Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Photos Before the Ceremony?


What do you think about couples seeing each other and doing pictures before the ceremony?

First off, I'd like to say that there is no right decision. Everyone is different and I strongly believe that weddings should reflect the character and personality of the bride and groom, even down to how they lay out the day.

Believe me, I've heard both extreme sides of the argument. One one side, I've talked with people who believe it's bad luck, wedding blasphemy and that I'm crazy for even suggesting it. On the other side of the spectrum, I've talked with people who find it old-fashioned and want nothing to do with a tradition rooted in the days where marriages were arranged and virgins were sold to old men in exchange for cows. No joke, this is where the tradition came from. Not letting the groom see the bride until the ceremony was a tactic to keep him from deciding she wasn't worth the price he was paying and backing out. Obviously, I don't think that's why anyone is carrying on the tradition today.

I definitely respect the brides I meet who have envisioned that walk down the aisle to see their groom for the first time since they were a child. But, from my perspective, as a bride, as a photographer and as someone who's seen the in's and out's of hundreds of weddings, here are a few reasons to consider seeing each other before the ceremony.

1. You still get the aisle experience. Most bride's main concern is losing the wow factor of her groom seeing her for the first time as she walks down the aisle. But the magic of that moment isn't lost. You're about to get married. The moment is HUGE. You walk down single and walk back united with another person. Whether he's seen you in your dress or not has nothing do do with the magic of the moment. You can see it and feel it, the emotion is still there. At my own wedding, my husband still teared up when I walked down the aisle with my dad. Never mind that he and I had been joking around with friends 30 minutes prior.

2. Nerves. Most people I've talked to after their wedding say that they were so nervous and anxious until the moment they saw each other and the butterflies all went away, regardless of whether that moment was at the alter or a couple of hours before. You suddenly have your other half and you can begin processing the day with them. One time, while we were driving from the photo shoot to the ceremony with a couple, a groom (who will remain nameless) turned to his bride and with a relieved look on his face said, "I would have crapped my pants if I had to wait until the ceremony to see you!" 

3. Enjoy the moment alone together. Think about it, if you see each other for the first time at the end of the aisle you can't talk or kiss, you can hardly touch and you'll have somewhere between 5 and 500 of your closest friends, family, co-workers and their random dates watching you. OR, you can set up a romantic moment that you can really enjoy. Laugh, hug, kiss, cry- you don't have to hold anything back because you don't have to worry about anyone watching. AND, the moment usually makes for sweet pictures. 

 4. Get to the party sooner. Seeing each other beforehand and getting pictures done means that once you're done with the ceremony, you're ready to head straight to the reception with nothing else to worry about except dancing with your friends. If you are doing pictures afterwards, you'll have a lot less time and all of your guests will be waiting. 


























5. Photos. If you list photos as one of the most important thing to you on your wedding day, I'd highly recommend shooting before the ceremony. It really expands your options for what you're able to do. You're able to schedule in extra time to drive to a great location, time to get a wider variety of shots and just have a more relaxed photo shoot.

6. Spend the day with each other. Really, when you think about it, a wedding reception is a big party that the bride and groom are hosting. Everyone wants to talk to them, congratulate them, dance with them, etc. Yes, you'll probably spend most of the reception side by side, but you'll be talking to everyone else. As we drove away from our reception, Jason and I realized we hadn't really gotten a chance to reallly talk to each other since before the ceremony!

7. Get away from the stress. The few hours before the wedding is when moms, florists, friends helping to set up, etc. begin stressing over little details and begin to come and ask the bride for answers and you hear questions like these: "Do you want the flowers here, or six inches to the left?" or "We can't find the cake! Oh wait... we found it." All things that can work themselves out and if you're not available because you're off taking pictures, you never have to know.








What's your opinion? How are you planning on doing it? I'd love to hear in the comments!

photos jkoephoto.com



Check out Something Charming's awesome Wedding Wednesday post on guest etiquette! Seriously, great tips for couples planning weddings and things all guests should know.


Want more wedding tips and tricks?  Check out our other Wedding Wednesday posts HERE.

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161 comments:

  1. we've decided to do pictures before the wedding for every single reason you listed here. i just want that alone time with my groom before standing at the altar in front of everyone.

    and since you are a photographer i would love your opinion on my post today!

    life spelled jen

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    1. My husband and I shared a very small intimate ceremony With our two best friends as witnesses. Prior to the nuptials we did take pictures together. Very casual and relaxed and peaceful. No bad luck gremlins have smashed our hopes and dreams together. We will be celebrating our 35th anniversary this year! :-)

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  2. Absolutely before! We would have decided to see each other before the ceremony regardless of if our photogs had suggested it (ahem...JKoe ;) ). It was so nice to have that private moment and get a round of the jitters out!

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    1. Thanks Heather! Jason and I loved working with you guys!

