Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Thursday, June 26, 2014

To See… or Not to See? That is the Question!

The top reason many couples today seem to keep this tradition alive is because they believe it builds up the mystique before the walk down the aisle. However, more and more couples recognize the time management benefits of seeing each other before the ceremony – meeting earlier for photos gets you to the party quicker. So… photos before the wedding or do you wait for your eyes to meet on the aisle?

ToSeeOrNotThe 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. In some religions and cultures the option of seeing each other before is simply not allowed. The wedding symbolized a business deal between two families. Not too romantic, right? 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. Most admit it’s a bit old-fashioned.

There’s more… the veil the bride wears – its original purpose was also to keep the groom from finding out what the bride looked like until the last possible minute, when it was too late to back out. Brides still often wear veils, however they are usually draped behind the brides head.

It’s typical that most brides and grooms totally miss out on the cocktail hour. Usually they are out taking photos with the photographer immediately after the ceremony. If you choose this way to take photos, remember to give the photographer a complete list of the photos you want taken and stick with a strict schedule. It’s rude to keep your guests waiting too long after the wedding for the reception to begin.

Not seeing each other before the ceremony makes most bride’s more stressed out. There is always the worry of seeing each other accidentally.

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.

You’re able to schedule in extra time to drive to a great location, time to get a wider variety of shots and just have a more relaxed photo shoot. You will enjoy the First Look time privately, away from the crowd, where you can feel free to enjoy sweet sentimental moments together. Meeting before the ceremony, when you’re free from the often strict timelines of the ceremony itself, gives you more personal moments and experiences together, which adds wonderful memories to your day. The bonus is that you can take your formal pictures before the ceremony when everyone’s hair and makeup are going to look a lot fresher earlier in the day.

It can be extremely comforting to have a quiet word and a hug from the most important person in your world as your stress level is mounting before the wedding. Most claim that 10 or 15 minutes alone with their partner calms them for the main event. Having the First Look and spending that quality personal time together earlier on your wedding day ramps up and fuels the emotions to brimming for when the magic moment comes you see each other at your ceremony. Obviously First Look gives you more experiences and adds memories of your day; and in a very heightened way too. Clearly everything that happens during the First Look is a unique experience you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t take that personal time to be with each other. And… that makes your ceremony even more full of excitement, passion and Love.

Another photo-related consideration is light. Many of my wedding ceremonies are outdoors and about an hour or more before sunset. This concern is legitiment. Rounding everyone up for photos after the wedding can be a major chore, one that may mean you might be taking some of your photos after the sun goes down.

Most brides that have chosen First Look at my weddings tell me it was their most favorite moment of the day because it was just about them. If you are a traditionalist and love to play “hide ‘n seek” you may want to save the First Look for when you walk down the aisle. 😉

Never let anyone pressure you on how to make this decision. There are no rules governing when you see you first see your partner, except perhaps one: “Whichever route you take, make sure it is determined solely by ‘your’ vision of your wedding, and nobody else’s.” ~ Lauren Ragland, Wedding Photojournalist Association

BONUS Articles: The Reveal
Should We See Each Other Before the Wedding?
Are You Seeing Each Other Before the Wedding? – “No way!”… However…
Seven Reasons to See the Bride Before the Wedding


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Copyright © 2014 – 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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  1. […] BONUS Articles: Who (of the bridal party) Walks Down the Aisle First? Traditional Wedding or NOT!? A Bright Idea for Seating the Parents of the Bride and Groom Cloned “look alike” Bridesmaids To See… or Not to See? That is the Question! […]


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

  2. […] BONUS Articles: Wedding Receiving Lines The Receiving Line – “NOT!” To See… or Not to See? That is the Question! […]


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