The big question has been asked “will you marry me!!!!???!!”, the wedding plans are coming along but now comes big question number two … “should we see each other before the ceremony”? This is a common dilemma for couples, and there is no easy answer but hopefully by weighing some pros and cons, your answer will become more clear.
To wait to see each other until the magical moment of walking down the isle can be a thrilling experience. Traditionally this is the moment that every little girl dreams of, the princess dress, the family and friends and that climactic moment of making the grand walk down the isle. Classically this is when the couple would see each other for the first time, often even spending the night before the wedding apart. For many couples, the biggest pro in waiting to see each other until the walk down the isle is this traditional aspect of the wedding day is preserved. Emotions are high and timing seems perfect laying eyes on each other moments before you say I DO! However, many couples are choosing to see each other before the isle… here are some reasons why.
Seeing each other before the ceremony means more time for photos and less time away from your guests. How is this so… traditionally all photos that require the bride and groom are done after the ceremony and before the announcement into the reception (typically during cocktail hour). This time is spent doing family photos, bridal party and the portraits of the bride and groom. In consideration of the waiting guests, couples can feel rushed during this time and although many photos may be desired the time crunch of waiting guests puts a pressure on speeding through the photography process to adhere to a strict time schedule to not keep guests waiting too long. On average, doing all of the photos after the ceremony requires at least 1 hour at a minimum. Couples that desire a good amount of couples portraits will need to set aside at least 1.5-2 hours away from their guests (30min for bridal party and family with the remaining time for their portraits together).
Spending so much time away from your reception not for you? The first look can be a great option for couples that are not as set on on being traditional with seeing each other for the first time during the ceremony. The first look is an intentional meeting of the bride and groom before the ceremony. A nice spot is chosen and the groom awaits his bride and turns to see her walking towards him. This can be a spectacularly special moment because unlike seeing each other for the first time during the ceremony, this is a private moment and can often times be just as if not more beautiful because of the private setting. This option allows as much time as the couples desires before the ceremony to take some if not all of their photos, allowing for all of their time later in the day to be spent with guests.
All in all its a personal decision and its important to weigh whats important to you as a couple and what memories you want want your special wedding day to include!
(See an example of a real wedding with a first look here)