The Pros and Cons of Doing a 'First Look'

April 12, 2021

A first look is the term used when a couple sees each other before their wedding ceremony, rather than waiting to get their first glimpse of each other at the altar.

If you are undecided about whether you and your partner will do a ‘first look’ before walking down the aisle on your wedding day, then you’ve come to the right place! A first look is the term used when a couple sees each other before their wedding ceremony, rather than waiting to get their first glimpse of each other at the altar. First looks make for great photos since there is so much raw emotion that can be captured between the couple. But others will say that it breaks wedding tradition and superstitions since it is thought to be bad luck if you see your spouse before walking down the aisle during the ceremony. The Sutherland Raleigh wedding venue has had plenty of couples do a first look before saying “I do”, with just as many couples nixing it altogether, waiting to see each other at the altar. We want to share the pros and cons of doing a first look, so that you and your partner can ultimately decide for yourselves.


Pro: You save time by taking the bulk of your photos together before the ceremony.

Con: You have to start getting ready earlier. 

Once the first look happens, your photographer can go ahead and start taking pictures of the couple with their wedding party. This will save time after the ceremony, getting everyone to the reception sooner. On the other hand, doing a first look will require the couple to start their day even earlier to allow time for the photographer to take adequate pictures before the ceremony at their Raleigh wedding venue.

Nerves & Emotions

Pro: A first look could ease any pre-ceremony nerves.

Con: Having a first look before the ceremony won’t feel candid.

The first time a couple sees each other on their wedding day will be special, regardless of who witnesses it. Some couples would rather have their first look with no witnesses, except for their photographer, who can capture all of the raw emotions up close. Whereas other couples think that might be awkward and feel too staged, and prefer a more candid first look in front of their wedding party and guests. 

Finishing Touches

Pro: You can get your tears out before the ceremony and have time to touch up makeup if needed. 

Con: Your dress could get dirty and your flowers could end up looking disarranged. 

Doing your first look before the wedding could help get some of the waterworks out beforehand. Your first look photos will be that much more emotional and moving, and you'll have plenty of time for a quick makeup touch-up before the ceremony. On the contrary, taking photos before the ceremony puts your dress and flowers at risk of not looking as fresh when you walk down the aisle at your Raleigh wedding venue. You will have put a lot of thought and effort into achieving your final look before saying”I do”, and a first look could compromise those little details and finishing touches that you have always dreamt about on your wedding day.

The Sutherland Raleigh Wedding Venue

If you and your partner still cannot agree after going through these first look photo pros and cons, you could always consider doing a “first touch” with your future spouse, a first look with your family members or wedding party instead, or do a first look with your partner without your veil or other accessories to not give away the whole look. Ultimately, the choice lies between you and your partner. Either way, the Sutherland Raleigh wedding venue guarantees the moment that you and your fiancé see each other for the first time on your big day will be special, memorable, and full of love!

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