Alternative to First Look Balloons

A first look is the romantic moment when the happy couple see each other on their wedding day for the very first time. Traditionally, the first look is done before the ceremony—usually just between the couple, with a photographer to capture the moment. But your wedding doesn’t have to be traditional! Consider one of these alternatives to a first look.

If you want to share a romantic moment before the ceremony, but you also want to save the surprise for the aisle, these alternatives will do just that! They perfectly blend the pros and cons of a first look—so you and your soon-to-be can have the best of both worlds.

First Touch

You can still spend a special moment together without skimping on surprise. Many couples will hold hands around a corner or doorway to be together without seeing each other. During the intimate moment, you can swap romantic conversations, or just small talk to keep the jitters away. Just remember—no peeking!

8 Alternatives to a First Look

Vow Exchange

While seeing your spouse for the first time can be emotional, sometimes the vows are the real tear-jerkers. Prepare for that with a vow exchange. Swap hand-written vows, or record a reading of them ahead of time. The moment stays special without sneaking a peek.

Picture First Look

This is one of the closest alternatives to a first look. Ask the wedding party or a professional photographer to take pictures throughout the morning. Snap a few at breakfast, during hair and makeup, on the way to the venue. It’s a way to see them without being there in person. Plus, it makes for great wedding keepsakes!

Phone Call

Alternatives to a First Look Phone Call

Sometimes, just hearing their voice is enough! Similar to a first touch, you can simply check-in and chat, or you could read your vows or a personal letter. You could even Skype with the wedding party, for a group first look!

From a Distance

Some couples have a dramatic first look where they release balloons or open double doors to reveal the bride or groom. You could use one of these clever ideas—and then never reveal. Capture the bride behind a balloon bouquet, or the groom through frosted glass door.

Gift Exchange

Have the best man and maid of honor pass along gifts to open the morning of your wedding. It can be something sentimental to wear during the wedding, or simply a personal note reminiscing the reasons you fell in love with them. Don’t forget to capture pictures of the moment, too!

Wedding Breakfast

If you see them before the hair and makeup, does it even count as a first look? Before the chaos, grab some coffee or breakfast with your betrothed. It will help keep you centered before starting a very exciting—and very long—day.

No Dress (or Tux!)

Maybe it’s not the first look, per se, that’s an issue for you. Maybe you don’t want to spoil the surprise of you all dressed up in your dress or tux. Then you don’t need any of these alternatives to a first look! Simply save the, “Wow,” for the aisle and capture your first look in jeans and a t-shirt.


If you’re on the fence about a first look, you’re in luck! There are so many alternatives to a first look that you can totally customize your special day however you want. You could even go bold, and not do any sort of pre-aisle meeting. This makes a more dramatic entrance for both your fiancé and your guests. As always, the most important part to any first look is that it’s what you want for your wedding.