Should a Bride and Groom See Each Other Before the Wedding?

Ever wonder where the superstition of a groom not seeing the bride before the wedding started?

During Medieval times when arranged marriages were customary, based on financial gain or bettering a family’s standing in the community, the betrothed couple wasn’t allowed to see each other before the wedding at all. Therefore, it became tradition that the bride and groom were only allowed to meet at the wedding ceremony so that the groom did not have the opportunity to change his mind. What if the bride didn’t like the looks of the groom? I guess that’s a topic for another article, so back to the one at hand. Should a bride and groom see each other before the ceremony?

Keeping Tradition Alive or Not?

In 2018, most marriages are not arranged, and it’s less likely your partner is marrying you for the sake of acquiring a handsome cow or a few goats or securing a business deal with your parents, so it’s unlikely anyone will back out just because they see each other. If either of you backs out, odds are it’s probably because of something that happened way before walking down the aisle.

The main reason couples today seem to keep the tradition of not seeing each other before the ceremony, is because they believe it builds up the anticipation of seeing each other for the first time. However, a large percentage of couples are choosing to meet before the wedding, getting a ‘first look’ as the idea has been named.

Meeting before the ceremony, when you’re free from the must-do tasks and strict needs of the ceremony itself, gives you more personal moments and experiences together, which adds wonderful memories to your special day. Some brides prefer to take photos earlier in the day when their hair and makeup are at their best, and outdoor photos can be taken in natural light which may not exist after the ceremony. Today’s professional photographers are making the ‘first look’ as special as the traditional meeting of the bride and groom.

Most ‘first look’ moments take place in an area away from any wedding party members, perhaps in the corner of a garden with the groom standing, eyes closed, as his bride-to-be walks up and he sees her in her dress ready to become his wife. Or the bride is waiting for her husband-to-be, and he walks up behind her and surprises her. These moments are arranged, yes, by the photographer, who is ever-ready with the camera, but also far enough away that there is little intrusion in that ‘first look’ moment. The couple are able to share intimate moments about what they are feeling and really take in how special this day is to them. Many couples say that having that time just to themselves brought even more magic to meeting at the altar. Spending that quality time together earlier on the wedding day ramps up and fuels the emotions for when the magical moment arrives. Beyond having a little time together before the craziness of the wedding begins, taking photos before the wedding also allows for more time with your guests.

We’ve all been to weddings, probably most weddings, where the couple and the wedding party have photos taken after the ceremony, meaning it’s about an hour at least, if you’re lucky, before the new Mr. and Mrs. arrive at the reception. Photos taken beforehand mean that the bride and groom have more time to spend with their guests at their reception, the most relaxing part of the hectic day. But there’s still something to be said for keeping tradition…

If you have dreamed of the perfect wedding, with the princess dress, walking down an aisle bathed in flowers with family and friends looking on as you and your husband-to-be see each other for the first time, then go for it! In many ways, as a society, we have fallen away from the traditions of generations and having the something borrowed, something blue, and that first look at the altar is special. Whether you see each other before or during the ceremony, don’t make your decision based on a superstition that makes no sense today. What is important is that you and your partner are both happy and comfortable with your decision….just one of many it will be helpful to agree on in life!



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