First things first, we need to define each thing.

  • A first look is when the couple see each other for the first time after getting all ready but it is done before the ceremony
  • A private moment is when it is arranged for the couple to be able to talk to one another and maybe even hold hand but do not see one another in the process
  • Wait until the ceremony is pretty self explanatory, The couple do not see each other until the walk down the aisle

I am going to fully admit that from a photographer's standpoint an arranged "first look" is absolutely the ideal situation. It's quiet, we can find a spot that is ideal when it comes to lighting, it's not as rushed as some other parts of the day tend to be and we can capture some of the most beautiful and emotional photos of the entire day during this time. I personally get a bit giddy with excitement when a bride or a couple say that they are putting a first look into their timeline.

  • You're still going to get that magical seeing each other for the first time emotion, it's just that it's private and meaningful because you can bask in it, with each other (and of course your photographer(s). Once the day gets into full swing you'll be swept away in the schedule of the day and the next quiet moment you may have with each other will be hours and hours away.
  • The couple has usually just finished getting ready so they are looking the best that they are probably going to look through out the day.
  • It helps to take away the nerves. You are with the one you love and you can just enjoy the moment without all eyes on you.
  • Most couples have reported that doing a first look has made them feel more relaxed when it's finally time for the ceremony. The jitters are calmed when they have already seen and spoken to one another.
  • Because the couple have already seen each other, the wedding party photos and possibly the family photos can also be scheduled taken pre-ceremony so that after the ceremony the couple can get right to enjoying time with their guests.

Speaking from a photographer's point of view the second best scenario is a the arranged "private moment" . Again it has to do with being able to set this moment up in a place that has the best lighting, it's usually not rushed, and some beautiful and emotional photos can be captured

  • It's done privately with just the couple and the photographer's present
  • The couple is set up in such a way that they can speak to one another, possibly hold hands but they never see one another
  • Because of being away from family and friends the couple is free to just be themselves and enjoy the moment
  • The con of this is that your wedding party and family photos have to wait until after the ceremony when it is often more difficult to gather people who are ready for the party.

There is nothing wrong with choosing to wait to see and speak to one another at the ceremony. Some think it's bad luck to see each other before the wedding. Here's an interesting tidbit. Did you know that this tradition originated with arranged marriages. When a couple was chosen for one another they were not allowed to see each other until the ceremony so that they wouldn't have the chance to back out once they saw what each other looked like (which is why it was considered bad luck to see each other). More commonly these days, most couples are getting married because they love one another not because it has been arranged some still like to uphold this tradition and that's perfectly okay. Of course, I would never dissuade a couple who chooses to go this route.

Deciding how to approach those first few moments of your wedding together is a personal decision. I hope that I have shed some light on some of the pros and cons that can help you make your decision.