With the option of a first look becoming more popular, more and more brides want to know whether it really is bad luck to see each other before the wedding. If you are new to the whole wedding scene, you might not have even heard of a “first look,” but chances are you have believed, or do believe, that it is bad luck to see each other before the wedding. It’s not surprising to find out that the soon-to-be-wed couples parents are the number one supporters of hiding out before you walk down the aisle. But you might not be so convinced when you find out where this wedding tradition comes from.
Let’s get right to it! The custom of waiting to see each other when you walk down the aisle actually comes from the days of arranged marriages. When marriages were arranged, it was primarily a business transaction between two families, and very common for the bride and groom not to meet each other until they said “I Do.” In fact, the brides veil would cover the her face as well, ya know, just in case the groom decided to hit the road running instead of going through with the deal.
Sidenote: This totally makes me think of the story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah found in Genesis 29 of the Bible. Jacob had actually met both Rachel and her sister Leah previously, but he fell in love with Rachel and agreed with her father, Laban, to work for 7 years to have her hand in marriage.
“So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.” – Genesis 29:20
*Swoon* Romantic right? Then the drama comes…..when the big day finally rolls around, Laban sneaks Leah (the eldest daughter) in to consummate the marriage instead of her sister Rachel. Obviously, Jacob was pretty upset about this, but Laban was like “Hey, no biggie finish out your week of marriage festivities with Leah and then you can marry Rachel as well, if you agree to work for me for 7 more years” (which he did of course because he was so smitten).
The First Look
Okay, so what is this “first look” thing? This is that special moment when the bride and groom first see each other in all their wedding day glory. Custom has been that the first look happens when the bride walks down the aisle, which of course has to do with the whole “bad luck to see each other before tradition”. But more and more couples are choosing to select a time to first see each other before the ceremony.
What are the pros and cons of seeing each other before the ceremony?
Okay, I’m going to be honest. I can not think of any cons except your parents might get upset, or you just might feel very strongly against it. What one might assume to happen, would be that the surprise factor is gone, or your groom might not get as emotional when you do walk down the aisle. But the moment when the bride walks down the aisle really is the emotional climax of a wedding and its hard not to grin and tear up no matter who you are. 9 times out of 10 the groom STILL gets emotional when the bride walks out even if they got to spend some time together before that moment.
So the pros: The biggest pro is that you get to spend some quiet time together before all of the wedding activities begin.
“..many brides and grooms deliberately seek an opportunity to be alone in the hours before the ceremony. A few quiet moments together can be wonderfully refreshing, and a lovely new tradition to adopt.” – Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, Edition 6, pg. 78
This is such a big thing! Once the ceremony begins you will officially be swept up into a whirlwind of wedding activities, and depending on how social you and your guests are, you honestly might not get to spend a long amount of time even looking at each other. Spending 30 minutes alone (in the company of your wedding photographer and videographer of course), is such a precious time on such an emotional and exciting day. It’s like a breath of fresh air.
In addition to some precious time together, the first look is a perfect time to get some beautiful portraits of just you two. These are the images you will cherish most. These are the images you will want to hang on your wall! Don’t get me wrong, these portraits can be captured after the ceremony as well and they are just as special – but the significance of photos before is that you will spend less time taking those portraits later. This helps you go from ceremony to reception nearly just as quickly as your guests. In fact, after you have some quiet time and get some photos taken together, you can invite your bridal party in and get photos with taken as well. [Usually, its quite difficult to wrangle all the family together before the ceremony, so these usually work best taken immediately after.]
All in all, the decision is up to you and your soon-to-be spouse. It’s best to take some time and discuss your preferences as far in advance as you can, since this will help you finalize what your wedding day timeline will look like. To help you discuss this topic, we have included a special download for you to print out and write out your personal pros and cons about first look photos!
In the meantime, we’d love to know what your initial thoughts are on the first look and/or waiting to see each other until you walk down the aisle? Let us know in the comments below!