The Battle of Tradition and the Timeline – First Look vs. No Peeking

Early in the planning, you are going to have a big decision looming over your head that will ultimately determine what your wedding day will look like. And not in a small way, like the positioning of your centerpieces, but in a huge, everything teeters on this decision kind of way. The choice that you will have to make is whether you want to see each other for the first time at the ceremony, as you make your walk down the aisle, or if you would rather have a coordinated first look so you can see each other before the wedding. There are advantages and disadvantages of both, so we want to educate and further help you make the decision that best fits your style. For the longest time, and up until just recently, it was considered bad luck to see each other before the wedding. 

Back when marriages were commonly arranged by families, the parents of the bride didn’t want the groom to have an opportunity to learn of any flaws in his betrothed. Seeing each other before the ceremony could result in a broken engagement and bring shame to the family. Thus, the superstition was born. And while today we are all allowed to marry our soulmate, instead of in exchange for a plot of land and some grain, the controversy of the bride and groom seeing each other pre-nuptials lives on.

If you believe in the superstition, then hands down, don’t start your marriage with a jinx. You can make your decision that easily. But, if you are teetering on the line, then here are some advantages and disadvantages you may want to consider about the first look vs. no peeking.

Advantages of Tradition

  • If your wedding is taking place in the morning,  such as a morning mass or around brunch time, then it would be best to see each other at the ceremony so that you can give yourself a relaxed morning to get ready with your bridal party. 
  • If your wedding is in the late afternoon or evening, and you have a large bridal party, then you won’t have to start your day in the wee hours of the morning to be ready in time. 
  • Waiting to take the majority of your photos at the ceremony and directly following will condense your timeline and therefore, could save money on photography and videography packages.

Disadvantages of Tradition

  • Nerves can get the best of you on the wedding day. And sometimes, the best person that can alleviate those nerves is the exact person that you are trying to avoid.
  • Your grandparent’s wedding is not your own. Traditions have the ability to influence someone in a negative way. Remembering that this is your wedding and that together you will start your own traditions is the best remedy in knowing you won’t be steamrolled into submission.
  • Unless there is a substantial break of time between the ceremony and the reception, it typically only takes an hour until guests have become restless at the cocktail hour. That being said, you are trying to cram the family formals, bridal party shots, and photos of the two of you into that time frame.

Advantages of the First Look

  • You can rarely find a moment alone during the wedding day. You will constantly be surrounded by family and friends from the first cup of coffee until the last song. Having a first look that is private gives you the opportunity to share a few moments alone and to take in the reality of the day together.
  • Reactions are priceless. And if there is ever an emotion that we want to bottle up, it is the look on a groom’s face when he first sees the beauty of his bride. A first look gives the groom the ability to see and embrace his bride quietly without having an entire group of guests gawking at him. And as always, photographers and videographers are capturing the moment.
  • The greatest advantage of having the first look is that it helps to release the tension for time on your day. When a first look takes place hours before the ceremony, then there is more time to capture the bride and groom photos as well as the bridal party shots before the nuptials. The only photos taking place after the ceremony is the family formals.

Disadvantages of the First Look

  • If not coordinated correctly, you may have conspicuous bystanders, such as friends, family and complete strangers watching your most personal moment. Finding a secluded location for the first look is very important. 
  • If you decide to take photos after the first look, then your dress will most likely show it. After walking in the grass, toting your dress around and hopping in and out of the car, your wedding gown will not be as pristine as if you had just put it on at the church.
  • Coordinating a first look makes for a longer day-of schedule. The whole bridal party needs to be ready earlier to start photos directly after the first look. The photographer and videographer teams also have to plan for a long day of coverage (easily 8 hours), which may impact pricing.

Enjoying “First Look vs. No Peeking” and ready to start finding vendors for your wedding? Check out our collection of Kansas City Wedding Vendors.