First Look vs. Aisle Look (which one?)

When you and your partner see each other for the first time on your wedding day there is no doubt it will be a magical moment. We still get teary-eyed when our clients see each other’s wedding looks. All of the planning and the timeline of your story has led to your special day. You might be contemplating whether to share a first look or a traditional aisle look.

There are pros and cons to both but, there is no wrong decision! Do what is best for you and your future spouse. As wedding planners, we are here to breakdown your options to help you with decision-making. This is one of the most emotional moments of a wedding day so we understand the importance of this choice! Even if you love the idea of both options, we are here to offer some alternatives to consider. Ready to decide on a first look or aisle look? Let’s go over your choices.

What is a First Look?

You might be questioning, what exactly is a first look? This is a scheduled time before the ceremony for just you and your future spouse to see each other. You will get ready for your wedding day and go to a set location at your venue to meet your spouse. Often, your wedding planner will coordinate this so your partner is prompted exactly when to turn around to see you. Pick an area of your venue with a view for the ultimate photo moment!

We love this option because it can ease any pre-wedding nerves and offers time for you to capture some couple’s photography. This saves time for you to relax and party with guests later without being pulled away for more photos. You and your partner can exchange letters and gifts or possibly share a celebratory drink before guests arrive. As long as you don’t mind skipping tradition a bit, a first look may be the option for you!

First Look Alternatives

If you know you want to save the first look with your spouse for the aisle, there are some sweet alternatives to consider. You can still exchange letters or gifts without having to see each other. Find a cute doorway where you can stand on either side or even have your wedding planner bring these items to you. Your videographer can record this moment for you to watch back later.

A first look isn’t just for you and your partner! Share this heartfelt moment with family members or your wedding party. This is a great way to honor your loved ones and still capture some photos in advance. You might plan out a special gift for them during this moment. If you are choosing a wedding party first look but still want to get ready for the day with them, wait to put on your dress or veil. Ask them to step out of the room and then plan for a grand reveal!

Traditional Aisle Look

A traditional aisle look is truly timeless. This is the moment where your partner will see you for the first time along with your guests during the ceremony. If this is what you have always imagined, go for it! There is no doubt this is such a special moment that you will never forget.

If you are concerned about the timeline afterward, our tip is to still schedule some photos beforehand. You can capture photos in separate groups with your bridesmaids, groomsmen, individual, and even some family portraits. The best way to provide space in your timeline is to be sure to include a cocktail hour. You and your new spouse can venture off for photography while your guests mingle and enjoy the venue. Your photographer and vendor team will take care of the rest and your day will flow seamlessly!

Aisle Look Alternatives

While there aren’t complete alternatives to an aisle look, we do have some ideas to make the moment extra special. If you have opted for a first look but still want to surprise your partner during the ceremony, don’t reveal your full wedding look. You might wait to wear your veil or change up your hairstyle. Maybe you don’t bring your bouquet along quite yet for the first look. This is a wonderful way to get a sense of both options while still making the decision that works best for you!

Bride and groom kissing under wedding arch
Planning & Design: Your Inspired Event | Venue: Carmel Valley Ranch | Florals: Gavita Flora | Photography: Ellie Koleen

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