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This week’s latest wedding conundrum is as follows: to have a first look or not?

If you’re not familiar with this wedding lingo, a first look is exactly what it sounds like – a meeting between the bride and groom before the ceremony, captured on camera. Typically the bride surprises the groom by tapping him on the shoulder so she can reveal her dress. It’s adorable, and the sweetest moment between the couple. When I’m on site with photographers assisting a wedding, this is one of my favorite moments that I feel honored to witness, but I never pictured Raven and myself doing it. Typically, Raven is pretty private, and for me I always wanted to keep the day uber traditional and abide by the “bad luck to be seen before the wedding” rule.

So here’s the rub: we are getting married after daylight savings time, which means the sun sets before you can say “Good Morning”. Our ceremony has always been slated for 2pm, cocktail hour at 5pm (because I have the most bad ass planner who allows me┬ástomp my foot and declare that I refuse to miss my cocktail hour). But even if the ceremony lasts an hour…that’s a two hour break that leaves day trippin’ guests with nary a thing to do. Even though we have ideas and schemes and plans to keep guests entertained, it’s still a long time. So yesterday, Ashley and I were talking, and now the first look is back on the table. We could have the ceremony at 3pm, have a quick break for guests to wander from the lake to the Inn, use the loo, powder their noses, and be back by 5pm so start cocktail hour.

Well? I need your input, friends! Did you do a first look? Would you? Does it matter in the end? Talk to me!










photo by Ashley Caroline.

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6 years ago

Hey Al – Kevin was totally against first look. We had the photographer come before and do separate photos… some of me and the ladies, then some of the guys. We also had a gap between our ceremony and reception, and decided that the guests were adult and could entertain themselves for an hour and a half. We took pictures during that time, because I also refused to miss my cocktail hour. Bottom line– the day is about you and Raven. That gap shouldn’t concern you at all. Hope all is well!!

6 years ago
Reply to  Abby

Thanks Ab! I love this piece of advise!! xoxo

Ashley Grombol
6 years ago

Allie!!!!!! I love reading all your wedding posts! I got married a little over two weeks ago and it is just the best, and planning is so fun, and if it gets not fun, something is wrong, give it a second. We did a first look and I am SO glad we did. While I was still a weepy mess of love in the ceremony, the initial nerves that were released from the first look was great, and having an intimate moment together before you officially commit your life to each other is incredible. It just amped us up for… Read more »

6 years ago
Reply to  Ashley Grombol

Okay ONE you were such a gorgeous bride and TWO I’m so excited you’re reading these posts! We’re basically sold on a first look, just have to make it official! xoxoxo

6 years ago

We did the first look, and all group photos before. (It would have been impossible to do them on the boat we had the ceremony and celebration on) But I loved doing that as one we were married we didn’t need to separate from the party immediately we could celebrate with all the people we loved. And we didn’t miss cocktail hour. So many of our guest said they felt they saw more of us than they did at other weddings, and I think it’s because we didn’t disappear for an hour to do photographs. So I recommend it ­čÖé

Megan Bungeroth (@MeganBungeroth)

I am a huge advocate of doing the first look thing, but the photos you get out of it are secondary I think. The reason to do it is that you will get some time together, mostly just the two of you, to see each other, to talk, to get grounded and connected before the ceremony. I loved that. When my cousin got married she waited to see her fiance until she was walking down the aisle and she was so amped up she almost hyperventilated in the limo – not because she was nervous or scared or anything like… Read more »