If you are traditional and don't want to see the bride until she walks down the aisle that is completely fine. This is a beautiful and touching tradition and some want to share this moment in front of all their friends and family. However, if you are not superstitious or strictly traditional, we recommend doing the first look 2 hours before the ceremony while we are taking the family photos. As your photographers, we prefer doing the first look early and find that our brides and grooms are happier doing it this way as well.
We prefer doing the first look, and we think you will too, because of it's many pros. First off, you get to spend more time with your partner throughout the day. In other words, you don't have to wait until the ceremony to see them. You also get to join cocktail hour to relax and socialize with your guests and partner. When we do the first look before the ceremony, while we are taking your formals, all I ask is for 15-20 minutes of your time after the ceremony for some finishing touches, and then you can go and join cocktail hour. You also get a lot more pictures done because we get an earlier start on the day and on your formals.
This brings us to the one and only true con of doing the first look, having to start earlier. Both bride and groom need to be completely ready 2 hours before the ceremony so we can do the first look. It also means that we need to dedicate a longer period of time before the ceremony to taking pictures. Other than that, the first look allows for everyone to have a more relaxing time as the day goes on and you have more time to celebrate.
Whether or not you chose to do the first look is up to you. Remember that this is your wedding and you should do what you want to do! However, if you choose not to do the first look please don't ask me to join cocktail hour, please give me the hour to do your formal pictures. If you're not sure yet, hopefully this list of pros and cons makes the decision easier for you when planning your wedding day!