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  3. We have decided to absolutely do photos before the ceremony. We are doing a destination wedding (so we and our guests are traveling a far distance). We figure this will be a great way to spend some time alone that day and then also get to the cocktail hour to be with our friends and family who have all traveled to be with us on our wedding day!

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    1. Haha thanks! I tend to forget things like this at 3 AM!

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  5. I think my favorite point you made was #3!!!! I am such a crier during anything & everything from cheesy animal commercials to love songs... so I can just imagine I will be having a hard time keeping it together on my own day, so it would be so much more special to have that moment alone with my significant other before everything begins. It's so weird/intuitive reading posts like this since right now I work on the other side of things (Wedding planning) and don't really ever think about what I would want. Awesome post! :) Have a great day!

    Nicole Rene

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  6. I was already planning to see my fiance before the wedding, and take pictures in my dress with him in the tuxedo a few days ahead of time. My family is a bit more traditional, and I'm trying to convince them that it is OK that the bride and groom see each other before the wedding. This list helps me make my point! Thank you!

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  7. Jenny and Jason from JKoe shot our wedding, we saw each other before and there were no regrets whatsoever :) It definitely helped make the wedding a more relaxed, stress free, enjoyable experience :)

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  8. Dude. AMEN to all of these! That experience of walking down the aisle and seeing your soon-to-be-husband (and I'm sure vice-versa for grooms) can NEVER be outmatched, even if you have a first look. And there's no way I could have held back my words/response/freak-out moment if I had waited to see my hubby at the ceremony.

    And, do make the point more emphatic, seeing each other before the ceremony means you can actually enjoy having your pictures taken. Seriously....you pay a lot of money for the photos, you better enjoy it! And allowing time beforehand cuts stress and increases the fun ;)

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  9. This post was really well written and I like the important factors you highlighted here. I think this goes back to one of your first posts where you said "The point of the wedding is to get married"... never mind trying to make a cookie cutter perfect outline of what to do, I'm all about enjoying each other's company, especially in private, even if it goes astray from what was originally envisioned. Oh, and getting to the party sooner is obviously the biggest perk of seeing each other and taking pictures before the ceremony :)

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  10. I'm so pro-this article! Found it on pinterest and it reinforces my thoughts to have a less traditional wedding in general! I love the before pictures too, it just shows the pure joy in the couple! So perfect :)

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    1. If you're opting for a less traditional wedding, may I suggest offbeatbride.com. Seriously has SAVED me in wedding planning. Next to nothing on the general internet inspires me, since we're doing things a little different, but everyone on Offbeat Bride is awesome and supportive and will give you ideas from just slightly offbeat, to completely offbeat without a traditional thing in sight! (They also have Offbeat Home and Offbeat Mama, so you'll probably be stuck with them forever like me lol)

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  11. I was so worried about having to do pictures before the ceremony, which we have to do because of time constraints at the church. This makes me feel so much better about it! Thanks!

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  12. We are waiting to see each other. We believe it will feel more special to not see each other until I am walking down the isle, and I am SURE we will NOT regret it.

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  13. As a wedding planner, I have never had a bride to regret doing photos before the ceremony. I have often gone to great detail to make that moment THE magical moment dreams are made of. However, I have worked with many brides who waited to do photos after the ceremony. They almost all felt rushed and missed sharing some of the sweetest and most tender moments with their groom. It is not about the "time' element before the reception as much as it is a way to ground each other in a moment full of never before known emotion.

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  14. I would've FREAKED OUT if my groom saw me before I walked up the aisle. One of my favorite ceremony shots is me walking up to the alter with my Dad...and you can see a big fat tear sparkling in the corner of my eye. My eyes welled up when i first saw hubby and my photographer was able to capture that in a photo. I wouldn't trade that photo for anything.

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    1. My fiancé and I did pictures before, and I'm so glad we did. I felt nervous and sick up until the moment I saw my guy. Seeing him relaxed me and I was able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon leading up to the ceremony. We also got an amazing "first look" photo, and the kicker? I still cried walking down the isle. The Moment wasn't lost at all.

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  15. We've decided to take pictures before the ceremony also. We are having a sunset ceremony and I would DIE if I had to wait until 6:00pm to see him! Nothing about our relationship is traditional so not seeing each other until the ceremony wouldn't work for us either.

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  16. My favorite, most intimate part of my day was the 20 minutes I spent with my fiance before the ceremony. We were done with pictures, and got away from everyone for just a few minutes to sit and really soak up the moment. One of the most romantic moments of my life.

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    1. Yes! I love that. Thanks for sharing your experience. I think it's easy to get caught up in everything on your wedding day and forget that really, all of this is happening because if the love between two people. I'm so glad you got to have that time.

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  17. I thought I commented on this already, but I guess not. I'm glad I caught myself though, this is a great post! I am all for seeing each other before the ceremony, and always try to convince my brides to do it {most of whom are very skeptical of the idea}. I remember my own wedding, and how it was so much more meaningful to be able to see him before, and be all emotional together, in private. Walking down the aisle was still an amazing experience, because everybody I loved was in one place, together. I am so glad I did see him before, and I think all of your reasons above explain why, perfectly. Great post my dear!

