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To first look or not to first look…

To first look or not to first look

Northernlight Filmworks

The wedding industry is filled with new creativity and ideas. The personality and brand of each couple is able to be portrayed through their big day. Many people fully dive into the new creative styles of weddings and ditch the old traditional ways. Others, however, find that tradition is something to be cherished and followed. Regardless of how you personally feel, there is value in weighing the pros and cons of the treasured first look between the bride and groom.

If you’re anything like me, you weigh the pros and cons with every situation you encounter. My wedding day will be no different. I will look at every possibility to hopefully help capture the perfect day I have always dreamed of. One of the most intimate moments of the wedding ceremony between the bride and the groom is simply when they first lay eyes on each other.

This is such an important part of the wedding as brides and grooms have both spoke of this feeling of having tunnel vision. They don’t even see anything else in the room, they only see each other. While this is sweet and charming some would rather have this deeply intimate moment between just them. The question is whether to have the first look before the ceremony or during the ceremony.


Jane & Jason 1st look from Northernlight Filmworks on Vimeo.

Ryan & Christine first look from Northernlight Filmworks on Vimeo.

Pros of “to first look”:

  • One of the first pros of “to first look” is that both the bride and groom get to experience the first look moment together in privacy. This may be something that they have photographed but ultimately privacy is the main point. The couple will have the opportunity to get a lot of emotion out before the ceremony.
  • A perk to seeing each other before the ceremony is that it allows for time for photos so that photos are not being done between the ceremony and the reception. This can also give the best lighting for the photographer/videographer.
  • If you decide to look this can give you time to calm your excited nerves. Many people describe their significant other as one that helps to relax them or calm them down. This can be a great tool for an anxious bride or groom to comfort one another.


Cons of “to first look”:

  • The ceremony may be less emotional and more practical. I am not saying that the ceremony will not be emotional but you may lose out on that “wow” moment.
  • Traditions can be a con to looking at each other prior to the wedding. Not only does looking at each other follow some superstition, but also it is non-traditional.


Jake and Kristen 1st look down isle from Northernlight Filmworks on Vimeo.

John + Kaitlin 1st look down the isle from Northernlight Filmworks on Vimeo.

Pros of “not to first look”:

  • Speaking of traditions, not looking at each other before the ceremony is more on the traditional side. It goes way back. I’ll let you look up the history if you feel so inclined.
  • One of my favorite pros to “not to first look” is simply that there is this amazing moment between bride and groom. This is something that is not only special to the couple but also special to the friends and family who are also experiencing this day.
  • Excitement follows the bride all of the way until the aisle. The excitement of finally seeing the man she will marry for the first time all day can be overwhelming (in a good way). Those who chose to “not first look” may be more excited for the actual ceremony.


Cons of “not to first look”:

  • A con to not looking is certainly the issue of, “When will photos take place?” Photos may have to happen between the ceremony and the reception, which can prolong many of the other parts of the day. This can also sometimes mean risking the best lighting or light at all for that matter.
  • Jitters/nervousness may be more prevalent without the comfort of seeing each other before the ceremony.


Like I said before, the world of weddings is becoming an increasingly more creative industry. This also allows for more creative approaches to the “to first look or not to first look” debate. In fact there are many alternatives within the realm of weddings that make each special day truly unique to each couple. Nothing is black or white. Weddings are not church bells or Las Vegas.

Katie + Kevin Alternative 1st Look from Northernlight Filmworks on Vimeo.

Alternatives to first looks:

  • Being blindfolded where you can still touch the person but not see them. There is a lot of superstition that follows weddings that stray from traditional but there certainly are ways to get around that.
  • Other brides and grooms may choose to read letters from each other. There are many ways to go about this as well.
    • Some have slid the letters under doors that hold in the anxious bride/groom.
    • Others have stood around a door holding hands while reading the letters that they wrote.


Ultimately the message is simple. Every bride and grooms big day is special in their own way. In the same way that the world is one’s oyster, allow your wedding to be too. Make it your own, whether you choose traditional, non-traditional or somewhere in between. This day is one that while you may obsess over the details and weigh every decision, you will truly be happy when you realize that this day is more than that.


Posted on March 2nd, 2017 in Northernlight Filmworks, Wedding Planning - Tips
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