The First Look: A Raleigh Wedding Planner’s Guide

by | Aug 30, 2017 | Tips

Feature photo by Riley MacLean Weddings. Knots ‘N Such is a Raleigh wedding planner.


Wherever you are in your wedding planning process, a question that is going to come up in discussion is how are you going to answer, “First look or no look?” Tradition has taken an evolution in the last few years, so here are three popular options to help you navigate that discussion!


Traditional Traditions


The tradition of not seeing the bride before she walks down the aisle is mostly superstition. Its origin is supposedly from arranged marriages, but the idea is that it is bad luck. This aside, it certainly has its pros and cons!


  • The emotional build-up
  • Extra time to get ready
  • Sharing the big reveal with friends and family
  • Less chance of ruining your dress

  • Lacks intimacy
  • Slightly more nerve-wracking
  • Heightened expectations
  • Requires perfect timing


Raleigh Wedding Planner & Florist

Photo by Lauren V. Allen Photography


The Modern Moment


The modern moment that more brides are choosing is the private first look prior to the ceremony. This is a newer evolution on the older tradition where, with the photographer, the couple have a grand but private meeting. This may be at the ceremony space or in a pre-planned meeting of choice. The photographer prepares the groom in place and then guides the bride to be prepared for the big “turn around” moment. Some couples choose to exchange gifts now, some couples just exchange embraces. They make this moment work for them and allow a moment to “breathe” before the wedding itself.


  • A calm moment of intimacy
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Saves time on after ceremony/cocktail hour photos of the couple
  • Gorgeous portraits filled with genuine emotion, minus the pressures of family

  • Earlier preparation time
  • Tighter schedule with less flex time included
  • The dress has a higher risk of damage with prolonged exposure prior to the ceremony


Bride & groom portrait

Photo by JB Haygood Photography


The “No-Look” First Look


There is one final mid meeting point between tradition and modern. The “no look, first look” or what I call the “first touch”, where the bride and groom still have a private meeting time, just without physically seeing each other, possibly holding hands around the corner or having some other element of decoration as the separation. This is a great way to combine tradition and modern styles, and definitely a conversation to have with your photographer if you are struggling with fully choosing either side.


Raleigh Wedding Planner & Florist

Photo by ASB Photography


There is a moment in planning where decisions must be made, and believe me when I tell you, everyone will have an opinion. Ultimately what it comes down to is: what works for you as a couple, what makes sense with your personalities?  At the end of the day, you are married, so this is just one small step toward the grand finale! Whatever you choose, your groom will definitely be at a loss for words to describe your beauty!




PBD Coordinator