First Look: To see or not to see, that is the question

first look
Photo by: Kataram Studios

Whether to see each other before the wedding is a topic that can become a bone of contention for some couples, while others jump on board in breaking tradition with ease. So, what is a first look and why should you consider it? 

The first look is a newer wedding tradition where the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony for a few private moments and lots of photos! But, like all traditions, it’s not for everyone.

Here are a few things to consider.

First: Timing and location of your ceremony

Sunset is a key thing to consider when planning your photos.  The last thing you want is to have planned on having outdoor photos only to find that the sunset occurred while you were in your ceremony and it’s now dark!  If your ceremony time is close to sunset, you may want to consider a first look before the sunset and the ceremony.

If you are having your ceremony on site with us at the Tiffany Ballroom, a first look can easily be done on our bridge or at our waterfall.

Second: When to consider a First Look

Consider a first look
Photo by: Gonsalves

Mindy, Senior Catering Sales Manager, recommends having a first look if you are doing an onsite ceremony.   By scheduling your photos prior to the ceremony, you’ll have unlimited time to get in all the important shots at all of the desired locations.  

The day goes by so quickly, trust us, you’ll want to soak in every moment you can.  Consider having the first look with just you and your fiancé.  This gives you the opportunity to see each other and enjoy a few private moments together.  Odds are, this will be one of the memories you will cherish most on your wedding day.  

After your first look, you can have the rest of your wedding party and family join in for group shots. “While a first look may be not traditional, having all of your pictures done ahead of time makes the day less stressful as you aren’t in a time crunch”, says Jayme, Catering Sales Manager.

Imagine it, you’ve just said, “I Do” and are walking down the aisle for the first time as a married couple. You’re flying high and so elated; all you want to do is party.  With your photos done, you can take a few minutes to toast with your wedding party, then join in and enjoy the full cocktail hour with your guests.  Without a first look, you’ll be whisked off with your photographer for a 45-minute session of photos before returning to get introduced into the reception.  Can you get every shot you want at that time? Maybe, but why risk it and miss out on the first hour of your reception.  

A first look isn’t without its cons either.  Consider that your dress may get a wee bit dirty if you are outside. Photographers we have worked with in the past do everything they can to keep this to a minimum.  You also may want to touch up your hair and makeup after the photos.  Talk to your stylist to see if there are easy fixes you can do to freshen up or if you would want them to stay longer.

Third: When Not to do a First Look

When not to do a first look

If you are having a ceremony off site and have a gap of time between the church and the reception, doing a first look isn’t something you need to consider (unless of course you want to).  Many places of worship have set schedules to when they can perform ceremonies.  If you have a 2pm ceremony and a 6pm reception, you have all the time needed to get your photos done, while leaving time for a refresh, if needed!  During this time, your guests can come check into their hotel room, or enjoy a beverage at our on-site restaurant One Bistro.

If tradition is important to you or another family member and you want to see each other for the first time, that’s ok too.  Work with your photographer to plan out how to get the most important shots in a shorter amount of time. Having a set plan and list of shots is key to making the most of your time.  

You’ll spend your cocktail hour getting these shots done so, generally, you’ll do your group shots first followed by portraits of you and your spouse.  As the photographer is finished with groups they can be released back to cocktail hour.  We recommend giving a check list of groups and photos to someone in the wedding party as well as the photographer.  

If you are doing big family shots, make sure to assign a responsible person to assist in gathering everyone in one place at a specific time.  We’re sure you can imagine how difficult it can be to be searching for one or two people in a crowd, and to pulling them away from the bar and unlimited hors d’Oeuvres! 

Finally, whether you choose to do a first look or want to remain traditional and do all your photos after the ceremony, our catering team is here to work with you and your photographer to plan for all your important photos! Do you have questions about first look options at the Tiffany Ballroom in Norwood, MA? Give us a call at 781-255-3159 or email us at