Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Friday, December 23, 2011

Are You Seeing Each Other Before the Wedding? – “No way!”… However…

When brides hear the question, “Are you seeing each other before the wedding?” – “No way!” or “Not at my wedding!” are typical responses. More and more, brides and grooms are tossing aside the “no see before the wedding” tradition in favor of a special moment where the bride and groom first meet before the wedding with the photographer.

Although they will most likely be on a strict timeline after the ceremony, 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. 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. The idea of not seeing each other before the ceremony comes from the days when marriages were arranged and the groom might never have seen the bride. There was a chance that he might take one look at her and bolt – so it was often safer for them to meet for the first time at the altar.

“That quiet moment that couples share the first time they see each other in private before the ceremony is the one time all day that they get to be alone and reflect on their true emotions.” ~ Marnee Marriott,

firstlookHere is how to set it up. The bride and the groom get ready separately. While your hair and make-up are still fresh, you and your photographer stage a time for the bride and groom to see each other for the first time. At the exact moment that you see each other for the first time, you’ll completely forget the photographer is snapping away some very special and intimate moments.

If you think that it will make walking down the isle or saying your vows any less special, I promise you it won’t. You will inevitably have lots of emotions on your wedding day – enough to spread out through the entire day.

If you are having an outside wedding at sunset, most photographers want you to allow no less than 1 1/2 hour from the end of the ceremony to the beginning of sunset. Lighting is one of the most important factors for getting great photographs. If you’re having a sunset wedding, there is a good chance that there won’t be any daylight remaining after the ceremony for photos unless you plan for it. By doing a first look, we’ll be able to do your “formal” photos and couple session BEFORE your ceremony in the gorgeous natural light!

“If the bride and groom are very traditional, they won’t see each other before the ceremony. But photographers will encourage it because the bride’s makeup is fresh and her hair is done so they can get a lot more photos done before the ceremony. Afterward, they can take a few family shots and enjoy the cocktail hour.” ~ Elizabeth Todd, wedding coordinator at Blackstone Country Club, Peoria, Arizona

I like the “first look” idea because you will get more and better photos when you give the photographer the time to go above and beyond the call of duty. Taking photos before the ceremony can often be so much more relaxing as well. And I’ve never met a couple that wasn’t in a hurry to get to their reception. You’ll also be giving yourselves some extra time right after the ceremony to take a few brief photos, then join your guests at cocktail hour or spend a few alone minutes together to take in the special moment you just shared.

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.

Make sure everyone is ready when the photographer is scheduled to arrive; dressed, hair and make-up, etc.

Larry’s Note: A special “thank you” to Cory Ryan, Photographer, Austin, Texas for his contribution to this article.

Photo Credit: Real Photography, Inc., Black Forest, just outside Colorado Springs, CO.

BONUS Article: The Bride and Groom’s “Reveal Moment”
75 Reasons to Have a First Look
16 First Looks You Don’t Want To Miss
Seven Reasons to See the Bride Before the Wedding


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Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. 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 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Check Larry’s availability.

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