To Look or Not to Look


guest blog // Swatch Studios

It’s probably something you’ve imagined time and time again. The wedding day comes, the anticipation builds, you hideaway with your respective parties getting ready for the big moment. You’re about to see your soon-to-be spouse before you say ‘I do’. 

And this is where it looks different for many people. Some couples prefer to have a more intimate, private first look well before the ceremony while others prefer to keep with tradition and wait for the special moment when they see each other at the end of the aisle. We can see the pros and cons of both options and don’t like to push our couples one way or the other, but there are a few things to consider while trying to decide which route to take. 


Keep with Tradition

You can’t deny that waiting for the moment when you’re walking up the aisle can be special. It’s tradition! The anticipation builds up all day until you get to stand in front of your family and friends and come together to say your vows. All the preparation and the details come together for this one moment. That rush of love and emotions may be the reason you decide to wait for your ceremony to see each other. Or perhaps your decision is more technical. If your ceremony and reception are in different locations or your ceremony is earlier in the day, it might not make sense to see each other beforehand. Either way, it’s important to plan your timeline accordingly and make sure you have plenty of time in between your ceremony and reception for photos!


  • The moment you see each other at the start of the ceremony can be just as you have always imagined.

  • Even if you don’t do a first look, you can still create a special moment with your betrothed before the ceremony without seeing each other. Say a prayer or read a special note to each other on the opposite side of a door/wall.



  • If your ceremony is later in the afternoon, you won’t get to spend as much time with your soon-to-be spouse on your wedding day.

  • You will need to plan extra time between the ceremony and reception, leaving your guests to find something to do while they await the start of the reception.  

Tips from Swatch Studios:

  • Save a little time by skipping the receiving line - this will allow you to jump right into bridal party photos.

  • Plan time before the ceremony to take photos of each side of your bridal party separately. This will allow you to focus on the couple’s photos after the ceremony.

  • Give your guests tips on some of your favorite places, like your favorite bar, museum or park to fill the time between the ceremony and reception.


First Look

Choosing to do a first look is a great option for couples that aren’t into sticking to tradition. You might not want to have to worry about hiding from each other leading up to the ceremony, but most couples do a first look so they have more time to spend with each other on their wedding day. You don’t have to skip that special moment of seeing each other for the first time - you can plan the first look to be as intimate as you want, or include your family, bridal party, and fur babies. Either way, planning your timeline accordingly is still super important!  


  • You get to spend more of this special day with your beau. Not to mention, you get more time to hang with your people! 

  • If you are a more private couple, you can take advantage of an intimate first look with nobody around and enjoy a few quiet moments alone before the wedding day excitement continues.

  • Get rid of some of those wedding day nerves instead of letting them build up until the ceremony.



  • Doing a first look may not be the dramatic, traditional moment you imagined for your wedding. 

  • Superstitious couples might believe seeing each other before the ceremony is bad luck!

Tips from Swatch Studios:

  • Give yourselves even more time than you think you might need for photos. This will allow you to relax, which will result in you feeling more comfortable and natural for photos!

  • Schedule your ceremony time to a little later in the day since you’ll be getting all your photos beforehand. 

  • Since the majority of your photos will be done before the ceremony, you can sneak away for a few more portraits as newlyweds during cocktail hour and take advantage of the early evening light! You’ll even have time to make a surprise appearance at cocktail hour!



We are Ohio creatives with a passion for crafting tailored, artistic wedding photographs & films for extraordinary couples. Now booking 2020!