Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Bride and Groom’s “Reveal Moment”

Here’s a great idea. Take nearly all your photos “before” the wedding. It’s called the “reveal moment.” Some call it, “first look.”

Traditionally the bride and groom do not see each other before the wedding. This tradition often causes problems. It originated in arranged marriages where bride and grooms had never met each other, let alone seen each other before the wedding. It was considered bad luck if either party saw each other.

reveal1More and more, brides and grooms are tossing aside the “no see before the wedding” idea in favor of a special moment where the bride and groom first meet before the wedding with the photographer.

Most couples do a “reveal moment” well before the ceremony. This gives them an opportunity to greet each other in a more secluded area away from the guests. A couple may choose to do this if they would like to do formal and family pictures before the ceremony rather than after, giving the couple more time with their guests following the ceremony. They may also choose to do this to relieve a little of the pressure of the wedding day.

reveal2The photographer will set it up. They will pick a special place for this photo opportunity. The groom with his back turned will be waiting. The bride walks within a few yards of him. The groom then turns around for the “reveal moment” as the photographer snaps away. The two of you will see each other for the first time all dressed up on their wedding day.

Having a reveal moment is the perfect way to freeze a moment in time when you get that first look at each other. Its a memory you will cling to when you remember your wedding day.

This gives the couple a chance to have some intimate time alone together on their wedding day. The rest of the day is filled with craziness, a little chaos, and mobs of family and friends rushing them at all times.

One bride said, “We only took photos after our ceremony because my husband insisted that he not see me until I walked down the aisle. After the wedding, he felt differently. We built in a time buffer between the ceremony and cocktail hour, however, we still spent a significant portion of our cocktail hour taking photos. If we could do it again, we would definitely take most of the photos prior to the ceremony.”

reveal3Doing the photos ahead of time is when the bride and groom are the freshest, look their best, and it gives them the option to go straight from the ceremony to the cocktail hour to mingle with their guests, then the reception and not leave their guests waiting for an hour or more while they take photos after the ceremony.

A private, romantic meeting – before photos with the wedding party – creates the first of two exciting “reveals”. It is an opportunity for the couple to exchange wedding gifts alone if they want to. It may be the only time they have together the entire day. The second heart-pounding “reveal” moment is walking down the aisle. It will always be a memorable moment for both of you even if they’ve seen each other earlier.

I had a wedding where the bride and groom kept their guests waiting for about an hour and 45 minutes while their photos were taken after the ceremony. Several guests left before the reception. I can imagine the shock when they finally received the cocktail hour bill. It’s thoughtless and rude to keep your guests waiting that long.

Taking photos and having a special “reveal moment” for the two of you before the wedding seems to make all photos go more smoothly and allows everyone to be a little more relaxed.

BONUS Article: Seven Reasons to See the Bride Before the Wedding
75 Reasons to Have a First Look

NOTE: Congratulations to: Katie Waldman and Evan Holdsworth – Married @ 6:30 p.m., Saturday, May 1, 2010 – Camelback Inn, Paradise Valley, AZ. There is great example of a “Reveal Moment” about 5 minutes into this video.

Larry’s Note: Photos by Marcia Mauskopf, Marcia The Art of Photography, Phoenix, AZ. These photos were taken at The Boojum Tree Hidden Gardens, Phoenix. Hold your mouse over the photos to see what’s going on.

Larry’s Note #2: Old traditions are hard to break, but bridal couples must be mindful that just because something has been around for a long time, doesn’t mean that fashioning new rituals isn’t perfectly acceptable and perhaps even preferable.


Above photo by: Marnee Marriott, Marriot Photography, Scottsdale, AZ.

Another great “reveal moment.” Click here!

Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (95 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. –

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.


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  1. […] see each other before the ceremony. For many brides this is no longer true. Schedule a “first-look” photo session with just you and your groom and the photographer before the ceremony. This […]


    Pingback by Let’s Lock Wedding Tradition in the Box… | Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG — Wednesday, June 17, 2015 @ 7:31 am | Reply

  2. […] couples are choosing to see each other before the wedding for a “first look” or “reveal moment” photo session and take lots of other photos before the wedding so they can meet and greet […]


    Pingback by No More “Receiving Lines!” | Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG — Sunday, August 17, 2014 @ 8:32 am | Reply

  3. […] First Look is gaining in popularity. Whether the groom sees you in your dress or not has nothing do do with the magic of the moment. Prior to the ceremony, flowers, hair, make-up, clothes, and moods are at their very best. The emotion is still there. By scheduling a “First Look” or “Reveal Moment,” before the wedding ceremony the photographer will be able to capture your special moment of seeing each other privately for the first time. It’s your private moment. From a photographer’s position, there are usually many more pros to seeing each other beforehand than cons, but what it comes down to is your personal decision. Most brides and grooms have anxiety about the ceremony, however, when they choose the “First Look,” once they are together at the ceremony, the jitters melt away and the day becomes much more fun. […]


    Pingback by To See… or Not to See? That is the Question! | Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG — Thursday, June 26, 2014 @ 7:31 am | Reply

  4. […] Article: The Bride and Groom’s “Reveal Moment” 75 Reasons to Have a First Look 16 First Looks You Don’t Want To […]


    Pingback by Are You Seeing Each Other Before the Wedding? – “No way!”… However… | Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG — Thursday, January 2, 2014 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

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