First Look in the Woods

It’s inevitable—eventually, you’re going to see your spouse on your wedding day. The big question is, “When will that first look be?” While tradition means seeing your bride as she walks down the aisle, wedding trends say otherwise. It’s not uncommon for couples to take a few minutes before the ceremony and share first looks then.

If you’re unsure when to schedule the big reveal, take a look at our pros and cons. They’ll have you think through both options, because it’s all about choosing what’s right for you and your spouse.

Pros of a First Look

1. Fewer Jitters

Many couples choose to do a first look so there are fewer jitters during the ceremony. By seeing your partner privately—and not in front of everyone else—you create a pressure-free environment where you can show any emotion you want to. In planning your wedding, you’ve likely threatened to elope more than once. So a nice private moment before all the festivities begin is a calming, centering experience.

2. You See Them First

Obviously! But more than that, you’re seeing them first before anyone else. That special moment is shared just between you and your soon-to-be spouse. It can be captured in a picture, or not—that’s totally up to you. But you can use the few minutes to exchange gifts, give a pep talk, or even take a shot of liquid courage!

3. You Can Choose the Setting

Capturing the first look down an aisle is expected. But if you capture the moment beforehand, you can use any setting or prop. Some couples let go of balloons for the reveal. Others walk through doors, close enough so both lovebirds can be in the same shot.

Cons of a First Look

1. It Ruins the Excitement

Of course—your special day is exciting no matter what. But you’ve spent so much time and money making this day perfect. And a big bride reveal is the kickoff! Not having that would make it just a little less adventurous.

2. Takes Extra Time

It might not take a lot of extra time, but weddings tend to run a little late as it is. Adding another stop on top of hair, makeup, and photos with the girls could end up delaying the wedding—overall setting a stressful tone to the event. (Although we all know the wedding starts when the bride is ready!)

Groom Looking Around Corner

3. Poor Lighting or Location

If you chose a location for your wedding, chances are you love the venue. With a first look, you usually can’t take them on-site—you could risk everyone else seeing! This means you have to find a new location and consider the lighting and scenery to make sure you have a picture-perfect moment. This can be timely and costly for the two of you.


There are a lot of points to consider before making a decision. And truly the only right option is the one you and your spouse want. If you love the idea of a first look, but don’t want your friends and family to miss out, do a first touch. Stand apart around a corner and hold hands, or get those balloons and don’t let go! Share a a moment without losing any of the big reveal.