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First Look vs No First Look...The Great Debate

We all know about this great debate...."Do we see each other before the ceremony or keep it traditional???" Here's the answer....there is no right answer. I know, I know, I'm not making it any easier for you guys. Being Florida wedding photographers and seeing so many different wedding styles, we decided to list out the pros and cons on an UNBIASED opinion.

So here we go...

Let's start with the traditional route. For all of you that don't know, the traditional way to see the bride is going to be that moment when she walks down the aisle for the first time. The suspense has been building, that one emotional song starts to play, and there you are. Your groom turns around and watches for what seems like a 30 minute walk. The closer you get, the more it starts to feel real and the emotions start coming. It's that last walk with your dad and for a brief moment, you have so many butterflies in your stomach that you forget to breathe. BUT... then you see the smile on his face at the end of that long aisle and the tears welling up in his eyes. He's waited what seems like a lifetime to marry you, and that long awaited moment has come.....That's the moment I'm talking about.

Pros vs. Cons

Pro: You get to build that anticipation longer.

A lot of brides anticipate that long walk down the aisle and want to see that raw reaction of their groom and that is totally fine.

Pro: Longer time for getting ready.

Pro: Raw reaction of groom during the ceremony.

Con: Although you are getting more time to get ready, it will take more time after the ceremony to do pictures. So guests will be waiting longer for your reception entrance.

Con: Has to be conscious on doing a sunset ceremony.

Without a first look, most pictures will be done after the ceremony so you need to make sure to leave plenty of sunlight for photos.


Okay, you may be all "YEAH! The traditional way is for me!" BUT...let me tell you about the "First look" before you decide!

If you don't know, a first look is an intimate moment between the two of you before all the wedding shenanigans begin. It's that last moment together before actually becoming husband and wife. Some couples laugh. Some couples cry. Some couples exchange letters or even say a little prayer together.

For us, this is that moment where you just get to be you. You're not worried about the hundred people surrounding the two of you. There's no distractions. It's intimate. It's simple. It's that one anticipated moment of the day.

So you may be even more confused as to what you like better. So let's chat about some pros and cons for doing the first look.

Pro: Stress and anxiety are relieved before the ceremony.

We've seen SOOOO many weddings where the bride and groom seem stressed. Everything is back to back, you have 30 minutes to cram all your wedding day photos in, guests are waiting and everything seems a little hectic. With a first look, the day just feels more laid back. Pictures get done earlier in the day and it gives you more time to take in each moment.

Con: May have to get ready earlier in the day.

Pro: More Time Together

Rather than spending most of the day apart, you'll be able to spend most of the day together. You're not trying to dodge each other and make sure not to cross paths all day.

Pro: Most of your photos will be done BEFORE the ceremony.

If you're nervous about keeping your guest waiting, then this may be for you. Being that most of your photo will be done beforehand, that leaves for only family photos and maybe few sunset photos. Then you're off to your reception!

Pro: Sunset Ceremony

If you've dreamt of having a sunset ceremony, this is probably up your alley. Being that most of your photos will be done already, you have that freedom without worrying about all your photos being done after the sun has gone down.

Pro: CAN be more emotional.

Let's face it, a lot of guys don't love to show emotion in front of hundreds of people. When it' s the two of you, he may feel a little more comfortable shedding a tear or two.

Being that we are located in Pensacola, Florida, weather is a constant change. One minute it's bright and sunny and the next moment, it can be pouring sideways. Doing a first look can give you that extra time to ensure your photos are captured. We have shot many weddings where it began to rain during the ceremony, so a lot of photo's had to be done under a covering of some sort.


You may be on the fence with the fact that you still want that moment together, but you just want that "walking down the aisle" reaction too....and that's totally fine. A lot of times we do what's called a "first NOT look". It's a moment before the ceremony where the bride and groom don't get to see each other but still have that last moment as fiances. We will usually find a corner, door or even have the bride and groom back to back. We've had couples say a few words, give each other gifts and sometimes they will even exchange personal vows to one another. Either way, it's such a beautiful, intimate moment that takes off a few of those wedding day jitters and still gives you those last few moments as fiances!

Either way you go....whether you want the traditional way, first look or the first not look, just know...It's YOUR day. It's going to be beautiful no matter what. We are here for you all and hope this blog helped you along your wedding planning process.

Much Love,


Photo Locations:

Sowell Farms in Milton, Florida

St Sylvester Catholic Church in Gulf Breeze, Florida

Seville Quarter in Downtown Pensacola, Florida

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