First Look or Traditional Ceremony?


Oct 29, 2015

One of the most common questions I get from couples is, “Should I do a first look or traditional ceremony?”

The answer is… I don’t know. Ultimately, this decision is up to you. I want to give the freedom for you to choose so that your wedding can unfold in a way that’s most authentic to who you are as a couple.

As a photographer, I’ll gladly lend my advice since people ask. So there are three points I share.

Think about your timelines.

Choosing whether or not you do a first look or a traditional ceremony will completely dictate your wedding timeline, specifically your cocktail hour and when portraits are done. By doing a traditional ceremony, you’re adding at least 30 minutes to your cocktail hour to do couple portraits and photos of both bridal parties. Don’t forget your family photos are also done during cocktail hour!

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Think about your feels.

Walking down the aisle already comes with its set of butterflies. I’ve seen grooms still cry their eyes out during the ceremony, even after doing the first look. It’s because you two are literally minutes away from becoming husband and wife. Nothing can beat that.

If you’re concerned with the element of surprise, that surprise is also there during the first look. The difference is that you get to be all alone with your future spouse before you’re surrounded by a bunch of people.

First Look or Traditional Ceremony

I’m a nerd.

I’m such a nerd when it comes to finding sources and origin. So, here’s a fun and nerdy fact about the OG ceremony tradition. The tradition of waiting isn’t just a tradition done because of the surprise factor.

Did you know that this tradition was actually done for arranged marriages? It was done so it could prevent the groom from ditching the alter. In fact, that’s why veils were made, in case the groom tried to get a sneak peak. They’re still beautiful accessories, though.

This tradition for arranged marriages is long gone for us, but we still keep part of it for a different kind of surprise factor.

What are you thinking about doing and why? Share in the comments below!