It used to be unheard of for a groom to see the bride before the ceremony. Not anymore! Will you jump on the first look bandwagon?  Written by Micaela Fischer. Photos by Alicia’s Photography 

first look

It takes a lot to shake up time-honored rituals, especially ones as cherished as wedding traditions. Chief among these formalities is couples waiting until the ceremony to see their betrothed for the first time. The suspense of couples not seeing each other before the ceremony lends magic to weddings that tugs at our inner romantic. But recently, this beloved custom has been upstaged by a modern addition to the wedding ritual arsenal: the first look.

Once considered a wedding taboo, the first look allows couples to share an intimate moment together before saying “I do.”  As a practice quickly gaining traction, you might consider skipping old-school conventions to embrace this new tradition for the following reasons:

Guarantee a special moment alone together.

After the ceremony, you’ll likely be swept up in the dizzying festivities of your reception. Chances are, you won’t get the chance to candidly speak with your new spouse until after the celebrating is over.  The first look offers a chance to really connect with your beloved before getting caught up in all the revelries.

It’s an emotional moment where couples get to break away from prying eyes and truly be vulnerable with each other. So often weddings can feel like performances. A first look allows couples to drop the act for just a few moments and be real with each other. It’s also a great time to regroup and reaffirm your love before the ceremony.

first look
Escape the hustle & bustle of wedding day insanity.

You know it, we know it, everybody knows it: weddings are stressful.  Amid all the running around, finalizing details, and making sure everything is perfect—the first look offers a reprieve.  It’s a chance to slow down and focus on what really matters: your soon-to-be spouse.  In those moments, whatever crisis you were having with your florist can be temporarily put on the back burner.  All that matters is savoring those special memories with your fiancé.

Just think of the incredible photos!

Seeing your fiancé for the very first time on your wedding day will no doubt stir up some powerful emotions.  A good photographer will capture those magical, tender moments and immortalize them for you to revisit for years to come.

Also, once the first look is over you’ll have the opportunity to get most of your posed photos out of the way.  Couples that go the route of waiting until after the ceremony often miss some of their cocktail hour getting pictures of their bridal party.  Doing a first look frees up time to make sure you get all the photos you absolutely want before getting swept up in the day. That way, all you have to do during the reception is relax and enjoy the night!

All things considered, it’s easy to see why first looks are becoming so widespread. There are so many benefits—both logistic and romantic—that for many couples it seems to be an obvious choice.  On the other hand, some couples worry that a first look might water down the experience of walking down the aisle.  While it can be argued that a first look can add nuance and an even deeper emotional element to meeting your spouse at the altar, go with your gut. If you would rather have the thrill of waiting until the ceremony to see your fiancé, then full steam ahead!

Can’t get enough wedding advice? Head over to to see more, or check out Tips for Writing Your Own Vows!

Click edit button to change this text.