To see or not to see…perhaps not as much of a question as you might think

One of the many decisions you’ll make when planning your wedding will be whether to see each other before your ceremony. It’s an easy decision for some, and a more difficult one for others. It may be another opportunity to learn how to compromise in your relationship. Generally speaking, however, it’s a good idea to see each other prior.

You’re likely to experience no small amount of stress on your wedding day. The person with whom you’re about to commit to spending the rest of your life with is also likely the person that most calms you, helps you relax, and puts the biggest smile on your face. Seeing them privately and quietly, away from all the preparatory hustle and bustle, can be the best way to watch all that stress and whatever worries you might have simply melt away. So many couples, and brides in particular, tell us afterward how stress-free, relaxed and excited they felt after spending a few private moments with the man they were about to marry. It can make all the difference in the world. Most couples wouldn’t otherwise have this opportunity for privacy for a few moments alone until after the reception’s over.



Brooke & Josh see each other for the first time that day prior to their ceremony.


All of the photos shown are of couples enjoying seeing and spending time with each other for the first time that day over the years. And ALL are still happily married to this day! (Disclaimer: Our lawyers wanted us to add that your photographers cannot guarantee that doing a first look will result in a long and happy marriage, but hey, it’s hard to argue with the facts. ;) )

You may have thought that seeing each other prior diminishes the feeling of seeing each other for the first time as the bride walks down the aisle. Amazingly, this turns out not to be true, but instead has an added benefit! How? You not only get to quietly see each other beforehand and enjoy each other’s company without the burden or expectations or protocol, but now, in the presence of all of your loved ones and with music playing, it’s a completely different experience, as if you’re seeing each other for the first time again. We often recommend to brides that they leave off their veil for the First Look and/or hold off carrying their bouquet. Just these little touches can add also to the groom’s experience when he sees you walking towards him looking like a “real” bride!




There are also logistical benefits to seeing each other, what is often called First Look or First Sight. You can also take this opportunity with your photographer to create some or all of your desired portraits of the two of you. If you’re like most of our clients, you will also elect to do most, if not all of your family portraits as well, thus guaranteeing being able to participate in most or all of your cocktail hour just like being a guest at your own wedding (otherwise you can generally kiss cocktail hour goodbye).  It’s simple enough to take care of those with your parents and siblings at the very least. If your ceremony is to be held at night or a time of day when you wouldn’t otherwise have daylight, this can ensure a wider variety of great portraits from your photographer too.








We have personal experience with this having done so before our own wedding nearly twelve years ago, and the shared experiences have been consistent among our hundreds of clients over the years who have done this. We would be happy to share our stories with you.









So go ahead! See each other before. It is highly unlikely that you’ll regret doing so. Enjoy the most of your wedding day, relish the quiet moments you have with one another, and best wishes for a fulfilling marriage!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz March 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Doing a “first look” with Anne and Bill was one of the best decisions we made on our wedding day. Of course, the moment was shared with photographers and videographers, but it felt as though my husband and I were the only ones in the room. After an entire day of getting ready, spending time with our families and wedding party, and before committing to each other in front of all our guests, this moment was entirely ours. It was wonderful. That, and we got some pretty remarkable photos to boot :) Recommend to everyone!!


Emily Afzal March 22, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I love all of these first look photos!

My husband and I were on the fence about seeing each other before the wedding and went back and forth for months. We ultimately decided to do it (based on the helpful advice of Anne and Bill, as well as several recently wed friends) and we could not be happier with the decision.

The first look wound up being one of the most special moments across the whole day and, not surprisingly, some of our favorite photos were captured leading up to and during it. I loved seeing my husband for the first time by myself – being able to hug and kiss him, talk about how we were feeling, and let the anticipation of what was to come build up together.

While it wasn’t the anticipation of nervousness that led us to make the decision to do the first look, seeing one another absolutely calmed my nerves. That said, what was more important to us was being able to spend a few quiet moments together before the festivities began.

And of course the added benefit was that we were able to participate in our cocktail hour! The time along before the wedding set the tone for the day, with lots of fun with our guests to follow!


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