For decades, tradition held that the bride and groom should not see each other the day of the wedding, until meeting at the altar to say, “I Do!” But in recent years, more couples are opting to experience that first look moment not at the altar, but privately before the ceremony.

The groom is waiting patiently in a picturesque location. The bride walks up behind him, taps him on the shoulder and the heartfelt photos are captured. We’ve heard pro and con arguments for each, and decided to ask an expert.  Brooke Boyd, of Brooke Boyd Photo + Film, offers up her opinion on whether or not to opt for a first look or wait for the altar. When deciding on either, Boyd says she always recommends that her couples consider the positives of both options and, “ultimately go with their gut on what they feel is right for them.”


First Look


“One pro of a first look is more time spent together. Think about how long a wedding day is, sometimes you won’t even see your fiancé until much later in the day. So, essentially, you’ve spent the majority of your Big Day without your fiancé, which really leaves only a few hours at the ceremony and reception when you’re actually together.
“Another perk of doing a first look, is that it allows you to have a moment to get rid of those nerves. And how about a big hug and a chance to talk? Once the ceremony has started, there isn’t really an opportunity to love up on someone and exchange a few words.
“One last big plus is the photos. When you do have a first look, you’re able to get those beautiful daytime photos, plus tackle a ton of the family photos — so that you have more time to drink, dance and get straight to the party at your reception!”


Waiting for the Altar


“The moment that you see one another for the first time is witnessed by everyone you love — your parents, siblings, grandparents, best friends, everyone. They all get to experience that together. “

As a guest, the moment a groom sees his bride walking down the aisle can make for a beautiful, touching second that makes you thankful that the couple thought to include you in that special moment.  


When it comes to cons for either option, Boyd says, “I actually can’t think of any cons. I think either way, you can’t go wrong. No matter what anyone advises you to do, you have to decide as a couple to just go with what your gut [or] heart tells you to. I’ve never had a couple regret doing a first look. In addition, I’ve never had a couple regret waiting until the ceremony. Both are extremely special moments and will be one of your most cherished moments on your Big Day!”


No matter what a couple chooses, it’s going to be the best for them as a unit. Both, as Boyd has pointed out, clearly produce special moments and there’s no right or wrong option when it comes to your Big Day.



Lagniappe: Some brides opt to have this “first look” moment with their fathers. Instead of or in addition to the groom, the bride shares a special moment with her dad before he walks her down the aisle.