January 1, 2021

The question of whether or not to have a first look at your wedding is incredibly personal. All of my couples have chosen to either see each other before the ceremony or to forego that experience based on what they knew would mean the most to them. Here are some pros and cons to help you decide what’s the best choice for you!


1. You can take the majority of your portraits before the ceremony, which enables you to actually enjoy your cocktail hour!  You’ll also be able to get more variety with your portraits as the extra time will allow us to move around or go off-site.

2.  A first look is a perfect way to ease those wedding day jitters and see each other for the first time privately.   There’s nothing like a private moment, away from all of your guests, to hold each others hand, exchange sweet letters, and take a deep breath together before heading to the altar. 

3.  You might (read probably) shed a few tears when you see each other for the first time in your wedding attire and it finally hits that you’re getting married!  A first look offers the privacy to freely share those emotions, as well as enough time afterwards for a makeup touch-up before the ceremony.

4.  It will make your entire day less stressful.  Cocktail hour is spent taking family portraits, wedding party portraits and then finally couple portraits, but that only leaves you two around 15 minutes for your photographs before the reception.  If we’ve taken the majority of the couples portraits earlier in the day it helps you to rest at ease knowing we already got a lot of beautiful portraits. 


1. You will miss the cocktail hour, and the chance to socialize during that time with your guests. 

2.  Every woman dreams of seeing her man lose it when she walks down the aisle, and a first look would dampen this emotion a little bit.  It would still be exciting, but there’s a greater chance that tears won’t be involved. 

3.  You will have to start getting ready earlier.  In order to fit all the portraits in before the ceremony, you will have to wake up earlier so that your hair and makeup is done in time. 

4. Your hair, dress and bouquet could get messed up.   Taking photos outside means that you could get some dirt on the hem of your dress, or that your makeup runs and your hair looks windblown.  

Here is what my couples are saying! 

Chris + Sarah // San Francisco, CA
“We went the “traditional” route and chose not to do a first look. It was a moment that I’d dreamed about since I was little girl and I wanted walking down the aisle to be exactly how I’d always envisioned it! It was incredibly special to see my groom standing at the altar while I walked down the aisle and he saw me for the first time. Cue the tears!
You can’t go wrong with either choice, but making the decision that feels right for you and your partner will help your day feel more like yours!
If you’re aren’t doing a first look and your timeline allows it, I’d highly recommend sneaking out during the reception to take some more portraits! We did ours during sunset and Olivia and her team made sure that we had tons of gorgeous photos. Plus, it was fun to do something a little less formal. I knew that I’d be a nervous wreck for the ceremony in front of all those people whether I saw my partner before or not, so we planned to take more of our portraits once the pressure was gone and the fun had started.”

Jason + Eileen // Newark , New Jersey
“Having a first look at our wedding was not only such a precious time for the two of us, but it also set the tone for the rest of day and gave us so much peace with the timeline Olivia built for us. After our first look, Olivia gave us a few minutes together to talk and hang out while she got the wedding party together. We were able to get some of our couples portraits done, as well as wedding party portraits and family portraits all before the ceremony! I’m honestly really glad we went that route because that enabled us to fully enjoy our cocktail hour and reception. We were a little unsure of how a first look would affect our ceremony emotions, but we cried during both and that was incredibly sweet. I would recommend a first look to any couple, especially when Olivia is there to help guide you and build your timeline.”

There are other options as well, like having a “first touch” where you can hold hands around a corner and read each other letters without seeing the other person.  
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to do things.  These are just some tips to help you make an educated choice and have the wedding of your dreams.  Any questions?  I’m here for you every step of the way, so don’t hesitate to reach out! 

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