First Look, First Touch or Neither: The Pros and Cons You Should Know

January 3, 2021

Nowadays the concept of a first look has become wildly popular amongst couples for a multitude of reasons. Depending on the location, time of year and photographer schedules, you may find yourself faced with the decision of whether or not to plan a first look before your wedding ceremony. There are a few pros and cons for each option that we think you all should know about!

Photo by Amber McWhorter Photography

Planning a First Look

Having a first look prior to the ceremony can be extremely helpful for couples that get married in the Fall or Winter once Daylight Savings Time has passed. In this case, the bride and groom would have a private exchange before the ceremony where he would see the bride before she goes down the aisle (and capture a couple portraits at the same time!). 

Pros: Having a first look allows the bride and groom to get their photos done before the ceremony as opposed to after so that they can immediately join in on their happy hour or post-ceremony celebrations. For those couples getting married in the evening when the sun sets early, this is also an opportunity to capture photos before natural light runs low (most photographers prefer to shoot with natural light). This also allows for an intimate moment for the couple prior to their ceremony to exchange vows (if desired), take photos and get out their pre-ceremony jitters!

Cons: Many brides prefer not to be seen before coming down the aisle – this way you get a raw reaction during your ceremony from your loved ones. We find that that is the biggest turn off for couples when choosing to do a first look, especially if they are trying to keep some aspects of their ceremony traditional. 

Photo by Caroline Thomas Photography

Planning a First Touch

If you’re still trying to keep those traditional elements but want to exchange vows privately or have some alone time prior to your ceremony, this could be a great option for you! A first touch is usually a scenario where the bride(s) and groom(s) will remain back to back, meet at a corner and hold hands or any other arrangement in their space that allows the bride to still be unseen. 

Pros: Having a first touch allows for a private experience to share vows with one another and makes for a great photo opportunity! This option allows you to have the first look feel without ruining the surprise when you come down the aisle. 

Cons: If the couple still wants to take their own portraits together (where they would be looking at one another) those would still need to be planned for after the ceremony. If you’re short on time or only have a photographer booked for a limited number of hours, this could create a hiccup for capturing all photos in time. 

Photo by Anna Passard Photography

No First Look or First Touch

Of course, you can always choose to skip both options! No first look or first touch means that you’ll keep the ceremony flow like most traditional weddings. Some brides really love the element of surprise when coming down the aisle and we can’t lie, the raw emotion during the ceremony can be a real tear jerker! 

Pros: No need to plan for a first touch or first look photo slot before the ceremony occurs! This creates a great opportunity for your photographer or videographer to capture your partner’s expression as you come down the aisle. 

Cons: For couples getting married later in the day when the sunlight is scarce, you may be a bit rushed to capture all of your images before the sun completely sets. Make sure to plan appropriately with your photographer, videographer and wedding coordinators to build the day-of schedule properly. 


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