Pros and Cons of Doing a First Look at a Wedding

Deciding whether or not to have a first look at a wedding is one of those deeply personal choices that can shape the whole experience of your big day. The first look, where the couple sees each other before the ceremony, comes with its own set of pros and cons. Come along as I break down if you should do a first look to help you decide what’s best for you.

Pros of a First Look

Emotional Connection

Sharing an intimate moment before the ceremony can be very emotional. It’s a special time to be able to connect privately and away from the crowd. This can help calm any pre-wedding jitters you may be feeling. This moment can be incredibly significant, providing a beautiful memory that you can cherish forever!

Private Moment

Without an audience, you can express your feelings genuinely and without any pressure. This private time allows for authentic reactions and tender moments that are just for the two of you! It gives you both a chance to share your excitement, tears and joy in an intimate and personal setting.

Extended Photography Time

Having a first look provides an opportunity for some extended photography time before the ceremony starts. This can result in more relaxed and creating portraits, since there’s less rush. You’re able to take your tine, try different poses and capture the beauty of your venue without the pressure of sticking to a tight schedule!


Seeing each other beforehand can streamline the day’s timeline. It offers a lot of flexibility in scheduling and can reduce any stress you may be feeling. This will make the day flow more smoothly. By getting some of the photos out of the way earlier in the day, you can enjoy more of the night without worrying about fitting in all the essential shots later in the evening.

Enjoy the Reception Sooner

With formal photos taken care of before the ceremony, you can join the cocktail hour or reception immediately after your ceremony. This means you will have more time to celebrate with your loved ones! You’ll be able to fully dive into the festivities without having to step away for a photo session, which tends to be lengthy.

Cons of a First Look

Traditional Expectations

Some couples cherish the tradition of seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony. This can heighten the anticipation and emotions of the event! If you’ve always dreamed of that magical moment when your eyes meet as you walk down the aisle, sticking to the more traditional route may be the way to go.

Lost Surprise Element

The first look can diminish the surprise of seeing each other as the bride walks down the aisle. For many, this moment is one they’ve envisioned their whole lives! The buildup of that walk can be so emotionally powerful. Some couples prefer to experience it in the traditional setting.


Coordinating a first look involves some extra planning. You need to figure out the timing, location and ensure the couple doesn’t accidentally see each other beforehand. This added layer of planning can be a bit stressful and requires careful coordination with your photographer and wedding planner.

Additional Stress

To add on to the above, it may cause additional stress. While a first look can alleviate nerves for some, it might add to the pressure of the day for others! The anticipation of the first look can sometimes increase anxiety, making it challenging to stay calm and relaxed.

Alyssa Flores | Santa Barbara Wedding + Couples Photographer

Ultimately, the choice to do a first look at a wedding boils down to what feels right for you as a couple. It’s about aligning with your vision for your wedding day and creating the most meaningful experience for you!

If you’re in the process of planning your wedding and need a photographer to capture these moments, I’d love to help. Whether you choose a first look at a wedding or not, I’ll be there to ensure every moments is beautifully captured. Contact me today to discuss your photography needs!