    Thank you for linking up this week, and thanks for the sweet shout out! It's been lovely having you for Wedding Wednesday :)

    xoxo,
    Joelle

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  18. My only objection, and a major one for myself, is that if I were to take the pictures before...we wouldn't REALLY be married... And are pictures taken after the ceremony more sincere? I mean at the point we would have the excitement of finally and officially being married. Did this make a difference for anyone else?

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    1. I think regardless of when, you're going to have that excited feeling...whether it be because you're officially married or about to be officially married. I personally think its a great idea :)

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    2. I agree with you, Brittany. We waited and I'm glad we did. For me, not seeing him and hanging with my girls was kind of fun.

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    3. But ladies, you could also say these are our last pictures as a couple before we were married, and an after being married :) sorta like your last photo b4 you take the plunge...idk if this makes a difference because I've never gotten married but Iam an inspiring photographer who was totally for traditional and this article put me in a totally different place! Just my input I hope it helped? Lol
      Thanks!
      Samantha

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    4. I agree with you. Typically, wedding photos are, "we're married now!". I'd do a shot before, somehow reflecting the two of you ABOUT TO GET MARRIED, and do the rest after you really are. The dress, the excitement in the bride and grooms faces and the ring all indicate a couple who is now married, not about to be. I still see no harm in seeing each other before for some alone time, but I don't agree with the pictures beforehand

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    5. Personally -- and you are of course free to disagree -- I feel like the point of the photos is to capture the magic of the day as a whole, rather than specifically "We're married now!" pictures. (You can get plenty of those at the reception too, by the by.) I love the idea of capturing the anticipation and excitement of the pre-ceremony hours, and I feel like having those last moments together helps that time be fun and exciting rather than nervous and stressful. Besides all that, I have been to FAR too many weddings as a guest where the reception was put on hold because "oh my god, are they STILL taking pictures???" I don't want that for my guests, so I plan to do the official photos before they arrive. Going straight from ceremony to reception with very little pause in between seems a much more natural flow of events to me.

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  19. By taking pictures before the ceremony, do these include all the bridesmaids and groomsmen? And won't it be weird to taken wedding photos when the groom doesn't have his wedding band on yet?
    Though I love the idea of having so much more time to take pictures prior to the ceremony and actually having some alone time with your hubby, but I'm just wondering.

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    1. You can always either wear your engagement rings, or slip on your wedding ring for the pictures. Or just do the showing-off-the-ring pictures after the ceremony. That way, You'll only have a couple to do instead of the entire set, It still has all the perks listed above

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  21. There is nothing traditional about our wedding (we're getting married on a catamaran) so waiting to see each other just sounded silly to us. We not only plan on taking pictures before due to the fact that it will be nearly dark when our sunset cruise is over, but we also plan on hanging out with our close friends the day of at the hotel. This is all about enjoying our special day for us and making it a memorable and fun experience! I think the first look is a great, intimate experience!

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  22. We got married back in November and decided to have a first look. One of the main reasons was because our ceremony was later in the evening, outside, and right after the time had changed. If we had waited until after the ceremony to do all of our pictures, there would have been zero light. Plus, our ceremony & reception were at the same location - no travel time for our guests - so we didn't want them to wait on us to take photos before they could eat.

    Honestly, I wouldn't have changed anything from that day. Leading up to my wedding I thought I'd cry during our ceremony. Sure, that might be sweet to some, but my face gets bright red at the start of tears - not ideal for pictures. By having our first look, I was able to get all of my emotions out early and privately with my husband, and during the ceremony I was able to relax and have fun.

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  23. I Loved this!! & will definitely be passing it along to some of my future brides. As a photographer I have tried to explain some of this to my past brides, but am very respectful about it bc many of them still like to stick to Tradition. Im the type that loves to throw tradition out the window every chance I get. I finally found a bride that was way more interested in having amazing photos with her groom than worrying about tradition. That end up being my favorite wedding, and the before "appearance" moment was just me & the 2 of them, & its my favorite moment of my entire career. They were so cute & it made for some of the most amazing photos. I highly suggest photos before!!

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  24. I love this article! We will probably still wait and not see each other before the wedding, but I don't have strong opinions about it. I'm just a pretty traditional girl and I think waiting will add to the moment and day for us. I agree with what you said right at the beginning about how it should reflect the couple. There's definitely no "right" or "wrong" on this one. If anyone wants to do it before and is worried for some reason, I'd definitely recommend reading this.

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  25. My husband and I did this! It was great! We got to see each other and take all the pictures we needed to before the wedding so that right after the ceremony we only had a few to take and got to go straight to the reception since we were on a time limit anyway. the pictures before the ceremony looked great too because my make up was fresh and after the ceremony I didn't have time to reapply lipstick or anything! i highly recommend doing this!

