The Pros and Cons of a First Look • Rothweiler Event Designs


With all the hundreds of decisions to be made for a wedding, the decision of having a first look is probably one of the most debated. We love Daneille Rothweiler's perspective on it all, and if you're debating either scenario, this article will surely help you see it from both sides. 


The idea of a “first look” is still so new that many of my couples aren’t sure what I’m talking about when I ask their preference. But a quick look through some wedding magazines will show not just any first look photos, but overly creative ones including spins on the original idea. Personally, I did not have a first look and I wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, I prefer the first look to be the one that takes place walking down the aisle, but that’s me and sometimes I love tradition. There are pros and cons of a first look to consider before making the decision, so read on and let me know what you decide!


Pro: You can enjoy your cocktail hour with everyone else, including each other. Typically, there are so many photos that have to be taken and a couple doesn’t realize just how much time they will take. What you may think should only take a few minutes, could end up being over an hour. Sit down with your photographer and go over the list of people that need to be in the photos and the combinations you need as well, to find out how much time they will need. Based on that as well as a myriad of other timing issues, you might find yourself missing cocktail hour to take these photos. If that’s a deal breaker, then get that first look done before the wedding so that you can continue with all of the photos that include the both of you prior to the ceremony.

Con: You might have to start earlier than you want to. By pushing the first look to before the ceremony, the idea is to then take pictures with everyone together since you have already seen each other. This means that everyone will have to be ready sooner including being completely dressed with hair and make up already done. Find out how much time these photos will take and work with your stylists to figure out just how early everyone has to wake up in order to be ready for these photographs.

Pro: A first look can be as simple as walking down a pathway and tapping your fiance on the shoulder or as elaborate as descending a grand staircase or releasing balloons that are hiding your face. There are so many ways to stage this and set it up and your photographer can work with you on creative ways to get the perfect moment. In fact, even if you are on the fence and can’t quite commit to a first look, you can do the whole “hiding around the corner” picture where the photographer gets the shot of the two of you holding hands without actually “looking” at each other.

Con: Location can be an issue as you may not be able to go where you want for this picture. For instance, if you are hoping to take this picture and the ones that follow at your venue, check and find out if you are allowed to be there at the time you need to be. Many places hold couples and their wedding vendors off until a later time in case they have an event preceding theirs, or if it’s too early in the day. If you can’t get the location you want, you might be stuck with taking this picture in a hotel lobby.

Pro: No tears at the altar when you see each other the first time and the nerves will be settled more than they would be. You’ve already seen each other so there are no crazy butterflies as you walk down the aisle and you don’t have to worry about your face being soaked in tears. For those that are anxious about the walk and everyone staring at them, this is a huge plus because the anxiety level is brought way down and the walk to the altar will be easier.

Con: No tears at the altar. Personally, I cherished that moment I locked eyes with my now husband as I turned the corner and saw him standing there waiting for me. I also cried during my entire ceremony and I’m not terribly sure anyone understood the vows I wrote. However, he cried too and that moment when he saw me it filled my heart to see the man I love completely chocked up at the sight of me. That is a moment I will forever remember and there is something more serious about the first look being at the ceremony and not in a field where you tap someone on the shoulder and they turn around. 


There are so many things to consider when deciding if a first look is right for you or not. Don’t let anyone tell you what worked for them or influence your decision. This has to be right for the two of you, so weigh the pros and cons and decide this together as a couple. After all, you will be deciding the rest of your lives together, so this is a great place to start!

Photography by: Pat Furey Photo & Cassi Claire Photography

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