Our Top 3 Reasons to NOT Have a First Look

We know you’ve seen dozens of posts throughout the internet persuading you to choose the first look for your wedding day. It’s no secret that photographers prefer wedding days when the bride and groom see each other before the big ceremony. 

Bride and groom smiling at each other during Whispering Trees Manor wedding

But after countless weddings under our belts, we’ve experienced nearly every hiccup a wedding day could throw our way: crying flower girls, disobedient ring bearers, groomsmen starting the party early (if you know what we mean), controlling parents, family drama, inclement weather, not to mention all of the extensive delays and rescheduling due to the pandemic over the last couple of years. And in all these crazy moments, we always return to those moments of sweet bliss between the couple. Those quiet moments that you have with just your fiance (or new spouse) when you can look into each other’s eyes and just be in the moment together. Those are the moments we strive for because, during those moments, everything else fades into the background.

Groom reacts to seeing his bride during first look at Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel wedding

If you are on the fence about adding a first look into your day, look no further! We’ve got a whole list of reasons why you should NOT have one! 😉 Yep, that’s right, we’re turning this first-look discussion on its head today! Here we go…

Reason 1: We want our guests to enjoy a 90-minute (or longer) cocktail hour.

Who wouldn’t want to stand around in uncomfortable shoes carrying on small talk with strangers for an hour and a half? Maybe there are some great drinks, delicious snacks, and a game of giant Jenga or cornhole! Cocktail hour should last longer than dinner! Not to mention, this extended cocktail hour is a great time to treat your hungry wedding party and family to an extra-long posed photo session. Win-win!

Were you hoping for something else? We don’t blame you. Opting out of a first look means allll of your photos that include both sides of the wedding party must be pushed out until after the ceremony. But don’t forget they still have to happen before the reception – hence, the extra-long cocktail hour. Trying to get all the essential portraits can take a substantial amount of time depending on the size of the family and desired number of shots. And don’t forget the photos of just the two of you. Those automatically get pushed to last after everyone else has been photographed. While we can make any timeline work, we’d much rather you and your guests enjoy the day rather than feel the stress of racing to get all the good light. 

Bride taps groom on shoulder during first look photos at Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel

Reason 2: I’m hoping that moment he sees me walk down the aisle will be super emotional.

I mean, if he saw me before the ceremony, there’s no way he’d be emotional upon seeing me again, right? It’s a one-shot moment, only enough emotion for one time of the day.

Ok, so this actually couldn’t be farther from the truth! As we said above, we’ve been a part of dozens of weddings, and never once have we seen a groom not be emotional upon seeing his partner appear at the top of the aisle, walking toward him to begin their lives. We promise, cross our hearts, that if you choose the first look during your big day, the love of your life will be gushing at the second first sighting of you walking toward him. Because, honestly, the moment’s emotion doesn’t change, regardless of what happened before it. 

Groom sobs as he sees his bride walk down the aisle

Reason 3: We want to spend every minute of our wedding day surrounded by our guests.

That’s what a wedding is for, right? We can’t wait to have 12 hours full of our closest friends and family, without any moments to ourselves. Basking in the joy of the day without an audience is totally overrated! All of that can wait until the festivities are over and done. We want to spend our time being pulled in several different directions!

Groom saying "WOW" when he sees bride during first look photos at Quincy Cellars

Most people think spending their entire day with their guests sounds perfect. But, in our experience, taking a few moments to yourselves is vitally important. Doing this allows you to focus on one another rather than the day’s festivities. It also allows all the pent-up emotion to dissipate as you get over one of the biggest hurdles of the day without watching hundreds of eyes. 

Groom covers his face in joyful surprise as he sees bride during first look photos at the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh, PA

Ok, We Lied…

If you’ve read through this post, you can likely tell that we’re Team First-Look. After all of the chaos of planning a wedding over the last couple of years, we 100% believe you deserve a few special, intimate moments to relish in the fact that you’ve made it! In all the weddings we’ve been a part of, we have seen countless times that choosing a first look with your soon-to-be spouse can make all the difference in the stress, emotion, and overall smoothness of the day. And not once have we seen a couple regret it!

Bride touches groom's cheek during first look portraits before their intimate back garden wedding

If you’d like to chat more about your wedding day and how we can serve you through it, fill out our contact form to send us a message! We’d love to talk you through making your day a reality, whether you choose a first look or not. 😉

Bride grabs groom's arm to get his attention during first look photos in Erie, Pa's Warner Theatre

To see the pros and cons of having a first look on your wedding day, check out our post titled What is a First Look: To Do or Not Do on Your Wedding Day

Here’s more about who we are along with some of our wedding planning advice:

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At Matt Mead Photography we believe that building relationships with our clients is the best way to serve them. That's why we value meeting all of our couples face-to-face by video call. We look forward to meeting you soon!


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matt mead photography 1821 oxford st. erie, pa 16505  (814)315-3353