Let me preface this post by sharing that I DID NOT have a first look at my own wedding.

So, if you love the tradition of having your groom see you for the very first time as you walk down the aisle, I totally get it. I was the same way! I wanted it to be a magical moment just like in the movies. I wanted to see his face at the exact moment he saw me for the first time and I wanted it to be right as we were about to be united in marriage forever. I was 100% confident in my decision.

And I regret it.

Was the moment magical? Totally. Did I receive amazing portraits of his expression when he saw me? You bet. Did we also spend over half of our wedding day actively avoiding each other so he wouldn't see me in my dress? Also yes.

So here are a few reasons of why I wish I would have had a First Look with my husband - and why I think you should too!

One. You should be spending the most important day in your relationship TOGETHER!

After all, isn't that kind of the whole point? I imagine your future spouse is probably your favorite person - that's why you're marrying them! So why wouldn't you want to spend the best day of your life with your favorite person? When I got married, I didn't even get a chance to actually talk to my husband until after our ceremony, when we were being bombarded by guests and needing to rush off to get all of our portraits taken. I felt like we were being pulled in a million different directions and we never got a chance to pause and soak it all in. Needless to say, it was not ideal. You're getting married so that you will be together forever. Why delay that one more day?

Two. A First Look allows for a seamless, low-stress timeline.

With a First Look on the agenda, you're able to knock out all the important portraits that you'll want with your wedding party, family members, and as a couple BEFORE your ceremony, which means you have a lot more time for celebrating AFTER your ceremony. It also means your guests can get right to celebrating with you too (cocktail hour anyone??) instead of having to awkwardly wait for hours between your ceremony and reception. During my own wedding, I felt like I couldn't enjoy taking all the couple's portraits I was looking forward to because I was feeling unexpectedly guilty about making our guests wait for dinner. I felt like I needed to step into my "host" duties and keep things rolling instead of actually enjoying myself - not a great feeling to have on your wedding day!

Three. A First Look makes all of your formal portraits BETTER.

Okay, so maybe this is really more like 2.5 - but here me out. When you have a First Look on your timeline, it allows all of your portraits to be taken before the ceremony. Yes, we said that. But here are some EXTRA bonuses for having your formal portraits taken at an earlier time:

  • Everyone has just gotten ready and they all look their absolute best. Hair? Secured. Makeup? Perfect. Sweat stains? Non-existent. Spots or spills? Not for a mile. Everyone in your wedding party and all of your family members look amazing - and that's how you'll want to remember it!
  • It's early in the day and everyone is pumped up and feeling good! No one is hungry or tired or complaining about the weather (hot OR cold!) - the buzz & excitement of the day is going strong and that makes for some big, natural smiles.
  • Portrait time moves quickly & efficiently because everyone is already there and attentive. They don't have anywhere else to be! You don't have to worry about tracking down each and every person you want a picture with - no one has wandered to the bar or is busy mingling with other guests. They know what time they need to arrive and they are focused & ready.

Four. A First Look is actually MORE magical than the wait-for-the-aisle tradition.

You have the opportunity to make your First Look whatever you want it to be. Some couples will exchange gifts or personalized vows. Some will write each other letters or have a private "first dance." No matter what you do, a First Look guarantees alone time on your wedding day so that you can focus on what really matters - your love for each other. Your wedding day will go by so quickly, and if you don't schedule a time specifically for you two to be alone, it's probably not going to happen. (It didn't for us!) We can still capture your groom's face as he sees you for the first time - and honestly, it will probably be an even better shot! Think about it: nothing will be in the way to obstruct the view AND no one will be watching - so your groom will be 100% comfortable to show his true emotions (and tears!).

At the end of the day, your wedding is all about the two of YOU! You get to decide exactly how you want to celebrate and nothing else matters. You want to have a First Look? COOL! I 100% support you. You want to wait until the aisle? AWESOME! I 100% support you too. Do what makes you both happy.

It's YOUR day!