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  26. I had never considered a pre-wedding photo shoot until reading this article, and it totally made me fall in love with the whole idea. It's now something I am absolutely excited about doing on my wedding day.

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  27. I have always been adamant that I wanted pictures after. As I'm thinking about it now, probably mostly for reason #1. I don't have a wedding in my near future, but this definitely has me reconsidering. :O) Thanks for the post.

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  28. I opted to take photos after the ceremony... Looking back, there were other photos that I wished we had gotten and more time that I wish we had to visit with guests. From the end of the ceremony through to the end of the reception, I felt rushed all the way through. Weeks later when I saw the photos, they looked great, but I wish we had done photos before to make more time to do the rounds with the guests and there were key photos that I think wouldn't have been missed if we weren't so pressed for time.

    Still great memories and wonderful photos that turned out, but if I could do it again... I'd consider doing some photos before.

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  29. We are doing a first look for all the reasons you listed but #1 for us is the intimate moment w/o all those eyes on us.

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  30. I strongly believed that I didn't want to see my fiance before the walk down the aisle. As I started my planning my wedding, I decided that I wanted an outdoor evening wedding. I came to the realization that I would be quickily running out of sunlight if we waited to do our wedding pictures after the ceremony. Reluctently, I decided that we would have to do pictures before hand. After reading this article and all the comments, I'm much more at ease with my decision. Thank you everyone!

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    1. Yay! Thanks so much for sharing! This is exactly why I wanted to write this post. I know that a lot of times it comes down to logistics for couples but it really can be such a special, romantic, wonderful time. I'm sure you're wedding day will be amazing!

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  31. I had a noon wedding with the reception following immediately. Seeing each other beforehand was definitely a wise choice for many reasons. I loved the intimate moment with just the two of us (and the photographer). That did really help calm my nerves and I cherished the quiet moment before the great celebration began. I'm very close to my dad, so I decided that he would "get me" from my room and walk me to where my groom was waiting. He left and I proceeded to walk up to my groom. This made it all the more special, plus we got some great photos! We have absolutely no regrets seeing each other before the ceremony!

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  32. I think another option if you're like me and would not want to see him beforehand is to do a "first touch" around a corner or on either side of a door where you can't see one another. You can pray before the ceremony or talk without ruining the surprise. It can lead to some fun pictures also!

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    1. Yes! I'm planning on doing a post about alternatives in the near future. I've been seeing a lot of creative ideas.

      Another idea I've seen work really well, is for couples to meet up for coffee in the morning, before they start to get ready for the wedding. The couples I know who've done this have used it as a time to remember the focus of the day is getting married, pray together, etc. I've gotten a lot of positive feedback about that idea.

      Thanks for sharing with us!

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    2. I'm thinking about doing the "first touch" as well. Even though I think you list many good reasons for seeing each other prior, it's not for us, and that's okay. Looking forward to your post on alternatives!

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  33. I totally agree with you! We did our pictures before the wedding and it made the day so much smoother for everybody, especially guests who didn't have to wait for us--we jumped in the car after the ceremony and were at the reception to welcome everybody, which was awesome. However, while your reveal pictures are stunning, we made it a point to tell our wedding party and families that we wanted a PRIVATE moment to see each other, and I'm so glad. It still gives me goosebumps to think about it!

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  34. I want to do this so bad and my fiance and I love the idea of the private moment and getting to the reception right away but I do not see how this works with the traditional "family" pictures and the pictures with your bridal party. Do you do the private moment and then call in the family? Another reason why I love this... your photographer is able to get all of the moments at the reception/cocktail hour that would have been missed otherwise. love this post. thanx!

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  35. As someone who has been married for over 20 years, I have to say I wish we had taken those first look photos before the ceremony. We would have had many more shots to pick from, and we would have discovered that my changing shoe styles meant my dress was too long!! It made for an awkward trip down the isle. I don't have many regrets in my life, but the way we decided to capture our wedding day is one of them. Not to mention that when we finally arrived at the reception, no one had made us a plate of food and most everything was gone but the sweets!

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  36. As a photographer, I encourage "The Reveal" to all my clients. All reasons above are exactly why. Also noting that if you envision beautiful wedding day photos, you can't have that after 6 p.m. after the time changes in the fall. Not gonna happen. I've never had any of the couples say they wished they hadn't done it. But I do understand some are more traditional. I liken it to finding out the sex of your child vs. letting it be a surprise at the birth. Either way you decide to do it, feels right and perfect.

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  37. My husband and I got married at Christmas and decided to do all our pictures before the ceremony. He was a little hesitant at first (largely thanks to people who kept giving their opinions as to why we shouldn't do it that way). We decided it was OUR day and if we wanted our pictures before, that was OUR decision. Our "meeting" was so special and emotional, and our photographer was able to capture it all without us even noticing he was there! It was just so perfect and sweet. It took away all of our "jitters" and allowed us to enjoy the bulk of our wedding day together and not hiding away in separate rooms...

