One of the questions couples face when planning their wedding is whether to see each other before the ceremony. There are pros and cons to both, and here are some thoughts to consider.
Many couples are no longer superstitious and don't care whether they see each other before the ceremony. Perhaps they're more practical about such matters. If having an outdoor ceremony, you may be concerned that the weather may affect your hair, makeup, clothes or decorations if you wait to take the pictures until after the I Do's.
For some, this day is emotionally charged and may seem overwhelming. Seeing each other before the ceremony can also relieve some of the nerves felt because you get to be together shortly before the ceremony and calm each other down.
Photographers call it a "First Look" and usually are proponents of a couple seeing each other before the ceremony. It makes their job much easier. If a couple is willing to see each other before the ceremony, the photographer can get many more pictures taken before the ceremony, shortening the time needed immediately afterward. This means your guests, bridal party or family members aren't bored, left to change clothes, started undressing or are drinking until the photographer is able to capture all the family, bridal party and couple shots you want before the reception begins. Taking photos afterward can sometimes seem more like herding cats for a photographer. Many have found cute ways to make this moment tender, heartfelt or funny, depending on the couple.
If one is superstitious, it's considered a sign of bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony. This superstition comes from the days of arranged marriages between families where a father of the bride might be afraid that a groom would choose not to go through with the arranged marriage if he doesn't find the bride attractive enough, and that would bring shame on the bride and the family. This is also the reason why brides have traditionally worn veils over their faces until after the vows have been exchanged.
Today that's not the case. Today's reasoning for not seeing each other is one of the heart. I've spoken with grooms who've been married for 40 years and who didn't see their brides until they stood at the back of the aisle. They've shared with me that the vision of their sweetheart standing there, the hope and love in their eyes and their sheer beauty is what they've carried in their hearts for decades, through difficult marital times and in war zones. That very moment can be something very intimately exchanged in your eyes as you see each other just moments before you speak your hearts to each other, and can also be captured by your photographer as well.
As for saving time for the photographer, groom pictures with their family and bride pictures with their family can all be taken before the ceremony, saving just the photos where the couple are in them together for afterward.
The choice is really up to you, and whatever choice you make will be the right one.
Rev. Ronnie was ordained in 2010 as an interfaith minister through The New Seminary, located in New York City. She is available to perform ceremonies throughout the United States, aboard ship or in other countries.