Tradition of groom not seeing bride on wedding day

Lindsey7March 2, 2004

What is the tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other on their wedding day? Is it that they aren't supposed to see each other at all before the ceremony or just that the groom isn't supposed to see the bride in her wedding gown before the ceremony?


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I think the groom isn't supposed to see the bride all done up until she walks down the isle. For most people, like me, the getting ready process started first thing in the morning so I wouldn't have had a chance to see him.

But, then, I didn't care about that tradition, and we stood in the back of the church greeting our guests together before the ceremony.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2004 at 12:50PM
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We aren't going to see eachother at all the day of our wedding. The girls are going to start getting ready around 9 am therefore we really won't have time to see one another.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2004 at 1:00PM
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I think this tradition causes a real nuisance, and for what? To make some dramatic entrance to your best friend? If you forget about it, you can do your photos before the ceremony. Everyone's hair and makeup are fresh, and more important, you don't keep your guests waiting between the ceremony and the reception. Anyway, it's easy enough to look at it as that doing photos "counts" as "not before the wedding."

But I suppose that when everyone is nervous and rushed, this tradition keeps brides and grooms from snapping at each other!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2004 at 10:04PM
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I think that although the tradition is silly, it is nice to maybe consider doing the following...

I think that for me the point of the tradition is the suspense of the moment where you appear for the first time to your DF as his "WIFE" (although not quite yet...) When you appear all made up and in your dress/veil/whatever, if he has not seen you yet, it should be a moment for him to go "WOW. I am so (Lucky/Happy/Excited/...) to be marrying *this* woman!!"

For this reason, I don't want him to see me until I am ready for him to see me. I want that moment between us... however, I think that this moment does not have to occur as I am walking down the aisle... Why not "schedule" a moment before the ceremony/pictures/greeting of guests (whichever comes first) to meet together, *ALONE*, and ready to go... I want a moment before the wedding to spend alone with him to say "I Love You." and to release a bit of the tension and just enjoy being with the man I will be marrying in a few moments.

So, my recommendation is to keep the details a secret and to reveal yourself to him before hand so that you can have a special moment to yourselves *before* the commotion of the day gets into full swing (-:


P.S. If you really don't want him to see you all dressed up before the ceremony, then I still recommend taking a moment together to be completely alone at some point during the day - perhaps right after the ceremony while people are gathering for whatever comes next - I really think that you need to make a moment for you to "soak up" what this day is and how you feel... I've heard *many* people say that it all was a big blur and that they wished they had stopped to "smell the roses" and take it all in. (-:

    Bookmark   March 2, 2004 at 10:32PM
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We opted to see each other before the ceremony so we could do pictures (and thank goodness... it took two hours; we would have missed dinner if we'd done it afterward). We'd spent the night apart and gotten dressed separately.

So, the wedding coordinator and the photographer were assuming we'd want to do what they called a "reveal;" a special moment when we first saw each other that was suposed to mimic or capture the romantic-ness of seeing each other for the first time during the walk down the aisle. We agreed because we figured that something like that would be nice.

But as it turned out, I was at the site first and I peeked out the window and saw all the guys coming across the street, and I hauled ass downstairs and threw myself on all of them, leaving the photographer behind and completely forgetting to have a dramatic, emotional moment. I was just too excited. Things are too amazing and special to worry about staging some kind of drama. Don't get caught up in traditions. Just enjoy yourself... and who could help you enjoy yourself more than the wonderful person you are about to marry? I only wish we'd spent every second of that day together.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2004 at 1:44AM
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i'm not going to see him at all. my sisters, mom, and maid of honor have planned a sleepover for the night before the wedding, so i won't see him after the rehersal dinner either.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2004 at 8:24AM
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That is a useless tradition as is the "reveal". Doing the photos ahead of time is great because you are the freshest, look your best, and you can go straight from the ceremony to the reception and not leave your guests waiting for an hour or two. The last thing I wanted to do after the ceremony was stand around for more professional photos while all my friends and family were there - I wanted to talk with everyone else and celebrate!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2004 at 10:46AM
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My fiance is going to join his groomsmen at the hotel early that morning and I'll have the bridesmaids and MOH and hairdresser at the house. Then the photographer is planning to come about a half hour or so before we leave for the church.

