“May” I have a few minutes of your time to talk about this month's blog post? HaHa! See what I did there?

HAPPY MAY! The warm weather is officially here to stay in Alabama…Hopefully. But don't bet your life on that. 

With that being said, if you're new here, Hi! I'm Sarah Lillich, an Alabama wedding and engagement photographer who created The Lillich Collective to share all the tips, tricks, secrets and funny stories to help guide you through your planning process! If this isn't your first time reading The Lillich Collective I am so happy to see you back! You’re the best.

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Check out my last blog to hear the method I developed for asking your wedding photographer questions about their services! Avoid the redundant, mundane questions that they have perfectly tailored answers for and get to know if your personalities work well together!

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Before we get into the nitty gritty of this wedding trend let me preface this with all the fluff, this is my opinion, PLEASE do what is best for you and your special day. I will try my best to give you unbiased pros and cons and my opinions will be based solely on first hand experience!

Now, do you want the good or the bad first? The pros or the cons? As much as I wish there was a third option so I could “compliment sandwich” first looks, unfortunately there's not. From experience most brides (including myself) are either hot or cold in this subject. But in case you are one of the few lukewarm brides I am going to go through the biggest pros and cons considering first looks on your wedding day. 

Per usual, I am going to lay out what a first look entails. It is pretty self explanatory but for the sake of being thorough, a first look is the first time someone sees the Bride and/or Groom. It takes place before the ceremony. An example of who might do a first look is:

Bride + Groom

Bride + Father

Bride + Mother

Bride + Bridesmaids

While it's not all too common, the groom can also do a first look with all these people, as well!

So, now that you have a basic understanding of what and who a first look involves, let's talk about 3 “Pros” of doing one or many during your wedding day! 


I. The Intimacy!

There is a lot of emotion leading up to the first meeting of the day. Getting a first look with your groom, gals, or parents allows you to breathe as well as have a moment to recap all the excitement and thankfulness one on one. You can not beat the “pre-altar” thankfulness. Taking in all the effort and great lengths that have been taken to get you to that moment in time.

II. More Time for Pictures!

Okay, okay, this may be a little bias but I think most brides and vendors can agree with me on this one. You have more time for pictures! Whether that be Family or Couples portraits it makes a large difference when constructing the timeline of your day. If you are someone who stresses easily or gets eager when waiting, a first look will allow you to ease through the day without worrying if everything is in place!

III. Private Vows!

Doing a first look with your bride or groom gives you time to do private vows! If you or your partner get stage fright, doing your vows privately at the first look may be exactly what you're needing. And if you are doing this, I'm jealous. I wish I would have done this!

As unbelievable as this may sound, I actually had a hard time coming up with the cons of a first look. But, I promised to give you pros AND cons so with the help of other photographers here are three cons.


I. Breaking Culture/Tradition.

Now this may not apply to you. But it is against the tradition of “first look at the altar”. But since you're looking into the pros and cons of first looks something tells me breaking culture or tradition isn't at the top of your list of importance. At the end of the day, do what's best for your beliefs!

II. Your guests won't be there.

Your wedding day is all about you, but acting like you haven't gone to great lengths to consider the comfortability of every guest would be blatantly ignoring the reality of most of today's wedding motives. If you want your family, friends, and loved ones to experience the first look then doing a “pre-ceremony first look” wouldn't be for you!

III. Earlier Morning.

Depending on the time of your ceremony you may have to wake up earlier to start the getting ready process. If you aren't a morning person or plan on having a late night before (I highly recommend not having a late night) then maybe a first look isn't for you.

Okay, maybe I do have a “compliment sandwich” for first looks. I gave you the pros, I gave you the cons, now I'm going to give you alternate “first Look '' options that you could do in place of or in addition to your first look that are guaranteed to make great pictures and keepsakes! So if you weren't convinced one way or another take these alternatives into consideration before deciding.


I. First Touch.

This is the most well known alternative to the “first look”, and like the first look its pretty self explanatory. You and your partner either close your eyes or meet at the corner of a room or even behind a door and hold hands, take a deep, breath talk to each other and it doesn't ruin the emotions behind the first look at the altar

II. Phone Call.

As funny as this may sound, if you're marrying someone who feels like home, hearing their voice may calm your nerves as well. Even though you're only a few steps away or a quick trip apart, a phone call to talk about your excitement and nerves may be a great alternative to a first look. (Brownie points if you do it on an antique phone!)

III. Letters/Gifts

Have your photographer or planner/coordinator take your partner a handwritten note or a perfectly throughout gift before the ceremony. Have them sit alone, open, read and experience the letter or gift. This makes for an intimate touch without having to see or speak. It also gives you an awesome keepsake for the memories.

Okay, Hopefully that helps you atleast begin thinking about what you want. All in all as a photographer it makes the day flow 100x smoother when there is a first look or first touch. However, it is not a requirement. Infact most of the weddings ive done havent done a first look including the bride and groom. They were still awesome!

So, do what is best for you and what makes you feel the happiest and prettiest on your wedding day.