In Expert Advice

“To Look or Not to Look, that is the Question?”

Through the years, we learn to accept what we have always known or been taught to do. Have you ever wondered the reasoning behind a bride waiting until the wedding ceremony to see her groom? When it was custom for marriages to be arranged, the couple wasn’t allowed to see each other at all before the wedding. As sad as the truth was back then, the wedding symbolized a business deal between two families.

Therefore, it became tradition that the bride and groom were only allowed to meet at the wedding ceremony so that the groom did not have the opportunity to change his mind. Even the wedding veil added to the mystery for the groom, so he wouldn’t find out how the bride looked until it was too late to call off the wedding at the last possible minute.

At least today we have gotten away from the old tradition that stemmed from arranged marriages and being forbidden to see one another until the ceremony. Today, though, some modern couples still choose to wait until the ceremony to see one another for sentimental reasons. The question is should you wait to have the “first look” until the wedding ceremony or see each other before? Consider these tips on the blog today to determine the perfect choice for that unforgettable wedding day moment!

If you wait for the “first look” consider these circumstances:

  • What will your wedding guests do and how long will they have to wait while you and your spouse take photographs after the ceremony?

We all love wedding photographs, but remember if you choose to wait to see one another until your wedding ceremony all of the photos of you and your groom will be taken while your guests wait. Also, those pictures that include both of you with each side of your family will have to wait too.

Make sure that you plan accordingly, so that your guests will be entertained at the reception before your arrival. Consider scheduling a cocktail hour where your guests can enjoy drinks and food prior to your arrival. Lisa Tilley, a professional wedding and portrait photographer said, “A bride needs to plan on giving her photographer around 45 minutes after the wedding ceremony for photographs. I can do less and would love more, but 45 minutes is a good average.” 

  • Make sure that you’ve expressed to your photographer what type of photographs are a priority to you and your spouse.


If your guests will be waiting on your arrival, even if they are enjoying a cocktail hour, do be organized and thoughtful to your guests and photographer on the time that will be spent on pictures.

Are you dreaming of taking a photograph on the stone steps of your church or near the large oak tree at your wedding ceremony venue? It would be helpful to your photographer to know what type of pictures are a priority and important to you and your spouse, so in the hustle and bustle after the ceremony, those pictures will be taken.

  • Where would you like to take most of your photographs?


You might take more photographs at your reception rather than the wedding ceremony location to save time if your guests will be waiting at an off-site location for your reception. Also, discuss with your photographer what type of pictures that you will be able to get depending on the location and time that your ceremony will end.

  • Consider giving a sentimental note/card that you and your soon-to-be spouse can enjoy during a special time before the ceremony in lieu of the “first look” moment.


This can be a note to express your love for each other and your dreams/wishes for your future together. Remember, this special letter you will truly cherish. Your photographer can capture the emotion of the moment with pictures as each of you read the notes.

  • Ultimately, when you and your spouse decide to see one another is your choice to make together.


It doesn’t matter if there is more of a trend towards having a first look before the wedding ceremony. Stick with what you truly desire for your wedding day. Make sure that your photographer is on board for whatever decision you would like to make. Communication is key to a happy and successful wedding day.

Would you like to see more ideas for your wedding inspiration? See more creative wedding ideas on our blog!


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