Playa Del Carmen Photographer Jorge Rodriguez
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First Look

Should You and Your Partner Do a First Look on Your Wedding Day?

What is a First Look?

A first look, or “reveal,” is when the couple sees each other before the ceremony. This moment is documented and often arranged so the couple can interact, take each other in, and spend a few minutes together before the hustle of the wedding festivities. Family and friends can be present, or it can be just the two of you. Usually, couples choose a first look so the formal photos can be taken before the ceremony, either due to time constraints, location choice, or personal preference.

Why Do Couples Choose a First Look?

Freshly Dressed

Your hair, makeup, and outfit are fresh and neat; why not have photos taken when you look your best?

Amazing Images

First look photos can be some of the most moving and impactful photographs of the day! When you see each other at the end of the aisle during the ceremony, you lock eyes but go right into the service. With a first look, you are free to be with each other for as long as you like.


If you don’t like the idea of everyone watching as you and your partner see each other for the first time on your wedding day, a first look can offer more privacy and time to spend with each other, alone, before the event. Alternatively, you can also choose to invite the family and wedding party to the reveal and let them all enjoy this moment together with you.

More Time for Formal Photos

If you have the ceremony and location at the same venue, there isn’t much time between the service and cocktail hour. Getting formal photos taken before the wedding ceremony allows you to take advantage of the beautiful Playa del Carmen landscape and allocate more time for pictures rather than rush through cocktail hour. More time means more photos and more opportunities for creative portraits.

Daylight if Sunset Ceremony

In some cases, the choice to photograph formals before the ceremony ensures the photos are taken during the daytime! If you wait until after a sunset ceremony to do your formal photos, they will be in the dark.

Location, Location, Location!

Sometimes, time doesn’t allow us to go to the amazing spots Playa del Carmen offers, but taking the formals before the ceremony gives us extra time to travel to great photo locations.

Fewer Interruptions

Getting formal portraits “out of the way” before the ceremony allows you just to relax and enjoy the wedding with your guests without being pulled away for professional photos. It also allows you to attend your cocktail hour with your guests.

Why Do Couples Choose NOT to Do a First Look?

There are a few downsides to photographing your wedding photos before the ceremony; it’s best to weigh your options, discuss them together, and choose what works best for you and your fiance.

Wedding Rings

One downside to doing the formals before the ceremony is that you won’t be actually married or wearing your wedding rings yet. If not having your wedding bands on for the formal photos would make you unhappy with the images, I don’t recommend the first look. We can, of course, photograph you and your partner after the ceremony (with rings) to add to the collections of pictures taken earlier in the day.

Touch-Ups Required

You’ll possibly get a little dirty or need a makeup touchup before the ceremony. I can’t promise a spotless dress; I can only promise great photos! We will try our best to keep everyone clean, but the beaches will leave some sand in your shoes.


Some couples want the experience of seeing each other at the end of the aisle. There is nothing wrong with following traditions, but it is your wedding, so do what YOU two want to do.

If you are unsure, we can discuss it together and see what would work best with your timeline. I will never pressure a couple either way—I can capture great photos for you before or after the ceremony—but I am happy to give advice and share my experiences.