We know what some of you are thinking. A first look? That’s crazy!! Don’t you know it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding??? But no, we’re not crazy. And neither are the hundreds of brides and grooms that decided to have a first look on their wedding days.
We just don’t believe in bad luck. Especially when it comes to marriage. We know that marriages aren’t based on luck. Marriages are hard work! And they survive based on communication, trust, and a mutual respect & love for one another. They don’t survive simply because one person didn’t see the other before walking down the aisle. Let’s take a look at where this tradition even started to understand why so many couples are throwing it aside.
Why it’s Bad Luck to See the Bride Before the Ceremony
Back in the day when marriages were still arranged by the parents, the bride and groom did not see each other at all before the wedding day. They had never met, had a conversation, or spent any time together. So they definitely weren’t in love. It was a business transaction mostly. And the bride’s parents didn’t want to risk the agreement falling through. They were afraid that if the groom saw the bride before the ceremony, he would call off the wedding. In other words, they thought she was so ugly that no one could possibly stay with her if they saw her, so they had to trick the groom into a commitment before that could happen.
That is where the veil comes in.. They would hide the bride’s face until the last possible moment – once they had both already said “I do” and the transaction was complete – and then he would lift the veil to reveal his new, hideous wife. Surprise!
What a romantic sentiment, right? NO! It’s terrible. Obviously, things don’t work like that anymore (at least not in our culture) but it does still seem like a pretty strange tradition to follow.
We understand that there’s a ton of other reasons that couples decide not to have a first look, but we’ll take you through the pros and cons and then you can decide for yourself.
Pros of Having a First Look
- You’ll have a moment to relax before the ceremony. It’s already been a busy morning, and your emotions are all over the place. Why not take a minute alone together to calm down before the real commotion of the day begins?
- It’s more intimate, which means there’s less pressure. Since it’s just the two of you, you don’t have to hide your emotions or fight to hold yourself together walking down the aisle. You don’t have to worry about the hundreds of eyes staring back at you, just waiting to see your reactions. You just get to be yourselves! So you can cry as much as you want. Or laugh. Or hug. Kiss. Dance. Jump up & down. Whatever it is that you two do together to help calm your nerves and prepare you for the rest of the day. You’ll have the chance to do it during the first look.
- You can get the tears out of the way. If you’re a more emotional couple and know that you’re going to be fighting back tears throughout the whole ceremony, have a first look and get them all out before. It’ll help you relax and give you the confidence to get through those vows without blubbering. (Your guests will thank you for that one.) While it doesn’t work for everyone, it definitely helps.
- You’ll have more time together and with your guests. You can do all of the couple’s photos before the ceremony and then dedicate all the time after to spend with family and friends. If you want to enjoy your cocktail hour, this is your best option.
- If you have a late ceremony, you’ll still have time to take photos with the natural light beforehand.
Cons of a First Look
- Tradition. You may not want to honor the tradition of arranged marriages, but if you still like the idea of not seeing each other before the ceremony, the first look is probably not for you.
- No one else gets to see your reaction. At least not until they see the photos. If you want to share that moment with all of your guests, save it for when you’re walking down the aisle.
- It can feel awkward. There’s a big build-up and high expectations, and when you don’t get as big of a reaction as you were hoping for, it can feel disappointing.
- If you have an early ceremony, you may not have enough time for a first look. You’ll have to start getting ready even earlier, which means the day may feel too rushed. If this is your only reason for not having one, reach out to us and we can help build you a personal timeline to ensure you get those photos!
These Photos May Help You Decide!
Not Convinced? Have a First Touch Instead
If you’ve made it this far, but you’re still feeling unsteady about the idea of a first look, consider having a first touch instead. You won’t actually see each other, but you can hold hands and talk to each other which will still help you calm those nerves without breaking tradition.
Or you can do like the couple below, where the bride could see the groom, but he couldn’t see her.
Still Not Into the Idea? Try These Instead
If you’re still reading but shaking your head (and thinking you don’t want anything to do with your groom on your wedding day until you’re walking down the aisle), another fun option is to have a first look with your dad or with your bridesmaids. Check out the photos below to get some ideas.
First Look With Father of the Bride
First Look With Bridesmaids
If you want to see even more photos, check out our wedding gallery.
Whether the first look is for your girls, your dad, or your husband-to-be, whoever is there will be ecstatic to see you in your wedding dress for the first time! And all those smiles, claps, cheers, and tears will make you feel even more beautiful than you already do. They’ll give you a special light in your heart that you can carry with you for the rest of the day.