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September 16, 2008

To see or Not to See...

The other night while waiting for some friend's at our fave local dive bar, I posed the question "do you want to see each other privately before the actual ceremony?" to FH. I wasn't really intending for FH to have an opinion on this issue, and was merely trying to make conversation as he was so engrossed with the USC v. Ohio State Game that was playing on the big screen.

Unbeknownst to me, apparently FH has some strong opinions about this. He responded, "Absolutely not!"

I was a little shocked to see him have such strong feelings about this issue, seeing as logistically i thought that it could make sense to do this non-traditional-bride-and-groom-have-a-private-moment-before-the-ceremony and figured he'd be amenable to this... but instead, after his strong refusal, he then asked "Why?"

At that time, I was a little stumbled with my words and couldn't come up with more than "well, it helps so that we can enjoy the cocktail hour instead of just take pictures the whole time, and it could be more romantic to have our own moment." To which he responded, "it's bad luck! NO!"

So here I am to explore the history of this tradition - where the bride and groom wait until the ceremony to lay eyes on one another - and why many brides and grooms are going "non-traditional" and seeing each other before the ceremony begins.

The tradition holds to the idea that in ancient times, often the first time the bride and groom saw one another was at the actual ceremony b/c many marriages were arranged. Thus, in fear that either the bride or groom would reject the other prior based on disliking the other's looks, they were kept from seeing one another until the actual ceremony. Also, the veil was used to hidden the bride's face until the actual ceremony was done and the legalities were sealed with a kiss at which point, it was too late to change your mind. Thus, they say it is bad luck to see each other before the actual ceremony. As one blogger puts it "So the tradition that it’s “bad luck” for a man to see his bride before the ceremony really started out as insurance for her dad (b/c he had arranged the marriage of his daughter with a stranger)"

Reasons why many people are going the "non-traditional" route and seeing each other pre-ceremony:
  • The wow moment can still be there as when you walk down the aisle, except in this private moment, the bride and groom can truly enjoy it with full emotion and the privacy of holding on to that moment between the two.
  • Photographs can be taken of immediate family, friends and bridal party. This can help make the after ceremony photo session shorter, and give the bride and groom a chance to enjoy the cocktail hour with their guests.
  • Getting the photographer to focus on "the moment" that the bride and groom see each other. The Bride and Groom can also pick the scenery in which these pics will be taken... this can give this set of photos a more artistic scenery while also maintaining the pictures from the actual ceremony.
  • It can alleviate the "stress" of seeing one another making the moment more enjoyable and less stressful during the ceremony.
  • Enjoy the photo shoot without worrying about the guests or that you are missing out on the cocktail hour
  • You feel fresher. Make up, hair and etc are all fresher. And if its earlier in the day, it could be cooler depending on which season you have your wedding in
  • Technically, last minute details can be discussed - although this is not so romantic, it can definitely help in the practicality aspect.
The part that appeals most to me is that the photographer can really capture the moment (and the immediate moments that lead to) the first moment we see one another. It really can be more romantic and dramatic this way, b/c the wow factor would still be there but there will would also be less distraction!

I'm sure there are more good reasons than the ones that I've listed. What do you think? What have you done? What will you do? What are your reasons for it? Thoughts?


  1. I would want to see him before the ceremony.(I haven't asked his opinion yet though, so I don't know if we will or not!)

    While I agree with your reasons, I have a different one - when I'm stressing out or nervous, etc, he is the only person who really calms me down. So I think seeing him before the ceremony would calm any frayed nerves so that I would enjoy the ceremony that much more.

  2. I would rather see each other before the ceremony. I agree with you about the photographer capturing the moment before the ceremony. In most pictures I've seen the pictures are really great.

    But I have to say, I'm also a bride that does not care if my groom sees my dress beforehand. I know some brides are crazy about keeping it a secret.


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