I'm not sure what's going to be the protocol AT the church as it's a tiny place and I don't plan to haul my heavy dress upstairs just to sit for a few minutes then back down and up again to start the ceremony. I imagine I'm going to be really nervous by then...want to be close to the bathroom! LOL

    Bookmark   March 3, 2004 at 10:51AM
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this is one of those traditions that I think you should write the way it works for you.

My husband didn't want to see me on the wedding day. He didn't want to know about the dress--he got upset even if I was joking that it had a turtleneck!!

I don't remember if I saw him sans fancy dress that day; I don't think so. And that would have ben mostly for him, but also for me. It was fun, as Duckyhead described, to have that, "wow, there he is, this is the *beginning*" moment. We liked it.

Do what works for you--and don't feel you have to give up some emotional thing like that--if you or your DF value it00 ju--t to make the picture-taking easier.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2004 at 11:20AM
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Call it a "useless tradition" if you will, but it is a very personal decision. There is no right or wrong here.

I didn't want to see him before the ceremony and he didn't want to see me. I wanted the "WOW. I am so (Lucky/Happy/Excited/...) to be marrying *this* woman!!" as duckyhead stated. If he had seen me before, I don't think he would have cried like he did when I was coming down the aisle. (He still claims he had something in his eye.) For me, this was the only way to do it.

A friend of mine had a private moment with her fiance before the ceremony, and afterwards had some photos taken. They had the chance to be alone together and say, "I love you". For her, this was the only way to do it.

IMO, do what's best for the both of you.

Andrea :o)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2004 at 12:05PM
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One of my favorite things to do at a wedding is to look at the expression on the groom's face when the bride starts walking down the aisle.

On that note, DF won't see me in my dress until I start walking down the aisle, but we may see each other that morning before.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2004 at 12:07PM
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Well I did a little search as to the origin of the tradition. This is what I found:
Originating in arranged marriages where bride and grooms had never met each other, let alone seen each other before the wedding. It was considered bad luck if either party saw each other.

I think Slpinter's right that there is no right and wrong way to do it...I'd love to have that "WOW" moment when he sees me walking down the aisle. But then as Duckyhead said, we could still have that moment before the ceremony, and I wouldn't mind having some pictures taken before because I know I will cry like a baby durinmg the ceremony. I would be fine but my mother started bawling at my friends wedding as soon as she saw my brother in his tux (he was best man), when I started walking down the aisle I was fine until I saw her and she was blubbering so I started tearing up with the quivering chin.

I'm still undecided but I'm leaning towards probably seeing each other before hand...the main reason is because I'm marrying perhaps the only man in the world who doesn't really like wedding dresses (he says they're unnatural and funny looking). So I don't want to anticipate this great "WOW!" moment and then he doesn't have that look on his face when he sees me. I know there's still the emotion of the moment and the realization of "I'm going to spend my life with this one person", but I like the idea of his breath being taken away by your beauty.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wedding Traditions

    Bookmark   March 3, 2004 at 2:22PM
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We are going to be too busy seeing each other. Me with getting ready(air,makeup, and trying to stay sane) and him with feeding cows and keeping my out of town uncles entertained. I want that first moment I see him to be when I am walking down the aisle too. I've dreamed of that for the last six months. But do it your way. The photographer for my wedding is going to show up about 2 hours before the wedding and take all the pictures that only involve us invidually(me and bridesmaid, him and groomsmen) and after the wedding we will get the pictures that we are in together. It's not going to be a matter of me at my freshest, since I'll probably be crying all day LOL

