Not seeing each other before the ceremony is an antiquated tradition that was never about luck. It was created when arranged marriages were still a totally normal thing. If the groom saw the bride to be before the ceremony and thought she was not pretty enough for him, he would bail. So, in turn, the first look was born to stop this from happening (and we'd have to assume it happened a lot for this to become a common practice). This is also the reason for the veil.
When planning your wedding you may be on the fence about doing a first look. On one hand, if you didn't see each other until you were both up at the alter you might get that photo of your new husband with tears in his eyes when he first sees you. On the other hand, if you do a first look you will have more time for photos, the day will be less rushed, you'll be able to get to partying at the reception sooner, and you still might get that incredible reaction from your soon to be husband during the first look.
These 3 questions will help you figure it out.
1.Think about how you want your wedding day to feel. Everyone wants a stress free wedding day, but truth is even the most well planned weddings have their hiccups. If you have a wedding planner they will alleviate a lot of the common problems letting you have more time during you wedding day. You can use that extra time to your advantage if you want to have a more traditional wedding where you see each other at the alter. But maybe you just want to go with the flow, maybe you two share a lot of the same friends and keeping everyone separated for half the day doesn't sound like how you want to spend your wedding. Having a First look might be the best option for you.
2.How much time do you have your photographer/venue? Last year a couple asked me about doing a first look. I told them the biggest factor to me is time. Ill do whatever you want but I don't want to cause you stress by running out of time. They had me for 10 hours and the ceremony and the reception were both in the same location so we had plenty of time. They opted to see each other for the first time at the alter and it was beautiful. I've also had couples who only booked me for 8 hours and the reception was 45 mins from where the ceremony was held. Thats when I urge the couples to think about doing a first look. It let us get all the bridal party portraits done before the ceremony leaving them with nothing to worry about on their way to the reception.
3.Are you ever get really nervous? If you have ever been on youtube, you have seen the videos of brides fainting at the alter. It's wedding jitters. You have spent the last year planning this day and now its here and now you're saying "I do". My wife gets nervous really easy and her skin gets blotchy. We saw each other before our ceremony (not by choice but because our outdoor ceremony got rained out and we had to pitch in to move everything inside) and on our honeymoon she told me that seeing me before the ceremony really helped her feel more relaxed and less tense. Having a proper first look will let you two calm each other down so you can both me more in the moment to enjoy your wedding day.
So What Will You Do? The pros and cons are pretty well matched but if you can picture how your wedding day feels in your head the answer should be a pretty easy one!
Sill Unsure? Click below to download two wedding timeline templates to help see which fits better for your wedding day!