The First Look

Should You See Each Other Before the Wedding Ceremony?

One question that revolves around the mind of the bride and groom before every wedding ceremony is whether they should see each other or not. There is no right or wrong answer to this; only the way which you feel most comfortable. Ask a traditional minded person and he or she will tell you that seeing your spouse before the ceremony brings misfortune and takes away from the charm of the ceremony. And many couples now are finding their own paths that work best for them and their guests.

From my experience, I've seen the wedding day run more smoothly when the bride and the groom do a first look before the ceremony.
 
A BEAUTIFUL PRIVATE MOMENT

Your first look is the perfect opportunity for you two to shower some much valued compliments on one another. He can tell you how beautiful you look. You will embrace and share a private moment together.  The first look becomes an additional special part of your day. I've seen that meeting help the bride and the groom ease their nervousness and calm themselves down before the ceremony too.

On the flip side, when seeing each for the first time at the start of your ceremony, your partner is waiting for you with everyone watching. The music is playing, and there is the imminent feeling to start the ceremony. 

CEREMONY IS STILL SPECIAL WITH A FIRST LOOK

Perhaps the best moment of any wedding is when the bride slowly makes her way to the ceremony and leaves the groom struck with awe and sheer ecstasy at the sight of his wife to be. The expression on the face of the groom at this moment could be very special. It's normal to think a first look would ruin this moment during your ceremony, but the truth is that some of my most expressive and emotional ceremony photos were on weddings where the couple did a first look and saw each other before the ceremony. In all of these weddings, the couple did a first look, and the ceremony was still beautiful (Katie + Anthony, Juliette + James, Erika + Frank).  After photographing hundreds of weddings, I've seen this to be consistently true.  
 
ENJOY COCKTAIL HOUR

Everybody always says that the wedding day is a blur.  It's because you have so many important people to celebrate with you, and there's only so much time to say hi to everybody. When you do a first look before the ceremony, you'll have time to take the photos of the two of you, your wedding party, and perhaps even your family members prior to the ceremony.  If you guys skip the first look, then the only time to take portraits is during cocktail hour.  Visiting your cocktail hour also minimizes your need to run around during the reception greeting each table, which gives you the benefit of enjoying your delicious dinner and your party.  And don't worry, if the light is great in the evening, I will let you know, and we can always sneak out for a few photos at sunset. 
 
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to see each other before the wedding ceremony. The key is to speak with your partner about his or her feelings. But in the end, regardless of your decision, I promise you'll have great photos, and you’ll be married!  Congratulations!