    Bookmark   March 3, 2004 at 7:06PM
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I am a very traditional type of person, so I am torn as to whether or not I want John to see me before the wedding.
I am thinking for his sake(he is going to be SO nervous), I want him to see me alone, and get over that first shock. I want a picture of his expression when he sees me the first time.
Then again, I want him to see me for the first time while standing at the alter.
I don't many things to consider! LOL!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2004 at 8:16PM
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I have a really wierd take on this tradion. I don't think the focus of it is so much that the bride and groom shouldn't see each other before the wedding. I think it is more along the lines of -- give the families of the bride and groom a last official bit of time before their babies/siblings take that particular step. Lets face it, if the groom has a choice of hanging out for a bit with his mom or his four-hours-from-now-wife, Mom isn't going get his attention. Once her son is married, her relationship with him will change forever. Not drastically perhaps, but change none the less. Same goes for the bride and her family. This change was much more pronounced years ago when brides and grooms were younger, perhaps still living with Mom and Dad before the wedding.

A wedding is a wonderful start of something. It also marks the end of something. Giving that end some added quiet dignity isn't all bad.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2004 at 6:57AM
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I agree that there is no right or wrong. Just want to add my experience...

The day before the wedding, my now DH and I spent a couple of hours together in the afternoon. This is when we exchanged gifts to each other. Then I went home to my parents. I spent the evening with them - we went out to dinner then we had what I called "Sob-fest 2003!" I gave them a gift and they gave me beautiful pearl earrings to wear the next day. I called DH to say goodnight, but we agreed not to see each other or speak to each other after midnight.

It kind of added to the fun. On the wedding day, he wanted to see how I was doing.. when the phone rang, I made my MOH answer it just in case it was him and it turned out it he had his mom call to get my MOH on the phone just in case I answered! I had given him a card the day before for him to read on the wedding day telling him I couldn't wait to become his wife. He had a dozen roses sent to my house with a card saying pretty much the same thing. It was so sweet and romantic.

When we finally did see each other, I felt like we had that "Wow" moment. After my dad sat down and we turned to face the pastor, he leaned over and whispered, "You look beautiful." I will never forget that moment.

When the ceremony was over and we were in the limo alone, we talked about how our days were and we had a great time.

Jeez, am I long-winded or what?!? I just wanted to share my experience. Whatever you do, do it because it will make your day special and happy for you, tradition or not.

Best of luck to all the Brides!!!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2004 at 10:17AM
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I skipped to the bottom when I saw gellchom's post, because that is exactly what I was going to say. Initially I was going to not let Bob see me, but my older sister *begged* me to do the pictures before the ceremony for the reasons gellchom stated. I'm SO GLAD I did!!

My husband still got the WOW factor....I was dressed and already in the photo area when he walked in...his jaw dropped :)

Everyone looked fabulous and fresh in the pics, and our guests didn't wait for us. When my brother got married they did the photos after the ceremony, and the guests waited *TWO HOURS* for them. It was not good.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2004 at 12:33PM
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We also decided to take our pictures before the ceremony in order to not have our guest wait a long time at the reception. The photographer took all the pictures of family,etc, and then about 15 minutes before the ceremony, the photographer's assistant fixed my dress and had everyone leave for the santcuary. I was left alone and then Drew came in and it was the most exciting beautiful moment to have that few minutes alone. It was such an intimate moment and really one of the most special time of the whole day. Then the photographer came back in and took our pictures. We may not have the snapshot of the look on our faces as we first saw each other, but I don't need that, as the look on his face is always in my memory. I think this made both of us so much more relaxed when the ceremony started. Either way you decide is just fine, do what is right for you and your fiance. Either way, it will be the most memorable day of your lives.

Here is a link that might be useful: DrewandSherrielynns

    Bookmark   March 6, 2004 at 8:34AM
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duckie makes an excellent point. I remember the afternoon of the day I was married -- my parents and my brother and I all kind of hanging around the house reading the paper like when we were growing up (it had been many years since we had left home). We were surprised how relaxed we were, given all the excitement and all the people in from out of town with whom we had already been having fun for three days! But we were so calm, we actually were almost late. Anyway, even though there were -- very rarely -- occasions after the wedding and arrival of grandchildren when it was just the four of us, it was really nice to have a couple of hours of "just us four" right before it became 5.

