The First Look: Pros and Cons

To have or to hold off?

The first look is a popular trend that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Before the ceremony, the couple sees each other for the first time on the wedding day in their wedding attire. What seems like a simple choice in the planning process can actually be quite polarizing. But, for the bride who can’t decide, I’m laying it out in true Erica Jordan fashion: the trusty pro/con.


  • The Timeline: Let’s just get this one out of the way. As your wedding planner, I can’t stress enough how the first look strengthens the flow of your big day. It allows pictures and video of the wedding party to begin before the ceremony, taking away the need to fill time and keep your guests entertained in  between the ceremony and reception. 
  • Hair and Makeup: Speaking of pictures, when you’re able to have them taken before the ceremony, the women’s hair and make-up is as fresh as possible. If your pictures or ceremony is outside, I highly recommend giving this point a little more weight when trying to decide. 
  • Privacy: Just look at  Zach! The first look allows an intimate moment before the whirlwind of the day. When it’s just the two of you, you’re free to just… feel. On top of the raw emotion, this secluded moment is one you’ll replay in your mind’s eye forever. 
  • Time Together: If just the thought of walking down the aisle (or watching your love walk) makes your heart start pounding, you might benefit from some one-on-one time with your fiancé before the big moment. Not only can this moment calm you down, but it can also turn nerves into pure excitement.


  • The “I’ve always dreamt of”: If you’re like me, you’ve imagined your future spouse’s face a billion times as they see you for the first time walking down the aisle. If this moment stirs your heart and is the epitome of wedding day feels for you, don’t give that up! It’s your day, and it should be what you always imagined. 
  • Privacy means privacy: While a first look gives you and your love a moment to yourself, your family and wedding party are left out of that moment. If this worries you, just ask those you love how they feel; you might be surprised by the response. Now, planners and photographers can play with windows and other props if you’d like to subtly let others into the moment.
  • An earlier day: The time saved between the ceremony and reception is made up before the ceremony. This means earlier bridal party arrival,  earlier hair and make-up, and early floral drop-offs (If you’re having a winter wedding, though, this saves and utilizes daylight!).
  • Photos before marriage: If you’re doing it for the timeline, you’re taking pictures before the ceremony… meaning you’re technically not married in your photos. Some care about this more than others. But consider that you won’t be wearing rings (or tell your planner you want to wear them anyway).

What they did

In my experience, couples that chose to forgo the first look were not disappointed. I often hear about that sweet moment of anticipation from the bride as she approaches her husband for the very first time on her wedding day. However, just as often I hear the first look didn’t take away that moment at all. The look on the groom’s face as he sees his bride makes me tear up every dang time. My biggest piece of advice is this: put you and your fiancé first. A great wedding planner can make any timeline flow beautifully, and a great photographer will create stunning images wherever, whenever. Either way you go, nothing could change that breathtaking moment – and I can almost guarantee I’ll cry at your wedding, too.

If you’re married, let us know what you and your spouse chose to do and why in the comments. Your input will be an immense help for our friends trying to decide!  

As always, we offer individual planning sessions at Erica Jordan Weddings. If you’re trying to decide what’s best for you, or if you’d like the best of both worlds, we would love to share our creative expertise with you! 

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