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Why do couples “wait” to see each other before the ceremony anyway?

Wedding Of Beth and Josh

Josh and Beth exchange looks and touches during their First Look at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard.

Reasons for not seeing each other before the ceremony date back to arranged marriages. Parents would arrange marriages sometimes even before birth, reasons for arrangements ranged from land ownership to status quo.  The couple didn’t have much of a choice (if any) to whom they were to marry and, in some cases, families paid a service to wed their children.

The “stats” of the couple were exchanged to the fathers and they would decide, but the service wouldn’t get paid until the “I do’s” were done.

In fact, to handle the possibility of the groom backing out when seeing the bride-to-be she wore heavy veils covering her face until after the “I do’s” were said. The groom would not be “scared” away and all of the middle men were paid!

Wedding Of Beth and Josh

Josh walks toward his bride during a first look.

Crazy thing, this was still going on even in the last century and still happens today depending on the cultural background of the couple.

In the early days of America, a traditional couple that were in love with each other and had the blessings of their families would get dressed and meet up outside the bride’s home. They would walk to the church arm in arm together for the ceremony. That tradition is rarely mentioned nowadays.

Having the couple see each other before the ceremony is something we love to do. We get 6 or 10 images from the moment of seeing each other, which are normally fantastic. What we also see is a moment that the couple can spend together alone on their wedding day (before midnight!).

Couples are with friends and family for 90% of their day and have very little time for just the two of them, we love having an hour or even two to just allow the couple to be alone.  Doing this before the wedding gives a chance to talk, visit, hug, kiss, and just be without thinking that the guests are “waiting for them to return”.

Wedding Of Beth and Josh

Josh’s eyes glaze over with tears as Beth’s mother hands her off to him as their ceremony begins.

Does this take away from the moment of the groom seeing the bride walking down the isle?  No, and I’ve spoken to quite a few people and they say the same.  The moment that a groom sees his bride to be walking into the church is a moment all in itself. That is the moment that is right before his I do’s.

There’s a lot more about this subject and I’ll be returning to it multiple times as we explore all the nuances of this tradition. We’ve just scratched the surface.

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  1. anne & teri says:

    We initially didn’t want that “private first reveal” session, then timing & Ed’s encouragement made it happen. It was MARVELOUS!! I can’t encourage couples enough to do this. It’s wonderful.
    Thanks again Ed. You helped create a truly magical very special day for us and our family.


  2. Beth says:

    I’m so glad to be a part of this! I have wanted to do the reveal since I started learning more about things you can do that are somewhat untraditional and personal. I was really glad that Ed and Krystal also liked the idea so much. I am so glad I was able to talk Josh into it because it really was a great moment and we got some very personal pictures! It didn’t take away from his emotions seeing me walk towards them at the actual wedding either. In fact I actually think it made us be able to stop and remember the walk better because we weren’t trying to take in every detail at the same time. Thanks for those great moments Ed and Krystal!

  3. Kathleen says:

    What about the superstitions it’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding

    • Ed Cicenas says:

      That’s a really good question — the basis of that superstition happens to arise from the middle ages, when arranged marriages were the norm and matchmakers were hired to find the match. Matchmakers would not get paid if the bride or groom ran away. And realize, at that time, hygiene was not exactly the highlight of the day. In some cases, a bath once every six months. Hence, brides also wore veils. And the first time the groom would see his new bride would be after the “I do’s” were done and the veil went up. The fear was either the bride or groom would run away after seeing each other — and the matchmaker would not be paid. Very bad luck, indeed!

      These days it’s not much of an issue really — brides and grooms normally don’t run away. Regardless of what television shows and movies might have us believe.

      There are many superstitions regarding weddings, thankfully many have fallen by the wayside, like the bridal party waiting outside the door of the room where the bride and groom went to make sure the marriage was consummated. And included checking the sheets for the evidence. Ahem.

      Krystal will have a blog outlining some of the other traditions and superstitions and their origins in the upcoming weeks.


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