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  38. I was adamant about him not seeing the dress, or me, before the ceremony. We still had an hour with the photographers before the ceremony, and got some of the gender specific photos out of the way. Then we had an hour after the ceremony to get the group photos, couple portraits, large wedding party pictures, etc.
    I don't think we felt rushed (I, at least, did not) and we finished EARLY, got some extra fun ones that the photographers suggested. They were impressed with how organized we were (I'd made a list of NEED to have shots, and delegated to a sister to make sure people were ready).
    As for not being a private moment, when I started down the aisle everyone else disappeared, they may have been looking in, but they were not involved in this moment. And he did whisper "nice dress" with a smile at the altar.
    The worst part of not seeing each other before was the sleeping with out him. We lived together before marriage, and though I knew he was just a hallway away in the hotel, at 3:30am the wedding stress and not having his arms around me was no good. A phone call though while getting hair done, and hearing his voice was just as good as seeing his face. (and provided a nice picture, minus some dark circles)

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  39. We waited till after and I don't regret that decision. My husband is pretty traditional and it was something that made him happy and anticipating. It was probably also helpful because I am late to everything and that day was no exception. I was running in from my hair appt just before the pre pictures were supposed to be taken. What made us feel rushed, awkward and like cookie cutter pictures was our photographer. It would not have mattered if we were before the ceremony or after, he was a jerk. Regardless of all those decisions at the end of all of it we were married and the marriage has been even more fun and better than the wedding day.

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  40. i would have been the person who would want to wait to see my future husband at the altar but you made some really great points!! the photography tips were really great!! I know I want a large variety of pictures, that would be my number priority. And being able to calm the nerves before the ceremony. I know I would have a big bundle of butterflies. My favorite though was being able to spend the day with him. That one sold me, after all the day is about us and enjoying it with each other as much as possible, I wouldn't want anything less :)

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  41. I was dead-set on not seeing my husband before and I'm glad I changed my mind. Not sure if this came up in the previous comments, but my now mother-in-law gave me one other thing to consider: the tears! You get so emotional throughout the ceremony that there is definitely a distinct change in your makeup's appearance in the photos taken before and after. In the photos before, we look happy, relaxed and excited. In the photos after, we still look all of those things, but also a little emotionally wrung out. :)

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  42. As a soon to be bride/photographer I absolutely respect the decision of the bride but will send them this article if they would like lots of portraits and are having a night time ceremony.

    I have 2 amazingly sweet crying groom photos in my portfolio and both of them did a first look. (http://carolineplusben.com/2011/04/down-the-aisle-erin-matt/) One of them even attended the bridal session! The other bride said she had NEVER seen her groom cry before that day. How sweet is that?

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    1. With that said a first look is the only option for us!

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    2. Thanks so much for sharing this. I love the emotion you can see in the photos!

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  43. My husband and I decided to do photos before. Our ceremony and reception were at the same venue and we didn't want hours between them. All of our guests would have had to wait while we took all our photos. I remember being so anxious before our first look photo that I was ready to bawl. I'm so glad we did it before. Our photos turned out really cute and the pressure was off for the walk down the aisle.

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  44. Hi- I am planning to see my man before our ceremony, too. One main reason is because it will be in February at the ceremony starts at 5pm... meaning if we wait all of our photos will have to be in door or outside in the dark. Sooo we are going to take daytime photos before the ceremony (which gives us more variety on our photos) and photos after the ceremony just briefly with the night affect.

    You briefly mentioned another point too but I always felt that unless the photographer had like 10 assistance at every possible angle of the location (aka 1 right beside the pastor) there was NO WAY to 100% garantee you would get both the bride and the groom's reaction on the asile walk... so having a "First look" before the ceremony ensures you can capture that special moment in a photograph!

    Will be using this post as a way to persuade my mother and inlaws to understand the pre ceremony pictures! thanks!

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  45. LOVE this article ... will probably have to use for reference! My little sister got married last summer, and my mother had an absolute bird about the bride and groom staying blind until the ceremony. (Considering my sister was pregnant at the time of the wedding, tradition for tradition's sake seemed a bit archaic/silly, but that was still important to Mom. She's going to have a really hard time accepting my decision to have a "before" reveal.)

    We did separate-gender photos with some family included on each side prior to the ceremony and saved the couple's "together" and whole-party shots for after, so we were able to save some time between the day's segments. That is a nice time-saver for couples who want to remain traditional but get some shots out of the way early.

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  46. We took pictures before, and as a result got much better more natural pictures throughout the entire day. No one was worrying about who was where, the groom didn't have to hide while the bride left the room. My husband and I got a lot of crap from our families who are WAY to traditional for us, but it was totally worth it. And, like stated above it was wonderful to head strait to the reception and spend time with family and friends.