I think that Weed30 made the definitive point: you get the "WOW" moment of your groom seeing you in your finery for the first time whether it's during the ceremony or at some point before that. (Some religions have a pre-ceremony ritual, so you see each other then anyway.) So that moment is going to happen no matter what -- I guess unless you get dressed together! -- the only difference is whether you have all the guests, rather than just those who will be in the photos, as an audience. If you don't insist on that, then you can both have your WOW moment AND be considerate to your guests and the bridal party (who otherwise miss part of the reception) by taking the photos before the ceremony. If you want the WOW moment recorded, have the photographer ready, or if it's earlier, have someone have a camera ready.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2004 at 5:18PM
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I want the WOW when I walk down the isle. I don't think we should see each other until the wedding because it will just ruin the moment. You are waiting so long to get to the point where you walk down the isle, why ruin that. We are having a few hours break between when the ceremony ends and the reception begins anyways, so we will do pictures after, and there will be a chance for the girls to redo their makeup and go pee, and we can look fresh again.
I think i like it ithis way. It took me so long to find the dress of my dreams, i don't want to show it unitl the right momen! :) Thats just me.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2004 at 6:59PM
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As a professional photographer I have had the opportunity to see an entire wedding day and weeks later hear the bride's opinion of the day's flow. Listen to your church coordinator, florist, photographer & other wedding pro's advice.

A private, romantic meeting before photographs start actually creates the first of two exciting "reveals". It is an opportunity for the couple to exchange wedding gifts ALONE. It will be the only time you have together the entire day. The second heart-pounding "reveal" moment is walking down the aisle. It will always be a memorable moment for both of you even if you've seen each other earlier.

Shorten your photo request list if you insist on doing them after the ceremony. It will take two hours only if you give the photographer a two hour list. Your parents, family & friends are anxious to attend the party, not pose for photos. At this point you are on an adrenaline high yourself & wish you could just pop over to the reception. Now that carefully planned pose list has become an obligatory nuisance.

Please do not keep your guests waiting for several hours during a cocktail hour. Yours may not be the only function they are invited to that day. I personally arrived at a reception as a guest, waited an hour and a half for the couple to appear (they had photos at a park after their ceremony) but had to leave for another social event.

A reception is the time for the couple to "receive" their guests. Many times I have heard brides say "Oh, they'll entertain each other" in such a flippant manner. Many have such selfish attitudes toward guests: "Those bothersome guests should just drop my gifts by the door & leave me alone". Yes, this is your special day but don't throw social graces out the window.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2004 at 2:48AM
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I like this tradition. My DF and I agreed to have our little moment during our day before the ceremony, but I still want the WOW, and he doesn't want to see my in my full "bride beauty" until i walk down the isle.
As for the photos taken before...I firmly beleive that no photographer is going to deny anyone the time to go quickly freshen up the makeup before we opted to do ours, once we are truly husband and wife.
But do whatever makes you feel best.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 2:46AM
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Never heard of this. She's probably asked fiance how it looks, check fit, etc. over and again by that time.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 10:46AM
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Who knows....the entire societal paradigm may have shifted in the almost eight years since the thread ended. You did notice the date of the last post, right?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 10:59AM
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Actually I didn't - not sure why it popped up on the first page (or at least thought it did). Wouldn't have bothered responding if I realized that.

Still wasn't aware that was ever a tradition anywhere - seems too unfeasible to have ever been the case.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 12:22AM
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Really? It's an old tradition that's been around forever. Check Snopes.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 7:22AM
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i think the tradition is that groom could not see his bride until the girl's father took her to the wedding ceremony... But there is also some local custom is that groom could not see bride's wedding dress neither...

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 5:10AM
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The couple should not see each other on the wedding day. They can only set their eyes to each other as the bride starts to walk down the aisle. But this one is an old tradition. But despite of that, I will still follow this. :)

Please help me out here -

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 12:50AM
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