Looking at You, Looking at Me

You may have caught that I alluded to our pre-ceremony pictures in my post about transportation. And I  meant it just like it sounded—we’ll be doing all of the bridal party, immediate family, and couple’s photos before the ceremony.

So that means we’re in the first-look camp!

I don’t think there’s a right or a wrong way to go about the first-look decision, so I’m just sharing our reasoning for it here and it might help if you’re undecided. I loved the idea of a first look since I first heard about it years ago, and I always felt like it would be a good option for us. I really love surprises—both planning them and being surprised—and the idea of a first look gives me the same kind of rush as executing a good surprise. Or maybe I’m just narcissistic and want some good pictures of him observing how good I look in my dress. Same diff.

Once we get to wedding planning, I’m even more confident in this idea. First, do you remember our church, St. Francis?

St. Francis church aisle / Photo by Art de Vie

OK, so the angle and the lens may be exaggerating the image on the right a little, but it’s still a very long aisle. Our first glimpse of each other in the church will be from quite a distance, and we certainly won’t be able to see each other’s faces clearly. I’m sure it will still be an emotional moment, but I’d much prefer our reveal to each other to be at a proximity where no one feels inclined to squint to see the other.  I want to see that look in his eyes and his smile when he sees me as a bride for the first time, and I can’t do that from the vestibule.

Another thing we considered is the privacy of the first look. Sphinx is a sweet, romantic guy, but he doesn’t like expressing that in front of others—you know, it really works against his tough guy image. I think we’ll both be a bit more comfortable to get out the butterflies and see each other in a private moment. Or as private as you can be with photogs, a video crew, and some interested parents, bridal party, and probably random strangers (depending on where we do it). If we want to cry and talk and kiss it out then we can, without having to worry about jumping right into a mass. His presence and voice can calm me down when I am freaking out and stressed, and on the off chance that something might go wrong that day (insert sarcasm), I know seeing him beforehand will make me feel better.

Who can say they don’t love photos like this? / Photo by Meredith Purdue Photography

And the timing of photographs before the ceremony just works out so much better for us. With the ceremony beginning at 7:00 PM, it will be dark by the time we are finished with the mass, and I prefer daytime wedding pictures. We’ll get some night ones in the courtyard at the reception, but I want the majority to be in the daylight. I feel like they come off less formal and more fun and natural. This also means that we won’t have to take too long after the ceremony before joining our guests at the reception!

I know this is a pretty polarizing topic, but in the end it seems like it’ll just work out for us (Sphinx was cool with it once I explained it to him), and our photographers really recommend it.

How about you? Which side of the line do you stand on concerning first looks? Convenient and personal or do you prefer to preserve the big aisle moment?

PS: Today is Sphinx’s birthday, everybody! Can we get some birthday wishes for him? He’s a big fan of all the gals on here!


Miss Pyramid

New Orleans, LA
Wedding Date:

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  1. Member
    MsGeekE 75 posts, Worker bee @ 2:58 pm

    Happy birthday, Sphinx! We did a first look for many of the reasons you outlined (there is no force in the world that calms me down from a wedding-day-stress ledge like my sweet now-husband’s!) and it was honestly my favorite memory of the whole day. I hope you love yours just as much! :-D

  2. Member
    luluvohn 1160 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:18 pm

    Happy Birthday Sphinx! We’re doing a first touch instead of a first look because we’re both incredibly superstitious. While I like the idea of first look photos I can’t give up that notion of the doors opening at the venue and locking eyes. Though with your long aisle I can logistically understand! We’re having a trolley too, so we’re still trying to figure out if we both have to be blindfolded or just FI.

  3. Member
    Mrs. Filly 657 posts, Busy bee @ 3:58 pm

    Count us on team first look too. Happy birthday, Sphinx!

  4. Member
    mrscam24 26 posts, Newbee @ 4:05 pm

    I’m in the first look camp too. We had to move our wedding ceremony logistically EARLIER, so now we’re not going to do it due to time…but I’m totally pro-first look. I wanted some nerves calmed and alone time prior!

  5. Member
    Miss Wellies 1425 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:30 pm

    I love first look photos. The emotion in them is palpable. :) Happy Birthday, Sphinx!

  6. Member
    texasaggiemom 594 posts, Busy bee @ 9:05 pm

    Here’s hoping that Mr. Sphinx’s last birthday as a single guy is the best one yet! I’m selfishly glad your wedding is not until May, so we can enjoy your posts that much longer.

  7. Member
    ellemm005 172 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:13 pm

    We are not doing a first look because FI is very strongly against it – I tried my best to convince him otherwise and failed. I am just going to be excited to see him no matter what time it is!

    And happy birthday to Sphinx!

  8. Member
    Mrs. Waterfall 1324 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:08 am

    We didn’t do one, and I absolutely loved seeing Mr. W at the end of the aisle. We had a rather late ceremony too, and it would have been more convenient to have a first-look, but I”m glad we didn’t because the moment was perfect.
    Happy bday, Sphinx!

  9. Member
    Mrs. Gondola 980 posts, Busy bee @ 4:08 pm

    I say go for it. Day time phot

  10. Member
    Mrs. Gondola 980 posts, Busy bee @ 4:09 pm

    I say go for it. Day time photos are so pretty and seeing him beforehand is so nice.
    On another note, I’m super jealous of your long aisle. My aisle was kind of short and I wanted the walk to be longer.

  11. Member
    Mrs. Bicycle 628 posts, Busy bee @ 6:54 am

    I am so happy we did a first look! I don’t think I could have handled not seeing Mr. B all day. Happy birthday, Sphinx!

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