The First Look – Pros and Cons

Tradition dictates that the groom is not to see the bride before the wedding ceremony. This tradition is based on a time when arranged marriages were a custom and considered a business transaction. The father of the bride, who made a business deal with the groom or his family, would sometimes be concerned that the groom may back out of the agreement if he saw the bride in advance. Therefore, the bride covered her face with a veil so that the groom could not see her until they exchanged vows and were officially married. This wedding ritual has evolved into the contemporary superstition that it is bad luck to see the bride before the ceremony.

Today some couples still follow the tradition of waiting to see each other at the end of the aisle, others do not. The First Look, when couples choose to see each other in their wedding garb shortly before the ceremony, is becoming more popular. From my observations of witnessing both, here are the Pros and Cons of the First Look…


  • It can be a lovely private time between you and your fiancé (and the photographer at a distance). You may choose to have your wedding party and/or family present also.
  • It saves time – If you have a First Look, then all wedding party photos can be taken prior to the ceremony so that you and your wedding party can enjoy the entire cocktail time and reception after the ceremony.
  • It’s a relaxed time – the nerves of having all eyes on you, as in the ceremony, is not there.


  • Hair and makeup may need touch ups prior to the ceremony
  • If the weather is hot, flowers may begin to wilt
  • The wedding dress may pick up some dirt – My emergency bag usually has whatever is needed to rectify this problem.
  • Weather does not always cooperate. You should have a backup plan if the First Look is scheduled to be outdoors

Photo credit: Sandor Welsh Photography