Should You have a First Look at Your Indian Wedding?
First look - couple share smiles and laughter

Should You have a First Look at Your Indian Wedding? – Traditional vs Modern

After photographing 200+ Hindu & Sikh Indian Weddings in the US and Canada, we wanted to share the pros and cons of a first look at your Indian wedding. We will also walk you through the differences, pros and cons between the traditional and modern first look at your Indian wedding.

Indian wedding days can be very hectic. Considering Gujrati hindu weddings or lavish sikh weddings, all Indian weddings come with a packed schedule. There are certain precious moments like the first time you see your wife on the wedding day which need to be preserved. 

Traditional vs Modern First Look at your Indian wedding

What is the Traditional first look at your Indian wedding? – Traditional first looks are basically when the bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day at the wedding ceremony. On Hindu and Sikh weddings, this tradition is coming out from ages where bride and groom were not allowed to see each other before the wedding day until they were at the mandap. This tradition dates back to times of arranged marriages.

Traditional first look at this high-end Indian wedding
Traditional First Look

What is the Modern first look at your Indian wedding? – Modern first look is when a couple decides to see each other before the Hindu or Sikh wedding ceremony. We usually start by positioning our groom first at a location and then have the bride walk towards the groom. This way they have that special first look moment for themselves.

Indian couple at Hilton Head first look
Modern First Look

When to Schedule the First Look at your Indian Wedding

  • For Sikh Weddings – Best time to plan first look at Sikh ceremony will be after the milni when everyone is getting inside the Gurdwara for breakfast before the ceremony. 
  • For Hindu Weddings – There are multiple time slots where you can plan a first look in Hindu wedding ceremony.
    • Morning Hindu Ceremony – It’s usually after the baraat for morning Hindu ceremonies. When guests are enjoying breakfast, we can sneak out the couple outside the venue to photograph the first look.
    • Afternoon or Evening Ceremony – It is pretty easy to perform modern first looks at afternoon or evening Hindu wedding ceremonies. We can have the bride and groom get ready around 11am or noon, then meet up for the first look and do portraits. This way you get your pictures done right before the baraat and ceremony. 

Flawless Makeup Pictures on Hindu Ceremonies

Another major benefit of doing a first look at your Indian wedding before the ceremony is flawless makeup in images. Especially in Gujarati and most other Hindu ceremonies, certain rituals performed during the ceremony such as the sindoor, blessing from married women, and jaimala, can ruin the makeup and hair of the bride. When we are doing first looks and portraits in the morning of the Hindu wedding the hair and makeup is fresh. This definitely helps create those perfect portraits. 

Modern Indian couple at Hilton Head Indian Wedding
Photoshoot after Modern First Look

No Excuses for Running Out of Time on Indian Weddings

Another reason the first look at your Indian wedding is becoming a popular choice is schedule craziness. Oftentimes, wedding day portraits are planned for after the Hindu ceremony. If there are delays in schedule and family photos with extended guests took way too much time, you will have little time left for couple portraits. 

First look on Indian weddings, especially on Hindu weddings, forces you to schedule 30 mins before the ceremony to get those wedding day couple portraits. This ensures you have enough time to do couple portraits when hair and makeup are fresh and before your wedding day is taken over with potential unforeseen schedule changes. 

Pros of Doing a Modern First Look on Indian Weddings 

  1. Risk of having makeup and hair ruined during the ceremony before the wedding day portraits.
  2. First look is more intimate, you get to share this moment as a couple.
  3. First look gives proper time before the ceremony for your portraits. 
  4. You get to spend more time with each other as a couple on the wedding day. 
  5. Less pressure for the bride when she is walking down the aisle. 
  6. Less pressure for the groom to show emotions in front of the guests.  
    1. To add on the last point, now, maybe you really want your soon-to-be-spouse to cry as you walk down the aisle. But, the truth is, some men, especially Indian men don’t feel comfortable expressing emotions in public. The modern first look is a great way to limit it.
Modern first look at Hindu wedding.
Modern First Look

Cons to Doing a Modern First Look on Indian Weddings 

  1. Your wedding schedule has to accommodate the 15 minutes to 30 minutes before the ceremony for your first look at your Indian wedding. Therefore the ceremony may begin a little later, since you’ll need to make time for your first look. You can still do your portraits after the ceremony, if you have no more than 30 minutes in your schedule on the morning of the Sikh or Hindu ceremony.
  2. Formal photos of wedding parties and family can always happen after their ceremony. When taking family and wedding parties photos with the couple, we are always photographing a wider non close-up image after the ceremony to fit everyone in. Thus, any makeup imperfections caused by the ceremony won’t show!

Pros to Doing a Traditional First Look on Indian Weddings 

  1. Spending more time apart can build the excitement.
  2. You get more time with your bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Traditional First Look at Sikh Wedding in Gurdwara
Traditional First Look at Sikh Wedding

Cons To Doing a Traditional First Look on Indian Weddings 

  1. More social pressure (for some).

As a photographer, we almost always prefer doing a modern first look at your Indian wedding. It gives time to capture your raw emotions when you see each other for the very first time on the wedding day.

Indian wedding photographers opinion

There have been times we have had our couples seeing each other for the first time at the Gurdwara and then some random visitors walk in the moment at the Gurdwara. 

At a Hindu wedding ceremony, we have had couples get so shy to look at each other since all of their family members’ attention was at them. This is why we always recommend having a controlled environment where you can express your emotions to each other as a couple. We can that way document the raw emotions of your first look at your Indian wedding.

Traditional First Look during wedding ceremony. Indian Sikh Wedding.
Traditional First Look at Sikh Wedding

For more wedding planning tips, check out our blog section.

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