With UK weddings come traditions that are as old as time. Despite some couples foregoing the custom of seeing each other for the first time when they walk down the aisle at the ceremony. There are those who put their spin on these practices. In recent years, a so-called anti-tradition has emerged in the wedding world. This is the first look or the moment when the pair see each other on their wedding day.

Many couples find it difficult to decide whether to have a first look. The debate usually involves whether to follow tradition and have the big “wow” moment down the aisle or take the alternative route.

Couples are facing a serious decision that impacts their overall happiness for the rest of the day. Therefore, let’s take a look at the pros and cons, the alternatives, and what you can expect.

The Definition of a First Look

So, what does a first look mean? It’s when the couple sees themselves for the first time in their marriage attire before the event. This is done by arranging a private location before the ceremony away from the eyes of the guests. This is a very intimate experience between the pair. 

It’s usually organised by the wedding planner and photographer, gently guiding the couple. The most common example is the following: the groom is positioned in one place, and the bride is tucked away but nearby. The groom faces the photographer with his back towards the bride. The bride then walks towards him, tapping him on the shoulder to turn around and see each other for the first time.

Now that we know what it means, let’s discuss the advantages of having this idea.

The Pros of Having a First Look

If you’re worried about getting nervous on your wedding day, then this tradition is an excellent way to ease the nerves. Having that initial glimpse of your partner in front of many guests can be nerve-wracking, and you may feel a lot of pressure. It may take you out of the present moment and prevent you from fully experiencing that incredible experience. 

A pre-ceremony glimpse allows couples to capture an intimate moment and experience themselves fully and authentically. 

It Gives You Time to Be Alone

This is a great to have some time alone before the chaos begins. Experience shows that this may not be possible later on. We all know that marriages tend to get busy with family and friends wanting to be around the bride and the groom constantly. Speaking frankly, couples find very few minutes to step away and take in their wedding day.

Saves Time between Ceremony and Reception

First looks are practical because they save a lot of time taking photos before the event. Once the pair has their moment, the photographer can continue taking photos of the bride and groom. 

The wedding party and family portraits can also be done after the couple’s private moment. This means there will be fewer photos to take after the ceremony, and there won’t be a need to rush to the cocktail hour or reception.

No One is Watching

With the one around, partners tend to get more comfortable expressing their emotions than when their bridal party or family is around. There is no pressure to express any emotion or react in a certain way. Couples are more genuine and passionate when they are alone. You wouldn’t believe the magic that happens during that moment.

The Cons of a Having a First Look

Yes, there are also cons which you may want to know about: 

  • You’ll break the tradition of the big reveal at the altar. However, this may not necessarily be a con for many couples. It is most important to trust your gut and do what’s most comfortable for both of you.
  • Even though it may sound like an interesting idea it means adding another event to your wedding day calendar, which means you’ll have to be ready earlier than usual. For many, getting up earlier than they have to may be a deal breaker. 

Stunning UK gay wedding at the Nunsmere Hall Hotel

What Are the Alternatives of a First Look

The fun part is that you can unleash your creativity. It’s a special way to show your uniqueness as a pair. Every couple is different, and if a first- look is not your jam, you can certainly go for something meaningful and authentic:

  • A first touch is a special twist. You’ll be placed in a spot where you won’t see each other but be close enough to touch. There is something enchanting about a first touch before getting married. It’s also an opportunity to talk and connect before the upcoming events.
  • Read a letter to your future spouse. This can be done in many different ways. You can stand on opposite sides of the door and read the letters you wrote without seeing each other, thus creating a deeper and more intimate connection. Also, you can have someone deliver the letter to your partner to read before the ceremony. 
  • Exchange your vows in private. There is no rule that says you have to do something so personal in front of everyone. Exchange the vows before the actual ceremony, when it’s just the two of you, and then proceed to the formal event with your loved ones. After all, the vows are about your promises to each other, and you may not want everyone to hear them.  
  • You can do a different first-something. Some partners like to combine a first look with their father, mother, or other family members or bridal party members. 

First Look Photos: Yay or Nay?

It’s not easy to make a decision on whether to incorporate such a custom or not. Although it should be a personal moment between the couple, it may also involve the wishes of other family members. It’s also important to consider the wedding day timeline, but finding what works best for you as a couple is important. And if you change your mind at the last moment, that’s fine. A good UK wedding photographer will manage to coordinate the changes in the best way possible. 

For more on the first look photos and similar topics, contact us, and we’ll gladly provide you with more information. And if you need a UK wedding photographer team, we would be delighted to capture your day!