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Should I do a First Look? | Pros & Cons

First looks have become the new norm in wedding day timelines. Almost every couple at Bear Brook Valley opts to do a first look with their soon-to-be spouse, rather than wait to see each other for the first time down the aisle. 68% of Bear Brook Valley Instagram followers say they are doing a first look, and 32% say they'd rather keep it traditional and wait till the ceremony.

Feeling undecided on whether or not you should do a first look? We're breaking down the pros and cons.


  • By doing a first look, you and your fiancé can spend more time together. Once the first look is over, you can enjoy the rest of the day together.

  • You won't miss cocktail hour, and trust us, you don't want to! The majority of Bear Brook Valley couples decided to do a first look so that they won't miss out on the cocktail hour and a half.

  • You'll have more special photos than if you didn't do a first look. When you do a first look, it's just you, your fiancé, and the photographer. No distractions, no guests getting in the way of the photos with their phones, just an intimate moment to capture the two of you and your emotions.

Megan F., one of the wedding coordinators at Bear Brook Valley is in favor of doing a first look for multiple reasons:

  1. If you finish most or all photos before the ceremony, you get to enjoy more of cocktail hour!

  2. If you are at cocktail hour, you can greet all of your guests and won't have to do so during dinner.

  3. Depending on your timeline, if you take photos before the ceremony, you won't have to worry about running out of sunlight for the photos.



  • Many couples fear that doing a first look will take away from the emotions of seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle.

  • You have to get ready earlier. Bear Brook Valley wedding coordinators, Christina and Megan suggest doing a first look 2 hours prior to the ceremony. This means that you have to be ready (hair, makeup, dressed) more than two hours earlier than if you choose not to do a first look.

  • Doing a first look breaks tradition. Not ready to join in on the first look wedding trend? Keep it traditional and do what feels best to you!


Kristine and Evan's first look certainly didn't take away from the ceremony emotions (click the arrow to see more)!


Couples' Thoughts on First Looks

Team First Look

  • "[The ceremony] is still special and you can attend your cocktail hour...Best of both worlds!"

  • "Gives you the time to enjoy your cocktail hour and EAT!! :)"

  • "I want to enjoy my cocktail hour instead of spending that time taking pictures!"

  • "A private moment for just us! We get to enjoy the night with pics being done early."

  • "We did a first look so we could actually socialize during BB's awesome cocktail hour!"

Team I'll See You at The Altar

  • "Keeping it a surprise until I walk down the aisle and see my future hubby at the aisle."

  • "I look forward to the first time seeing my FH with the music playing down the aisle."

  • "I don't think anything beats the look on the groom's face as you walk down the aisle!"

  • "We want to be more traditional when groom sees bride first time down the aisle"

  • "Takes away from the ceremony emotions (the whole point of the day)!"



Family First Looks

If you're not sure about doing a first look with your groom or bride, consider doing a first look with your parents, grandparents, siblings, or wedding party. One bride says, "I want to do a first look with my father. Groom can wait until the aisle!"


First Look Pranks

Have some fun with your first look!

One of Bear Brook Valley's wedding coordinators, Christina, always recommends that couples do a first look. She says, "[Doing a first look] makes for a much more relaxed day for the couple afterward." Her favorite spots for a first look in the spring, summer, and fall are the boardwalk & the vineyard! Check out the top photo spots at Bear Brook Valley for more first look location ideas.

If spending more time together and having the option to enjoy cocktail hour is important to you, then go for the first look! If you want to keep it traditional, then wait to see each other down the aisle. Either way, the staff at this New Jersey wedding venue, Bear Brook Valley is here to ensure that your day runs smoothly and will make sure you get to enjoy each moment, and most importantly, the food 😏


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