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Whatever Happened To Tradition: A Look At First Looks

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

For ages it's been said to be bad luck for the groom to see the bride before she walks down the aisle.

According to Bridal Guide, this superstition dates back to the days of arranged marriages, when the father of the bride was afraid the well-off groom would find his new wife (whom he'd never seen before) unattractive, and back out of the deal. This leaves the bride's family in shame, and forced to forgo any ideas of turning the bride's old bedroom into a man cave for dad.

The veil assisted in this mission of keeping the groom in suspense of his bride's beauty, or lack thereof.

Gone are these days, at least in America, and yet many couples still hold fast to this tradition. But why? Those who feel strongly in favor argue that the special moment is spoiled when the groom has already seen the bride in her dress. It is believed that any emotion he might show, such as tears, will not occur if he has seen her earlier that day. However, most wedding photographers and many others argue that the moment is not lost, but on the contrary, more easily captured.

For those who aren't familiar, a First Look is when a couple about to be married see each other for the first time in their wedding clothes, hair, and makeup. While some couples opt to have a photo session for this purpose on a different day, this typically happens a few short hours before the wedding ceremony. Generally the groom is blindfolded or faced away and is turned around to view his bride after not having seen her all day. This is an intimate moment between the couple with the photographer and, if you have one, videographer capturing from the sidelines. The couple may also choose to have the bridal party present during this time.

However, many brides, and grooms, feel strongly against seeing each other prior to "Here Comes the Bride."

Here are a few of the reasons why I believe you should seriously give the idea of a First Look a chance.

1) Your groom may be more likely to cry during this time.

Think about it. Its just the two of you (and your photographer). Not a hundred or more eyes watching him, making him nervous and afraid to appear vulnerable. During this time you can take it all in, embrace, laugh, hug, kiss. Enjoy some time admiring all the little details of each other before being swept away without a moment to yourselves for hours. If you're wanting an especially intimate moment, you can even ask your photographer to use a longer lens to capture the moment from a distance.

2) Unlike the ceremony, the location for the First Look can be chosen by your photographer based on lighting, background, and visual interest. These shots of the groom's reaction to seeing you may very well turn out prettier than those during the ceremony, as your photographer has more control over all the elements that go into creating a frame worthy photo.

3) This will SAVE your day of timeline. So much of the day is spent away from each other that when the ceremony is over you're rushed to make up for lost time by cramming in ALL of your posed portraits at once. All couples portraits, group family portraits, and combined wedding party portraits must be done after the ceremony, leaving you away from your guests for an hour or more. With a first look you are able to do couples portraits and wedding party shots before the ceremony, leaving only family groups for afterward.

Perk: you don't have to spend half your day avoiding the very person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

4) There are so many ways to have fun with it! For instance, getting the Best Man to put on a spare dress and catfish the groom. It'll be a story you'll never forget.

5) Or have fun with it in your own way! This bride chose to hide behind a tree to jump out and reveal herself to her groom!

Still set on tradition? That's okay, you can always swap it out for one of these sweet alternatives.

1) First Look with Dad.

This is an adorable new trend that leads to beautiful photos.

2) First Look with Mom.

Usually not considered because she's already in the room helping you get ready, but who's to say this shouldn't become a trend?

3) First Look with Bridesmaids.

Chances are you won't go through the whole process of getting ready without your girls, but this works great to step into a closet or kick everyone else out, change into your dress, and show off for the big reveal!

4) The First Touch.

This is the name for those beautiful photos of a couple holding hands and reading letters or praying, on opposite sides of a corner, or with the groom wearing a blind fold. Like the alternatives above, this doesn't fulfill a photographer's desire to make the best use of your timeline, but it does create some incredible memories and enchanting photos. If you want to have a least a little time together, but aren't ready to abandon tradition completely, this may be exactly what you're looking for.

5) First Look With Child

If you or your spouse have a child, this can be a sweet touching moment for them to see their parent all dressed up for their wedding day. Like this mother and son.

Bonus: If you're not sold on these, there's always First Look with dog because if this isn't the most precious thing ever!

Need one more reason?

Absolutely spontaneous unposed moments like this.

Still needing a photographer to capture those once in a lifetime moments? Click here!


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