Wedding Tips of Doing a First Look or to Wait | Western Wedding Photographer Rebecca Beatty

Some of the most popular questions I am asked by couples that are planning for their special day is; How important is a first look? What is a first look?

Simple! A first look is the first time a couple gets to see one another before the walk down the aisle! It’s a private moment between Groom and Bride and no one else! (Well other than than your handy dandy trusty photographer of course!)

Me personally, I have photographed a handful of wedding where we did a first look and here are the pros to having one!

  • Say good-bye to all the stress, fears, and jitters! You get a moment to just relax, breathe, and be with that one person that makes everything better.
  • Sometimes with waiting until after the ceremony you lose time on walking into the reception and seeing all the smiling faces! So if you don’t wanna miss cocktail hour (or grabbing something to eat, cause let’s be honest, if I was bride, food may be one of the top things on my mind) then planning a first look is beneficial!
  • Did I mention this is a private moment? The best part of a first look is the privacy! I’ll plan with y’all to have the groom arrive first and then the bride comes up behind him and at that moment there’s no more posing. A little direction here and there, but 95% of the time I let y’all talk and relax!
  • As mentioned in the second pro, having a first look does give us more time for photos! If you’re having a late ceremony (around sunset) then having a first look saves time and avoids shooting photos in the dark!
  • My last pro for having a first look, you have more time to just live in the moment! This is your wedding day! Not just any normal session or photoshoot! You need to have fun and just live it up!

Now even though we discussed the pros, what are the cons for having a first look?

  • My first con of a first look, sometimes they can make things run behind. If we’re already running behind on time, and we have about thirty minutes before you walk down that aisle, then having a first look is just going to make us run even more behind.
  • Some couples want their parents, siblings, closest friends to be a part of their special day. So when you do a first look with privacy, they’re not going to be a part of that moment. So if you want their reactions captured just as much as yours or your fiancés, then not having a first look is more ideal for you.
  • Not a morning person? Then I don’t recommend a first look! Let’s be honest y’all. When it comes to first looks, you have to get up earlier, you have to get ready earlier, and then you have approximately an hour to wait around until the ceremony starts.
  • Another reason, your dress may (more than likely) get dirty. Not to mention if you have your hair and makeup team for a limited amount of time, and you know you will be getting emotional, then I highly recommend not having a first look.
  • To some, first looks are not ideal because they don’t have that feeling of being officially married. You won’t have both wedding bands on, you won’t have that feeling of married couple just yet either.
  • What if I’m strongly against it? My fiancé is not feeling it, is that ok? These are perfect reasons on why not to do a first look! If you’re against it and want to stick to tradition, then do that! Don’t let other pressure you, or other opinions change your mind!
  • And the most emotional con, is brides do believe it can ruin that one emotional moment down the aisle. “I want him to cry when he sees me the first time walking down the aisle”, if that’s your thought, then don’t plan a first look. BUT! I will be honest, I have seen some first look where they were emotional, and then when that music started to play and the bridal party started to walk in, and then my couple makes eye contact, and the emotions start back up again. So even though that’s a reasonable con, it’s not always the case.

Overall, the final question to this post is, “Rebecca, what do you think we should do?”


This type of decision isn’t mine -and never will be- to make or anyone else’s. This is a decision for you and your fiancé to discuss and see where you stand. This day isn’t a normal day, or a normal photoshoot, this is your wedding! This should be a decision y’all make, not based on someone else’s opinion or pressure!

If you don’t know if a first look is right for you, feel free to message me, or if you have a photographer booked, message them and ask for their thoughts! I’ll be more than happy to discuss with you your ideas, needs, and your wedding in general!