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Aug 16, 2010

Inspired by This Wedding Debate: First Look Vs. Surprise Look at Ceremony

Welcome to another installation of our wedding debate series! We’ve already discussed Fondant vs. ButtercreamHead vs. Sweetheart, and Destination Wedding vs. Local Wedding. Today we’re tackling First Look vs. Surprise Look at Ceremony! Tradition has long called for couples to not see each other till the bride walks down the aisle resulting in a climactic and emotional experience for the couple and their guests. But traditions evolve over time and now days more and more couples are choosing to do a “first look”. A definite upside to the first look is the private time spent with your loved one before the chaos of the wedding day begins, but nothing beats the look of a groom as he sees his bride walking down the aisle for the first time. Below we have some wedding experts weigh in with their opinion. Let us know what you think!


Becky Hill of Becky Hill Photography: As a photographer, I prefer that couples see each other before the ceremony. I truly feel that the “first look” is one of the most important elements of a wedding day.  When couples choose to see each other before the ceremony it allows them the time to enjoy the occasion in a private environment. I have the rare privilege of witnessing the excitement and anticipation of these intimate moments. Judging by the heartfelt reactions of my couples, choosing to see one another before the ceremony does not diminish the significance of walking down the aisle.

Ben Potter of Cana VP:  Personally, I had always imagined what I would feel like and how that would move me seeing my wife walk down the aisle for the first time. That desire being there early on made it easy for me to make that vision happen. With our ceremony we tried to combine a beautiful intimate setting while inviting everyone that we love and would want to witness our first moments together as a married couple.

Joel Flory of Flory Photo: About half of the couples we photograph choose not to see one another. If our clients dream of seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle, not a problem—we’ll plan the photo session accordingly and get plenty of getting-ready shots on both sides. That said, all of our clients who do choose to see each other say it was one of their best wedding-day decisions. It’s a really intimate moment, and one that can really set them at ease. There isn’t much chance to say “Wow, you look wonderful” in front of all the guests at the ceremony. Another benefit is that we can capture most of the formal photos before the ceremony, which means more time for mingling with guests and enjoying the cocktail hour. That’s particularly important if they are having a sunset wedding—we’ll get the best of the natural light beforehand!

Amanda Halbrook of 100 Layer Cake: I think having a first look before the big ceremony gives the bride and groom a chance to really take each other in, and experience the moment more deeply together with no one else looking (except for the photog, of course ;). It’s also a great way for them to release the jitters (and some of the sweet tears) together before walking down the aisle!

Photo by Amy Carroll

Photo by Carla Ten Eyck Photography

Photo by Leigh Miller

Photo by Erica Schneider

Photo by Jessica Claire

Photo by Max Wagner

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