer asked us about it.  I am concerned about the short amount of time between our ceremony and reception, so now it's gotten me thinking if we should do a first look.   It would be nice to get the pictures out of the way and not worry about rushing through them. Happy to hear others opinions on this.


  • Jenni1221 I was totally against a "first look" at first but now I am thinking I am going to do it. I think it will be special and save time.
  • My FI and I are doing a first touch.  Not really seeing each other but holding hands and being able to talk to each other through a door will help us both I think.  We just want the first time he sees me to be when I'm walking down the aisle. 
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  • I think we'll be doing a first look. I like it because it gives us more photographs together and we can spend a few minutes before entertaining guests and being married. He will definitely be relieving some of my stress as well. I like them because then we don't have to do photos of us after the wedding. We probably will, but not many. It will get us all to the reception quickly :)
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  • We are not doing a first look.  It was one of the few things FI felt strongly about, so I'm saving the big reveal for the aisle.   We also have a great cocktail hour with noms and open bar laid on so when we steal away to a big hill behind the venue for pictures, nobody will be feeling neglected.  We're going to limit the formal photos with just us to one hour so we can spent more time with our guests.   
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  • I am NOT doing the first look simply because I have always dreamed of that first look being when I walk down the aisle. I have nothing against them though.
  • My FI and I are doing a first touch.  Not really seeing each other but holding hands and being able to talk to each other through a door will help us both I think.  We just want the first time he sees me to be when I'm walking down the aisle. 

    Yes! This is what my FI and I will be doing as well. Neither of us want to see each other before the wedding, but we definitely want to be able to talk to each other before it starts. We will both be super nervous, and talking to each other and holding hands will be just the thing to calm each other down. :)
  • mimee03 said:
    Jenni1221 I was totally against a "first look" at first but now I am thinking I am going to do it. I think it will be special and save time.
    The more thought I put into it, the more i am leaning towards it.  I will still see his reaction, and it will be in a more private setting so he'll probably feel more comfortable showing emotion.   Plus timing is  concern because we only have the 1 hour cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception.  
  • We were all about not seeing each other before hand... but the more and more we were looking for photographers, the more "first look" photos I saw and LOVED.  It was one of our easier decisions. We also are all about being around for the cocktail hour.  For the ceremony we have a string quartet and love them so much we are also having them stay for cocktail hour and we want to TRY to enjoy them.  Such great ideas of first look pics.  The photographer said we could do privately or with our bridal party.  We are definitely doing a private moment... Then when it comes to walking down the aisle... I KNOW i will just want to run to him!!!  :)
  • I have talked it over with FI so much, just to get options be we are not doing one... NOt due to tradition or anything like that.  We are not doing it simply because he wants that moment of seeing me for the first time in my dress walking down to him.  Plus it works better since we have a cocktail hour (everything is at the same venue)

    Honestly if you are up in the air about this or can't decide the best advice would be to talk to the person you are going to marry, get their input on it.  If you do it what do you miss out on??? If you don't do it what will you miss out on?? Decide together....

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