First Look: Pros vs Cons.

January 20, 2023



A first look is an allocated time on your wedding day, to see each other before the ceremony. First looks give you the opportunity to also have your bridal portraits prior to the ceremony, rather than leaving your wedding during the reception. If you’re prepared to forget the traditions of not seeing one another before the ceremony, it has some distinct advantages, but it’s not for everyone. If you haven’t already checked out the cons list, read it here.


Spend more time with your guests

This is probably the most obvious and common reason for a first look and it makes a lot of sense.
You’ve invited all of these people to come and celebrate with you, and the first thing you do after the ceremony when their excitement for you is at a natural high, is leave them. You won’t see them again until after your announced, which in many cases can lead straight into speeches and other formalities so it might be two or three hours until they get a chance to even come and say hello. Instead, take the opportunity to have a champagne, mingle, play those lawn games you spent so long planning, and eat! The canapés will probably be the most delicious thing you’ll have all day as the relief that comes with the ceremony being over is quickly replaced with ravenous hunger. This way you’ll have time to enjoy it.

Make the most of that winter light

For weddings that are taking place outside of daylight savings, that is, from April to October, you may find your ceremony and family photos finishing with rapidly diminishing light. Especially when the sun goes down at 5pm.

Spend more time with each other

This is probably the most obvious and common reason for a first look and it makes a lot of sense.
You only get one wedding day together in your whole life. Doesn’t it seem crazy that you may only end up spending six or seven hours of it actually with each other? First looks allow you to extend that timeframe, and you can take it as far as you like. Some of my couples even opt to get ready together to really maximise the whole day, sharing the experience. The more common first look practice is to get ready separately, then do a first look, followed by your bridal portraits will add around 1.5 hours together that you wouldn’t otherwise have had.

You gain a bonus once in a lifetime moment

Talk to anyone who has done a first look and they will tell you that seeing each other beforehand absolutely did NOT detract from the emotion and experience of walking down the aisle and seeing your loved one at the end of it. If anything, you are actually gaining an additional once in a lifetime moment by allowing you the intimate experience of the first look beforehand. The two experiences are completely different and therefore, still perfectly unique and incredibly beautiful.

You’ll be more relaxed for the ceremony

If the idea of walking down the aisle in front of all of those invited guests and facing the person you’re going to marry makes you nervous, then a first look could be the perfect way to settle the nerves. Take the pressure off of seeing one another in front of everyone by doing it in a more intimate environment and share that special moment just with each other. It will calm you before the big ceremony knowing that’s out of the way.


Daylight savings

If your wedding lies within daylight savings, roughly from October to April, as the vast majority of weddings do, you will most likely be having your first look during the worst time of the day for light and heat. The light from the middle of the day will be right above you, which can result in unflattering shadows. The later in the day, the softer and more flattering the light becomes. However, you can often find a verandah or large tree to shelter from the mid-afternoon sun.

Spend some time alone after the ceremony

As much as one of the major reasons for holding a wedding is to celebrate with your closest friends and family, it will also be overwhelming as you will never have received as much attention in your life.
I find that a lot of couples actually love the opportunity to leave the wedding behind after the ceremony to head out on the property to celebrate their marriage in what may be one of the only intimate moments of the wedding. You can return to the wedding fully charged for your grand entrance.

Everyone is far more relaxed

Leaving your bridal portraits until after the ceremony usually makes for a more relaxed session. Completing the ceremony usually translates into everyone easing into photos and committing to being in the moment, hanging out and celebrating the marriage.

The state of your dress/suit

If the idea of walking down the aisle in front of all of those invited guests and facing the person you’re going to Waiting until after your ceremony and bridal party photos, to do your bridal portraits may risk your dress being dirty. We’re usually going to be off taking those bridal photos in the most spectacular parts of the property. This could mean traipsing up hills, through vineyards, along gravel driveways, climbing hay bails and wading through long grass to get the most epic shots.