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  47. To actually see each other I prefer waiting... but, I would love to be able to be back to back with a wall in between or something so we couldn't physically see each other) holding hands and saying a prayer with each other before the wedding.

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  48. I've always thought about just waiting, but then I'm the type of person that cries in the smallest parts in movies or at least get teared up. So...I'm leaning more towards before, plus, I'll be so impatient to see him...

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  49. My husband and I decided to see each before hand and do a private "first meeting" photo shoot and then do the pictures before hand. All the reasons you listed above went into our decision as to why we decided to see other before the ceremony. We were less stressed, we had a lot more fun, had some amazing photos and both our guests and us were able to go straight to the reception after the ceremony to celebrate. It was a win-win all the way around in my opinion and I encourage all couples to consider it!

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  50. My hubby and I did a courthouse ceremony with just 2 friends... both being in the military and far away from family his was easier. We rode to the ceremony together and 3 years later no bad luck here! if I were to have had a wedding I think I would've went this route for pictures... It makes a of of sense! I recently went to a friends wedding where we waited at least 45 min for them to come in from pics... Then had to wait on them to eat before talking and congratulating them... If they'd done pics first then they could've eaten while everyone else was and had more time to enjoy the party. I do know a couple who did their pics the way you suggest and I loved the idea! Im not sure why everyone feels like they have to do traditional wedding things, sometimes its nice to add new traditions to make it your own.

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  51. I've never even considered going against tradition until I saw this post, but I love the idea of a photo with a divider (like a door) between us and then one taken as soon as he sees me. I've also noticed that not a single person who commented on this wished they hadn't taken pictures before. It's definitely something I plan on doing now! Thank you for sharing! :)

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  52. I DIDNT do pictures before and I wish I did!!! I had in my head that I wanted to keep the tradition, mostly because everything else was not very traditional. We had an afternoon wedding and did rehearsal in the morning, so I did see my husband earlier in the day (so glad) BUT the time after the ceremony was rushed to get good pictures then get back to the reception. I also felt like the whole afternoon was posing for pictures rather than having fun with family and friends. Wish I would have had someone tell me to do couple photos before.

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  53. What about your hair? Do you have to redo it?

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  54. I knew I wanted to see my husband before the wedding. We got married at a bed and breakfast and my MOH took him into a room and then I went in and ten years later I still remember the look on his face and I will never forget him looking and me and saying "You're...breathtaking." Never. Our aisle was *very* long and he wouldn't have been able to see me very well until I got close. I wouldn't have seen his face or heard those words. I wouldn't have one of the most treasured memories of our wedding day. Now as an event coordinator, I recommend it to every couple.

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  55. I am not married nor engaged, but I've been to a whole lot of weddings. From that stand point, I have to say that seeing the groom's face light up when he sees his bride for the first time, as she's coming down the aisle, is easily my favorite moment in a wedding. Easily. It is certainly an intimate and emotional moment for both the bride and the groom, so I can understand why many couples might want to enjoy that moment in private, but as a wedding guest (and usually a close friend of the couple) I am very grateful when the couple allows me to witness that first-sight moment with them. It's special for not just the couple but their guests, too.

    I get what has been said many times above, that the down-the-aisle moment is special no matter what, but in my mind it definitely loses something if it's not the first sight. I've seen it done both ways, and there's definitely a difference.

    I totally get your reasons for having the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony. They make sense. But I think there's a lot to be said for waiting, too. Just a thought to add to the mix. :)

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    Replies
    1. Out of curiosity, as a guest, how do you feel about the post-ceremony, pre-reception photo shoot? I've always felt like it just drags and the guests are just standing around doing nothing waiting for the party to start.

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  56. We are waiting to see each toher until after we get married. We are still taking pictures before and getting all the ones done that we can. I think that the point to my post is that you can do whatever you want and i do not think that you have to decide between being traditional or not. You can take all those pictures that you take seperately before the wedding and the ones that you need both of you in them can be after the wedding. This way it is not so much of a time constraint and you still get to be traditional if that is what you want

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  57. Yes it is good to know each other well about life partner so the the love remains always in journey of their life.
    Wedding Planning

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  58. I got married in July of last year and I truly regret not doing a first look before the ceremony. It wasn't a matter of time or pictures or anything like that, but when I was getting ready to walk down the aisle and see him for the first time, I felt so nauseous that I almost got sick. Of course this is a personal thing and not everyone would feel that way, but I was so nervous that I was shaking like a leaf. If I had seen him before, I would have been much more relaxed. The entire ceremony I was dabbing myself with a wet paper towel because I thought I was going to pass out (from behind it looked like I was crying and dabbing my eyes... hah.) I didn't have a strong opinion about seeing him before, but my husband didn't want to. If we would have known that I would have been like that, we probably would have done it.

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  59. Could not agree more with this post! We did our pictures before and I wouldn't have changed it for anything. Of course grandmothers and moms, were a little weary of this new found tradition and some were not too happy, but it was our wedding and this honestly was one of the most special moments we had that day! Every thing you noted hit the nail on the head 100%! As you stated it is up to the bride and groom, but this post should truly help those weight the very large pros to doing a first look.
    Thanks!

