Pros & Cons: First Looks Versus Ceremony

October 15 2018 by convey

The best part of there being so many different wedding traditions? There’s no right or wrong way to celebrate – it’s really all up to you!

Pros & Cons: First Looks Versus Ceremony

Today, we’re taking a look at that storied, sacred moment of a groom seeing his bride in her wedding dress for the first time. Everyone can agree that is a special, heartwarming moment, but how and when it happens tends to vary. Do you guys have a private first look to see each other before you walk down the aisle, or do you prefer the element of emotional surprise as the groom sees his bride for the first time at the altar? Let’s explore!

Pros & Cons: First Looks Versus Ceremony


  • You get the advantage of having some quiet alone time before the ceremony. For many couples, this can be a calming and grounding moment.
  • There is the chance to take some really great photos in one of the rare pauses of the day versus all the shots that will be hurried, posed or during the ceremony later on.
  • Seasonal timing can come in to play. For instance, if you’re having a winter wedding, you only have natural light until around 5 o’clock in the afternoon and so this first look can afford you some critical photos.
  • It’s a private experience you and your partner can share on a day filled with almost zero alone time.


  • It’s a break from tradition! If you don’t want to be too modern in your nuptials, this is a pretty stark departure.
  • A first look can sometimes build pressure rather than release it – there may be expectations of emotion that, if they’re not met, can lead for some discomfort going into the ceremony.
  • You simply may not have time! Weddings are already jam-packed so throwing an extra step in there can be a lot.
  • It may feel a little awkward if you set it up as a fully private moment but then are still witnessed by photographers, videographers, etc. making it potentially less intimate and more awkward.

Pros & Cons: First Looks Versus Ceremony


  • There is something timeless and romantic about a groom seeing his bride as she walks down the aisle – it’s often called a magical moment.
  • Your timeline will be protected. You have a lot going on on your wedding day – throwing one more ‘to do’ in the mix can be overwhelming.
  • If you’re doing an earlier ceremony, there very well may not even be time!
  • Those photos and the film of your husband’s eyes lighting up at the ceremony will be magical.


  • You have the potential to get so swept up in the business of the day that you are taken out of the moment and may not register or fully appreciate that detail in the myriad of emotions and thoughts that run through your mind as you walk the aisle.
  • You could lose out on some special photos of just the two of you.
  • If you value intimacy, skipping the first look could mean you lose out on sharing something very private for all time.
  • You’ll get more time with your guests if you do your first look photos prior to the ceremony, rather than rushing for pictures between the wedding and the reception.


At the end of the day, both are beautiful, wonderful options – it’s up to you, your partner, and truly no one else.


About Author

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Sesha Smith
Owner & Photographer of Convey Studios

Sesha has been photographing weddings since 1998. She has so many favorite things from photographing weddings that she can’t pick just one: the bride’s mom helping her daughter get her wedding dress on, the first time a groom sees the bride and he tries to hold back tears.