The age-old tradition of not seeing the bride before the wedding ceremony has faced a modern contender – the "First Look" trend. Already popular in the US, many Australian couples are now opting for adding a first look to their wedding day plans.

In this article, we'll delve into the pros and cons of this evolving practice, helping you navigate the decision-making process for your special day.

What is a First Look?

A first look is when a couple see each other for the first time on their wedding day and it is an event that usually takes place before the ceremony. Typically, first looks are done in private with just the couple and the photographer/videographer present.

First looks are very common in America, but it does seem a little untraditional to many Australian's who are so accustomed to having the first look between a couple occur as the bride walks down the aisle.

So lets discuss, what are the pro's and what are the con's of having a first look.

What are the Advantages of a First Look?

Emotional Connection:

  • The First Look offers an intimate moment for you to share genuine emotions privately before the ceremony, overall fostering a deeper connection & deeper memories of your wedding day
  • This private encounter allows for authentic expressions of joy, tears, and laughter, captured beautifully by your photo & video team
  • You can spend more private time with each other on the day
  • Private vows could be read during this time, allowing you to have a treasured and intimate moment together that belongs only to the two of you

Extended Photography Time:

  • Scheduling a First Look can provide additional time for a more relaxed and varied photoshoot, resulting in a rich and diverse wedding album
  • More photos mean more opportunities to capture candid moments and the unique essence of your relationship

Stress Reduction:

  • The First Look can help alleviate pre-ceremony nerves, allowing you to enter the ceremony more composed and ready to enjoy the moment

Logistical Practicality:

  • For weddings with evening ceremonies or logistical constraints, a First Look can be a practical choice, ensuring we have enough time for a proper portrait session that doesn't feel rushed
  • Destination weddings, with their emphasis on capturing the beauty of the location, there is a definite benefit from the additional time a First Look can provide!
  • You get to enjoy more of your cocktail hour with family & friends because the majority of the portraits are already done!

Are There any Disadvantages to a First Look?

Traditional Tug-of-War:

  • Opting for a First Look may clash with traditional beliefs that emphasize the surprise element of the groom seeing the bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle & some may argue that this choice diminishes the emotional impact of this moment - trust me, it doesn't! If anything the groom's reaction is even more special on the second look because the energy & emotion is already high!

Tight Timelines:

  • Incorporating a First Look may introduce time constraints and pressure into an already tightly scheduled wedding day
  • Rushing through the First Look could compromise the authenticity of the moment
  • I would recommend allowing a minimum of 15 minutes for a first look if you only want to capture a few portraits, then allowing for a 45-60 min portrait session at a later stage in the day

Public vs. Private Dilemma:

  • Others may say that whilst the First Look is designed to be a private moment, the presence of photographers and vendors may compromise its intimacy. This is where my zoom lens plays a huge part - I stand back and am fully hands-off to allow you to enjoy this moment & feel all the feels! When you're ready for it I'll move in a little closer and give some directions for stuuuuuning emotion filled photos!
  • Couples who value the public declaration of love during the ceremony might find a private First Look less appealing

Logistical Hurdles:

  • Coordinating the logistics of keeping the couple apart until the designated First Look time can be challenging, particularly in smaller venues
  • Synchronizing the First Look with the arrival of family and the bridal party adds complexity to an already intricate schedule
  • If doing a First Look at your venue this can be tricky to coordinate so that guests don't interrupt the moment/see you both. I would really recommend doing your First Look at an alternative location such as a beautiful natural location nearby, or if your venue is large then on a more remote and private area of the property
  • You may need to start your getting ready earlier in the day to allow the time for a First Look in your wedding timeline

As you weigh the pros and cons of a First Look, consider the unique aspects of your relationship, preferences, and vision for your wedding day. Whether you lean towards tradition or embrace modern practices, the decision should always come back to what is important and meaningful to you.

More First Look Inspo Below