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  60. Thanks for writing such a great post! Being a photographer I always try and tell my brides what the benefits of the Moments Before are with out being pushy of course. You wrote it all out for me! I have posted it to my Facebook page, thanks again!
    Nichol Davis {Love One Another Photography}

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  61. Here in the Netherlands bride and groom always see eachother before the ceremony. That's ususaly when he hands her the bouquet (if she has one)
    It is rearly done during the ceremony. Emotions are already so vivid, this takes at least a bit off the stress away. And during the aisle moment you get all the ah's and oh's from your guests -> so you get to do it twice :-)
    Same goes for the pictures. Your make up and hair still look fresh and you don't have to hurry back to your guests. Much less stress.!

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    Replies
    1. He hands her the bouquet -- that's beautiful! :D Not a tradition here in the states but I love it!

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  62. I linked to this on my blog, hope that is ok!
    http://turningdomestic.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/saturday-surfs.html

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  63. NO WAYY will i see my groom before i walk down that isle!! Actually after the rehearsal dinner we part ways and won't see each other till my dad walks me down the isle! You ruin that special moment if you see each other before hand!! I don't understand people who do see each other before hand how they still get that wow factor because you have already seen each other! I also believe in its bad luck to see the bride/groom before she walks down the isle. I can't believe photographers are actually suggesting to break tradition...oh and to tell the person who made this up...the reason we do it is tradition but the tradition you had posted...i mean come on now be realistic!!!!

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    Replies
    1. That is a realistic tradition. Just saying, you should check facts before openly denying truth.

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  64. i have known people who have done it both ways. Before i read this post i was very certain, then if/when i get married i would wait for the isle....but reading this has brought some ideas to me and it is very interesting. You could do pics before and after, starting off with the first touch, and just talking on opposite sides of the wall (getting pics of this), leading to the first look (getting more pics) then having just a few moments of time being alone and getting all the butterflies to calm down. Plus we can get isle pics:-)....i know once i'm engaged we will have to talk about what we will want to do..i still don't know which one i would rather do..both have pros and cons, but in both, nobody has regretted do it either way.

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  65. Definately not. My husband and I were dual military and got married in a courthouse almost 4 years ago. So when we go to renew our vows in August I will not see him prior to the church service. It takes away from the wow factor of the groom seeing the bride for the first time in the dress. He shouldn't know what the dress looks like either. It's the suspense that makes it unique. Plan an earlier wedding if you're worried you won't have time for photos. And you have all the time in the world to be alone with your man. The wedding is for your family too. It is also a romantic evening where it will be just you even though others are there.

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  66. We had pictures taken a day before the ceremony in a castle which was about an hour away from the city that we lived and really out of the way, so it was more practical for us to do pictures before hand. Pictures were an important part of the wedding and they turned out beautifully and we cherish them today, but I understand what "fawnthayer" said about the wow factor.
    Our moment in the church was beautiful but I wonder what it would have been like if we seen each other the first time in our wedding attires. However, I never wondered about this until today until I read this article...so obviously it isn't a big deal for us. Everyone has to decide for themselves what suits their personality the best and just go with that.

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  67. I love this post! While imagining my wedding in my head, I was definitively going with no photos before...but now I can see it having its advantages. I had to share it on my blog as well. Thanks for the great perspectives.


    http://new-layer.blogspot.com/2012/06/things-we-would-blog-wedding-wednesday.html

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  68. Our wedding was a little different that the norm, but right before our ceremony my husband and I spent a few quiet minutes in one of the most gorgeous rooms I've ever seen. While other people worried about whether our guests had made it and logistics, we just sat together in a beautiful place talking quietly. It was one of the highlights of my day, I would definitely recommend spending a little quiet time together before you say I do!

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  69. You bring up alot of good points that I had never thought about. Now I'm not anywhere near getting married but you may have just convinced me to break tradition and see the groom before hand. You really won me over when you stated that if you wait til you see the groom walking down the aisle you can't even hug, kiss, or really talk then. Which I think would be ridiculously hard! Thanks for this!

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  70. I love reading everyone's response! Still feel it will ruin the moment though, so I will see him when I walk down the aisle!

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    Replies
    1. This is what we chose to do and I do not regret it for a second!

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  71. To actually see each other I prefer waiting.but, I would love to be able to be back to back with a wall in between or something so we couldn't physically see each other) holding hands and saying a prayer with each other before the wedding.
    Wedding Planning Ideas

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  72. This article makes some wonderful points. However, my husband and I waited to see each other until the ceremony and it was an amazing moment! I am so glad we did! We didn't make the decision because it is the "traditional" thing to do, we decided it would be a special moment for us. I descended down a grand staircase to enter the ceremony, and I remember the first thing I did was look for my almost-husband. He was glowing, I was glowing, our eyes locked, and it was amazing! NO regrets!!

