At first glance this might seem like a trivial decision, but in reality, several things, like your wedding day schedule, hinge on whether or not you choose to include a first look.
So, what exactly is a first look? It is a time scheduled before the ceremony for the bride and groom to have a private or semi-private moment where the groom gets his "first look" at the bride in all her wedding day glory.
In contrast many couples go a more traditional route, waiting until the ceremony to see each other.
As a photographer I must admit, I like the first look. However, as a bride I chose the traditional way, and I'm still happy with that choice.
So, future bride and groom, the question is what should you do? Let me start by saying that neither choice is wrong. There are pros and cons to either option, but ultimately it comes down to what fits you.
Benefits of a waiting until the ceremony
Tradition: This is probably the main reason that couples choose this option. There is something special about doing a thing in the way that your mother, and her mother, and her mother before her did it. (Fear not, Pinterest inspired brides, there are still plenty of fun photos you can take together without seeing each other!)
Guests: You've invited all of your friends and family to come and watch you wed, Your guests may want to witness this tender moment when you first lay eyes on each other. Being surrounded by your family and friends for this moment may be what you'd prefer as well.
Not staged: Scheduling a time and place, positioning each person, and being directed when to look can all feel a bit forced. Of course, the groom will be happy to see his bride at any point, but allowing it to happen in the course of the ceremony may feel more natural and candid.
Anticipation: Going through your preparations separately, waiting expectantly to see each other, builds a fun sense of anticipation. If you're a bit nervous about being in front of a crowd, looking forward to seeing that one person you love so much, might be a welcome distraction.
Benefits of a First Look
Photos: If getting incredible photos of this moment is really important to you, a first look might be the way to go. You can choose a beautiful setting and take the time to get a variety of shots from different angles. This also means you can schedule more time for group and couple photos without leaving your guests waiting.
Time: Once you've seen each other, you can go ahead and get all of your photography done before the ceremony. Then, you can spend the time after the ceremony relaxing together, and arrive at the reception as quickly as you like.
Relaxing: If you're a bit nervous about the ceremony, being together can ease some of that tension. Your soon-to-be spouse is likely the person you feel the most comfortable around and the one who knows just how to help you relax and forget the millions of last minute questions you'll probably be peppered with.
Being Together: If you have a late afternoon or evening wedding, you may want to consider a first look, so you aren't spending the majority of your wedding day apart. The sooner you get to see each other, the more time you have to enjoy each other's company on the day that is in fact, about you two being together.
There are plenty of factors to consider here, but the great news is both options have great perks!
Now, we'd love to hear from you! Wedding veteran, let us know what you did and why. Future brides (and grooms), feel free to ask questions or let us know what you are planning.