Traditions & customs are a big point of discussion for most couples as they outline their wedding day. Often times, family & friends have opinions to contribute on the subject and this can lead to a couple making decisions to include or not include specific elements that they might not want to.

We definitely think there's something to be said for tradition- we love our family's holiday traditions and understand the beauty of participating in a custom that has been passed down from generation to generation.  Tradition has its place in our lives and special meaning to certain people so we don't believe you should bunk it all- unless of course, that's what you feel in your heart you want to do! But we definitely don't think couples should do something for the "sake of" tradition. 

In a series of posts this week, we're talking about the origin of some of these traditions as well as some of the elements of a wedding that our couples often reconsider or forgo altogether. 

#4 - Waiting to See Each Other Until The Ceremony

The Tradition

Marriage used to solely be a business transaction. A father would promise his daughter to another family's son and in exchange would receive gold, jewels, land, and titles. The first time the bride and groom would see each other was at the actual wedding ceremony. One of the main reasons for this was to keep either party, but mostly the groom, from bolting if they didn't find the other attractive.

Nowadays, the custom is practiced with the superstition that seeing each other on the wedding day before the ceremony is bad luck. 

But actually, most of the world’s wedding couples already see each other as part of the wedding day process. In many cultures and religions, couples meet before the ceremony for other types of traditional rituals such as tea ceremonies, ketubah signings and garland ceremonies. 

bride looking in gold mirror getting ready on wedding day wedding photography
bride and groom toast romantic wedding photography washington dc
groom anticipating wedding in custom suit wedding photography virginia

The Alternative

There aren't necessarily multiple options for this tradition - either you see each other, or you don't. So the only alternative here is - see each other. 

Our favorite way to accomplish this is with a "First Look." A first look allows for a couple to have a special moment together (with their photographer, of course) to get out that first rush of emotion, touch base on their special day and probably get out some of the jitters.

Additionally, as photographer Kirstie of Kir2Ben Photography points out, there are numerous other benefits:

- Time for just the two of you: Think about it - most of your wedding day is about being surrounded by your family & friends. We find newlyweds appreciate this First Look moment together as a quiet moment with the one who the day is truly all about. 

- Timeline: Getting portraits and wedding party photos out of the way prior to the ceremony gives a photographer and the couple time to capture all the photos that are most wanted without feeling crunched for time.  Additional benefit: although a few additional photos will still need to be snapped after the ceremony, the couple can join in at cocktail hour. Why skip a part of the day that so much time and money has been spent on to make it perfect?

- Best Face Forward:  If the First Look is the first thing following having hair & makeup done and getting dressed, then a couple won't haven't melted in the heat/snow/rain/tears. 

- The ideal setting: Choose a location with perfect lighting and the perfect background to capture those first emotions. 

- Better photos of the first reactions: A photographer can get closer and capture the moment better during a first look. It's also more intimate because it is just the couple alone. **We will personally promise that walking down the aisle and seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony will still evoke genuine emotion and these photos will be just as loved!

Did you miss the other posts in this series of Wedding Traditions Reconsidered?
Check them out here:

#1 - The Bouquet & Garter Toss
#2 - Favors
#3 - Cake
#5 - Wearing a Veil  
#6 - TheWedding Party

About Sincerely Pete

Sincerely Pete is a full service wedding planning and design company in Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, VA with over 13 years of experience. We believe in a personal, curated & customized approach to each wedding couple we work with taking their values & personalities into account and keeping the relationship as the focus of the wedding. We plan Washington DC weddings, Virginia weddings, Maryland weddings and destination weddings all over the world. 

Contact us today for more information!