We’re all familiar with ‘Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue,” and the good fortune rain is supposed to bring on a wedding day. There are so many traditions with roots in superstition, but we hardly think about it any more! In this article, I want to answer your question of whether or not you should do a first look. There is one tradition many brides still adhere to, whether superstitious or not: The groom must not see the bride in her wedding dress before she walks down the aisle.
Take a quick gander at the history behind this one, and you’ll find its origin is in the tradition of arranged marriages. Most of us modern Americans prefer the romance of falling in love before marriage. For most of human history, however, that was simply a post-vow bonus (if it happened at all!). Marriages were often deals between the bride’s father and her groom. It was strangely common for a groom to not have met his bride prior to the wedding day. Therefore, to belittle any possibility of changing minds, it was important for the couple not to see each other! That’s also what the veil was for!! Isn’t that crazy?!
The purpose of this wedding day tradition has altered over time, as our culture has. Brides and their families still take extra precautions to be sure the groom has fresh eyes for her when she walks down the aisle. This way, every emotion is heightened and highly anticipated. All this is in preparation for the overwhelming moment of pride and joy for both of them. For some, however, the jitters can actually be a little too overwhelming!
The Upside of a First Look
Depending on your personality, you may be someone who loves the feeling of all eyes on you. There are plenty of brides, however, who are intimidated by this kind of attention! They would rather not experience an intense amount of emotion (positive though it may be) in front of so many people! For these brides, I’d absolutely say: do a first look with your groom before you walk down the aisle!
As one bride told me, “We got all the nervous wedding jitters out and had some quiet, intimate moments before. The ceremony was still so special even with seeing each other before! 10/10 would do the first look again!”
Set aside the origin of the tradition and there are actually multiple benefits to doing a first look before your ceremony! Like getting your couple’s portraits done before the ceremony! This may not seem like a huge deal, but it’s nice to know that your freshest hair and makeup are captured in your couple’s portraits and you’ve had time to really enjoy those first few moments together.
You can make this time fun and not have to worry about the opinions of your onlookers. It’s simply about you two!!
Couples often use this time to give wedding gifts to each other, read letters to each other, or pray together. It can be a precious moment that will remind you, as you prepare to walk down the aisle, whom you are walking towards and how special they truly are.
You do you, boo!
At the end of the day, you should know that whatever you do, you’re not going to regret it! The brides I asked who didn’t do a first look still said that they’d do it the same way twice!
“I guess I’m traditional,” one bride told me, “And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. His first expression when I walked down the aisle is forever imprinted on my mind. Absolutely priceless.”
“It was really special,” another bride said, “between the crescendo of the music, all the feelings, and just the moment of our eyes locking for the first time that day…it was simply beautiful.”
There’s really no wrong way to experience your wedding day! Just be sure that when you make your plans, you allow yourself to break from tradition where you want to! That’s how cultures change and new traditions are made: people decide what’s most important to them and the world changes just a little more. Since your marriage has (probably) not been arranged by your parents, and there is no chance of you running away, go for it girl! Do a first look with your groom and enjoy the heck out of it!
Enjoy some of our favorite first looks captured in our luxury wedding films!