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9184 PHOTOGRAPHY Savannah, Georgia Photographer

A Helpful Beginner’s Guide to Modern First Look Or Traditional First

Like me, the most anticipated thing you think of on your wedding day is seeing your spouse for the first time.

Many things play in the decision on if modern first look or traditional first look is the best fit:

  • You want to see each other when you walk down the aisle.
  • You want to see each other before the ceremony.
  • You have heard of a modern first look before but are still trying to figure out what the difference is/or not entirely sure why you should do it. Everyone you know has waited until the ceremony.

If any of these points are what you are thinking, then this post will hopefully answer all your questions. After reading the post in its entirety, and you still want further clarification, you can email me at

Pros to doing a first look

  1. You can get more connected and emotional before the ceremony.

On a wedding day, there is so much going on. You and your entire wedding party rush to prepare for the ceremony. There is no time before the ceremony to stop and relax to enjoy your day. The ceremony comes, and you must take pictures and entertain your guest right after the ceremony. No intimate time with your new husband or wife until everything is over.

A first look fixes all of this.

Now you can have an hour or more with your spouse to love on each other, cry together, and speak words to each other before the crazy day begins. That moment to connect and relax will make your day much more enjoyable. After all, this day is about you two, not entertaining your guest.

One thing to note is if you think there won’t be any emotion when walking down the aisle, it is not uncommon for couples to cry still when walking the aisle. That moment is always unique and brings the realness of reality to life.

2. A stressful wedding day is minimized.

Many things on a wedding day have to go to plan to make sure everyone is where they need to be to have the ceremony start on time. The worst thing is having your guests wait for you to walk down the aisle.

Having a first look helps with the timeline. You have a better look at the exact times that things will happen. I have done many first looks where we are ready for the ceremony way before the guest arrives.

Another plus is most of the photos are done before the ceremony. Most of your photos are done right after the first look (a few will be done right after the ceremony). Wedding party photos will also be done. The only things to be done right after the ceremony are family photos and those few of the newly married couple. This allows for you two to enjoy cocktail hour. Attending is rare with a traditional wedding day.

3. You get to say you did it differently.

One of the great things about the modern first look is it’s different from the traditional ways of having a wedding. Or another example is with a modern first look; there are so many options for how to do it.

It can be seeing each other face to face, a first look where you talk to each other in person but never see each other. Also, a great time to have that emotional moment together, but you can still keep that particular moment of seeing each other walk down the aisle. Also, you can do a first touch where you touch each other from two different sides of a wall or pole but still get to express words before the wedding. There are so many options. It’s creativity that you can create!

Cons to doing a modern first look

  1. You must be fully ready at least 2 hours before your ceremony. Your day may need to start earlier, or your ceremony will need to begin later since you will need time for the first look photographs and the wedding party. You can also choose to do the family during this time.
  2. The main con to doing a modern first look is seeing each other before the ceremony begins. If this is not a big deal breaker for you, then a modern first look is the way to go.

The Traditional First Look

A traditional first look is when the groom sees his beautiful bride when she walks down the aisle. This tradition has been celebrated for decades. The tension of the ceremony is high for the groom, which brings emotions to the surface that will be captured to remember for generations.

You can read more about the origin of the traditional wedding day with this Article.

Many couples still practice the traditional first look as a highly emotional, public part of their wedding ceremonies. And here are some of the main reasons why:

  1. It is the Traditional thing to do

It has been done time after time with many weddings, and it usually goes as planned each time (If you have a bomb photographer and wedding planner!! Ha-ha). The emotions of walking down the aisle are not only shared with your future partner but with all your guests that will be attending your big day.

Now to the cons of having a traditional first look.

I know there weren’t many pros, in my opinion, because although my wife and I did experience a traditional first look, after shooting modern first looks, I feel that the flow of the wedding day runs a little smoother with modern first looks.

  1. There is more stress and pressure to get things done. You want things to be perfect and everyone to be where they should be on time.
  2. You are busy the entire wedding time with little time to have an intimate moment with your spouse. Your photographer spend more time with you than you will with your newly married love.
  3. Instead of ceremony and then party, its ceremony then pictures, more pictures and reception, and more timeline crunching until the end of the reception.

My professional perspective on modern first look vs. traditional first look

Your wedding day will be perfect! We would choose to have a modern first look for photographers because it reduces the post-ceremony rush of the bridal party and formal family photos. You are in more control of the wedding day rather than having little time for mistakes or getting behind schedule with a traditional first look. Although it’s up to you on which you would like to have and with both at the end of the night you will be married.

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I’m Amelia


Fueled by equal parts sweet tea and passion, I spend my days capturing the kinds of images that make you stop, smile and ask time to please slow down. Your story, your love, is beautiful and I can’t wait to capture it in images you will treasure for years to come. I believe in real moments and heartfelt conversations on the front porch. In the kinds of images that remind you of the joy that can be found in the simplest of moments together.