Have you ever heard of a wedding day “first look?” In the past, many brides would do a first look with their parents, bridesmaids, or grandparents, where they would get a sneak peek of the bride before the ceremony. But there’s a different type of first look that’s become extremely popular: a first look with the groom.

I know what you might be thinking, because I was thinking it too. What! Why would I want to ruin that moment with my husband seeing me for the first time while walking down the aisle?! Because, let’s be real, that’s a HUGE part of a wedding day. Many little girls imagine walking down the aisle to their Prince Charming, seeing his face light up when his eyes meet your bridal image. So let me say first and foremost – I totally, completely, 100% get where you’re coming from. In fact, on my wedding day, my husband and I chose to forego a first look. But looking back on that day, it’s easy to see all of the benefits a first look would have brought. Without further ado, here are a couple of the top reasons of why you might want to consider a first look:

1. You’ll have more time for portraits.

If photos are important to you, having a first look is a great way to make sure you’ll get tons of photos of you and your soon to be husband! Wedding photography is an investment, and having a first look means getting the most out of your money! Typically, first looks are done before the ceremony, when there’s less of a time crunch (opposed to between the ceremony and reception timeframe).

2. You’ll have more time together.

This is a HUGE one, and one I wish I would’ve considered going into my own wedding day! On your wedding day, you’ll come down the aisle, get married, jump straight into portraits, then jump straight into the reception – there’s barely any time to have a relaxed moment together. But with a first look, you’ll get the majority of your photos done before the ceremony, and will therefore have much more time to enjoy just being together (plus, you’ll get to attend cocktail hour!).

3. You’ll get to enjoy the surprise!

When you’re walking down the aisle and your husband to be sees you for the first time, he’s going to be shocked. Flabbergasted. Over the moon excited! But… he can’t say anything to you. He can’t tell you how much he loves you, how beautiful you look, how excited he is to marry you – he has to wait until after the ceremony, and by that time, the initial reaction has worn away. With a first look, you can share that moment – together.

4. You’ll be less rushed. 

Have you ever been to a wedding where there was a 3-5 hour time gap between the ceremony and reception? Me too. I remember being antsy, hungry, and ready for the party to start by the time bridal party made it to the reception. Doing a first look means being able to do the majority of your photos before the ceremony, which cuts down time between the ceremony and reception for your guests.

5. You’ll be less nervous.

I’m naturally more of an introvert, so being in front of a crowd of people gives me a little bit of anxiety. If you’re like me, consider doing a first look. You’ll get to experience that moment together – just the two of you (plus your photographer, hopefully from afar J ) – without anyone else around. There’s no pressure to react a certain way, no onlookers, just a private moment between the two of you.

Now, let me put a little disclaimer on this blog post – I in no way, shape, or form would ever want to force a first look on anyone! It’s something that should be decided by each couple together (sometimes I even feel bad sharing this option because of how touchy a subject it can be!). But I’ve seen the benefits of doing a first look over and over and always want to share and help my couples (or any couple) find the best option for them and make the most informed decision. So please – by no means feel obligated or forced into a first look (again, I didn’t even have one!) – but do consider the benefits, and make the best decision for you!

Jenna Hidinger Photography is a Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer located in Zelienople, Pennsylvania who has a heart for encouraging, loving, and serving her couples on their wedding day and in their marriage.