To First Sight or Not To First Sight

February 15 2016 by convey

Esparza-085FIRST LOOKThat is the question that every couple must make about their wedding ceremony.  Should the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony for a First Sight or should they wait to see each other until the ceremony?  There are benefits to either choice and both influence your photo timeline in ways you might not have considered.

First, some quick background.  Today, many couples choose to wait to see each other until the ceremony for the romance and excitement of it, but did you know that’s not how this tradition originated?  Kelsie Allen at shares that it started in the days when arranged marriages were the norm.  “[The bride’s father] feared that if the groom met the bride before the wedding and thought she wasn’t attractive, he’d call off the wedding, casting shame onto the bride and her family. Therefore, it became tradition that the bride and groom were only allowed to meet at the wedding ceremony so that the groom did not have the opportunity to change his mind.”

Aren’t we lucky that today’s weddings are more romantic than the arranged marriages of yesteryear?

So how does a first sight affect your photos and especially your photo timeline?  The primary influence it has on your timeline is when photos involving both the bride and groom can be taken.  With a first sight, all photos can be taken before the ceremony.  This allows for more time focusing just on the bride and groom and also for getting a lot of the traditional family shots.  If you’re a fan of natural light, a first look can also be beneficial since taking these photos before the ceremony means there will likely be more sunlight.

The tradition of waiting to see each other until the ceremony will also affect your photo timeline.  All photos with both the bride and groom will need to be taken between the ceremony and reception.  There are still plenty of shots that can be taken prior to the ceremony (bride w/bridesmaids, bride w/family, groom w/ groomsmen, groom w/family, etc), but the photos focusing specifically on the couple and the group shots that have both bride and groom can only be taken after the ceremony.  This will need to be taken into account when planning the start time for your reception and planning for what your guests will do until then.  Many couples plan a cocktail hour or a slide show to entertain their guests during this time.

Regardless of which you choose – first sight or waiting – it is important to communicate with your photographer about all timeline decisions.  At Convey Studios, we work with you every step of the way to create a realistic timeline that works with your vision.

Once a timeline has been finalized, it is also important to share the plan with all family & friends who will be photographed so everyone knows where they need to be and when.  A common hangup for timelines is when family members aren’t present and ready.  Consider delegating one family member from each side of the family to assist the photographer in finding the family members to be photographed.  This will help to keep things running smoothly.

Ultimately, the decision to have a first sight or to wait lies with you and your fiancé.  There is no wrong decision and your photographer will be able to work with either choice to create a timeline that fits with your vision.  Remember to communicate with everyone – photographer, friends, and family members – and everything should run smoothly and according to plan. And for more information, click here to learn more about our Dallas-Fort Worth Wedding Photography service!


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.


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