First Look with Your Fiancé Before the Ceremony

As you plan your upcoming wedding, you may have heard about the concept of a first look. This is where you and your fiancé see each other privately before the ceremony, rather than waiting to see each other at the altar. Some couples swear by it, while others prefer to stick with tradition.

If you're on the fence about whether to have a first look or not, I'll explore a few pro's and con's for you so you can make an informed decision.


A survey conducted by WeddingWire found that 77% of couples who opted for a first look were glad they did.


Get Rid of Nerves: One of the main reasons couples choose to have a first look is to ease their nerves. You may feel less anxious about the ceremony when you've already seen each other and had a private moment together.

Take Photos Earlier: If you have a first look, you can take your photos before the ceremony. That means you won't need to rush after the wedding to take your portraits while your guests wait for you at the reception.


Bonus Tip: you can hire  your hair and makeup artist to do touch-ups before the ceremony, this is really helpful if you are having your first look outside in the elements/wind.

More Time Together and with your guests: When you have a first look, you get to spend more time with your fiancé on your big day. Instead of waiting until the ceremony to see each other, you can have a quiet moment together before the hustle and bustle begins. You also spend less time away from your guests post-ceremony.

Share Your Emotions: Some couples find that a first look allows them to share their emotions more freely. You don't have to worry about showing your true feelings in front of your guests – it's just you and your fiancé.

A bride having her first look with her fiancé


When you see your fiancé for the first time in front of all your loved ones, it can be a powerful moment. 



Less time for getting ready: It’s important to consider the timing of your day. If you’re having a morning ceremony, a first look might not make sense as it would mean getting ready even earlier. 

Break Tradition: If you're a stickler for tradition, having a first look may not be for you. Seeing each other at the altar is part of the classic wedding experience, and some couples feel that it ruins the magic to have a first look.

Less Emotional Impact: One of the reasons why seeing each other at the altar is so special is the emotional impact. When you see your fiancé for the first time in front of all your loved ones, it can be a powerful moment. 

Time Constraints: While taking photos before the ceremony can be a plus, it can also mean a tighter schedule. You'll need to factor in extra time for your first look and portraits, which could impact the flow of your day. You may also need to arrive at the ceremony location earlier than you would otherwise.

More Planning and Time from Photography: A first look adds another layer of planning to your already busy wedding schedule. You'll need to choose a location for the first look and coordinate with your photographer and other vendors to ensure everything runs smoothly. This can also change the package you have with the photographer i.e with starting earlier means they finish earlier.

So, what do real brides have to say about their experience with first looks? A survey conducted by WeddingWire found that 77% of couples who opted for a first look were glad they did. Many brides noted that it helped calm their nerves and allowed them to enjoy the ceremony more.

However, 23% of couples said they wished they had waited until the ceremony to see each other.

When it comes to having a first look, there's no right or wrong answer. It's a personal decision that should be based on your preferences and priorities for your wedding day. Ultimately, you and your fiancé need to decide what works best for you. If you value tradition and want to save the first glimpse for the ceremony, that's perfectly valid.

Alternatively, if you want to ease your nerves, take photos earlier, and spend more time with your partner on your wedding day, then a first look may be the way to go.

Whatever you choose, remember that your wedding day is about you and your partner – make the decision that feels right for both of you.


You may also like: The Etiquette of Wedding Dress Codes


Hey I'm Amy 👋  I'm an Auckland based Wedding Hair & Makeup Stylist that has worked with hundreds of Brides in the Matakana and Auckland Regions.

Would you like to work with me? Click here to send me your details!

One day I hope to travel across Europe, Greece or even NYC to style a Bride for her wedding day ❤️

Amy Ryan - Ryan Beauty Co. Wedding Hair and Makeup Artist - Matakana, Auckland, Waiheke Island

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