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Is a First Look Right for You?!

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

First looks have become my passion project over the past year. Working alongside couples as they prepare and plan for their big day, I am always so curious to know their take on a first look. Each couple has their own unique reason as to why they decided to do or not to do a first look. I know some couples have their mind made up before even beginning to plan their wedding on which option they are choosing. Even if this is the case for you, I think it’s so lol important that you consider all the pros and cons of both options before deciding which one is better for you and your partner!

Before diving into the pros and cons list I have created throughout my years in wedding planning, I would love to walk you through my own first look experience.

June 24, 2022 - My Wedding Day

When the trend of doing a first look started becoming more popular, I could not wrap my head around it. As I was planning my own wedding, the one thing I was persistent on was not doing a first look. I wanted the ceremony to be the most special part of the day and I was convinced a first look would ruin that. However, a week before the wedding I changed my mind - and I am so beyond thankful that I did.

When I started to think through the real reason I was opposed to a first look, it all came down to dreaming of the big moment when I get to the top of the aisle and my husband and I see each other for the first time on our wedding day. I wanted that raw emotion to be felt and experienced by all my friends and family. I felt that by having a first look, we would lose that special moment during our ceremony. (Spoiler - my husband was more of an emotional wreck when I walked down the aisle than he was during our first look)

I absolutely loved my first look experience. From the moment I woke up on my wedding day, the only thing I wanted to do was see my soon-to-be husband. I was so grateful to have a special moment with him in private before all the commotion of our wedding began. Being able to spend time with him before reading my vows during the ceremony helped calm all my nerves.

I also made sure to find ways to experience this moment with our family and bridal party. As I walked up the hill to see my husband, our parents and bridal party waited down below. They were still able to experience our first-look, but it still felt intimate for my husband and I. Feel free to check out my first look photos below!!

Photos in this blog are captured by: Mikkelle Carlson Photography

Enough about me :)

Below you will find the pros and cons list I put together as I was debating between which option was best for my husband and I.

First Look

No First Look

Photography Schedule

​You are able to get most (if not all) of your photos out of the way prior to the wedding. This will allow you to be more present throughout your reception.

​Photos will be taken during your cocktail hour. Although you may not be present during this time, most guests are aware that the purpose of your cocktail hour is for you to be taking photos.

Experiencing this moment with family and friends

The first look is typically a private moment with you and your partner - however, there are many ways to include your family & friends in this moment.

All of your wedding guests get to experience this moment with you and your partner at the beginning of your ceremony.

Getting Ready Time

Since your first look typically takes place an hour or two prior to your ceremony, this means you will have to wake up earlier to start getting ready.

You will have extra time in your schedule to get ready and relax before the ceremony starts.

Bridal Party Time

​Your time alone with your bridal party may feel limited or rushed as you are preparing for your first look. However, after the first look it can be special to spend time with the entire wedding party prior to the ceremony.

You get more time with your bridal party, as you will just be spending time with them prior to ceremony. This can be super special to spend these special moments with your closest family and friends.


This typically takes place when your hair, makeup, and outfit look the freshest and the first look takes place right after you finish getting ready!

​You may want to spend time after your ceremony touching up before transitioning into photos. (especially if you are a cryer like me!!)

​The Moment

​An intimate moment between you and your partner prior to your ceremony. This gives you an opportunity to spend intimate time together before the wedding officially begins.

​Emotions tend to be higher as they have built up all day long leading up to this moment at the alter. All of your wedding guests are there to experience this moment with you as you walk down the aisle.

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