Is a First Look Right For You? Weigh These Pros and Cons

Planning Tips, Wedding Photography

Does it seem like everyone is doing a first look these days? That inkling is basically true, for nontraditional brides at least. "As weddings are shifting from the super traditional ballrooms settings to more unique venues and backdrops, couples are opting to forgo standard ceremony traditions and are inventing ones that are unique to them and their relationships," says Ashley Espinal, owner of Dulce Dream Events. "A first look is a great break from the tradition while keeping the traditional sense of marriage alive."

But even if you view yourself as a nontraditional bride, that doesn't automatically mean a first look is right for you and your future spouse. Here are some top pros and cons to consider before you make this pre-ceremony decision.

Pro: You get to enjoy your cocktail hour.
"It's a much more pleasant experience for couples to take their formal pictures before the ceremony since most want to greet their guests during cocktail hour," says Espinal.

Con: You must make an earlier start.
"You will eventually have a longer day ahead of you, because if makeup and hair were scheduled to begin at a certain hour, they will need to start at least another two hours earlier so you have the time to be ready for your first look," explains Espinal. So, too, will the rest of your wedding party's appointments.

Pro: You can take advantage of the best light.
"The most flattering pictures are taken in natural light, and you can make sure to get plenty of it if you do a first look before the ceremony," says Alia Wilson, West Coast manager of Firefly Events.

Con: You may have to pay your vendors for additional time.
"Especially if photo and video have come together as a package, an earlier start time means extra hours and a little bit of extra pay," says Espinal.

Pro: You can share a private moment with your soon-to-be husband.
"It can be really romantic and sweet to have that first moment in private," says Wilson. "It can also help relieve some of the nerves before the ceremony."

Finally, "you have to decide whether or not seeing each other before walking down the aisle is going to interfere with your idea of marriage and your ceremony," says Espinal.

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