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  73. I so agree with you!! I photographed a friend's (last minute) wedding recently and she refused to do photos before the 5:30 PM wedding because of that tradition, and it was a DISASTER. Everyone was grumpy afterwards because they had to wait for pictures, and it was very awkward. I felt so frustrated, and it's so great to hear a professional photographer say this, too!! It makes everything so much smoother!

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  74. My husband and I opted to break the wedding mould further. Not only did we reveal prior to the ceremony, we walked down the aisle together. From a symbolic perspective, we saw it more as walking into the marriage together as equals, rather than the traditional idea of a woman being given away to a man. Not one part of me regrets it. Any of it.

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    Replies
    1. Love this, love it! So many wedding traditions are rooted in some very old-fashioned cultural ideas, and not old-fashioned in a good way either.

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  75. This is something I have really wondered about. I REALLY want to do the pictures beforehand, HOWEVER, I'm saving my first kiss for my wedding day...I guess in that aspect I'm way too traditional. Maybe I could do some pictures before the wedding without kissing and some after with kissing...who knows--good thing I have time to figure it out!

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    Replies
    1. You can totally do that! We shot wedding a few years back where the couple was waiting to kiss at the altar and the photos before were amazing and wonderfully romantic. We definitely pushed the couple to their limits having them get SUPER close, looking into each other's eyes and not kissing.

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  76. I waited until "the big walk" to see my husband and I wish I'd snuck across the street to see him before the wedding. Here's why: we were married in a huge church (cathedral actually) and the sextant (the person in charge of locking up and securing the cathedral after the ceremony) was obviously in a rush to get us and our guests out of the church quickly, so he started switching the lights off while we were in our receiving line. We didn't get to have any posed pictures in the church on the altar like I would have wanted, but luckily(!) our photographer was excellent and had fabulous shots anyway. But, if that wasn't the case, I'd have been extremely disappointed all the way around... just my $.02... And, yes, he cried when he saw me and it was magical, but we had our "special time alone" by taking a horse-drawn carriage from the church to the reception. We had a bottle of champagne and the two of us de-stressed together for the 1/2 hour it took to get through Philadelphia traffic on a spring Saturday. I'd recommend THAT again in a heartbeat, too! (Bonus - people on the street and tourists yelling out "Congratulations!": priceless!)

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  77. I am a former wedding planner and I can tell you that I have NEVER had a bride say that they regret seeing their to-be hubby before the ceremony, but 9 times out of 10 my brides have regretted waiting until the walk down the aisle.

    Not only are your points accurate and obviously important for the bride and groom, I've experienced SEVERAL awkward length cocktail hours due to couples waiting until after the ceremony to take pictures. Some have weddings in churches downtown Chicago (where I'm from) and then have a reception 3 blocks away... but with 2 hours in between the ceremony and reception (so that they can take shots in different locations around the city). Majority of guests were not from out of town, so didn't have a hotel room to go back to and ended up heading to the restaurant (reception venue) to eat BEFORE the cocktail hour/reception. Then, most of the food was wasted because not everyone was hungry.

    Now, mind you, this is an extreme case (and the worst that I've experienced), but had they taken the time earlier to get together and take pictures, the bride and groom wouldn't have been rushed around the city with limited time and the guests could've enjoyed the reception food!

    That's my opinion and I hope this sheds some light on everyone! Thanks for sharing!

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  78. i am definitely doing the first look! i absolutely want to see him before hand. he's my rock and i know i'll be a wreck walking into the biggest/best decision of my life without having seen him all day, so i'm going to need him to calm me down before the ceremony. plus, i'm super emotional and it's a given i'll be balling during the ceremony, so i need pictures before my makeup gets messed up!

    do you do ALL the pictures before the ceremony though? i think i'd want just our pictures together done before. maaaaaybe the bridal party, but i'd definitely save family and everyone else for after the ceremony. if i'm doing a first look to have time for just me and him, i want it to be just me and him the whole time.

    also our families are too traditional for a first look, but we're just not going to tell anyone! (another reason to save family pics for later!) that way it'll be an even more special time and moment for just the two of us!

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  79. I know everyone else has already said this, but I cannot begin to explain how good it was to see my hubby alone before the ceremony. I cried, he cried, we had a few really sweet moments together without the hustle and bustle. It made the rest of the day ok. In fact, at that point I was ready to go home, haha. I didn't want to stay for the reception, I just wanted to be with him, just the two of us, and "first sight" pictures set me so much at ease.

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  80. I was really set on waiting until after the ceremony to take pictures. I so imagined my fiance seeing me walk down the aisle for the first time in my dress, and that's all I ever wanted. My Maid of Honor has been trying to convince me for months to do pictures before the ceremony, which I would ALWAYS answer NO to (guess I am a little stubborn). But after reading your article, I realized that maybe I should think about having pictures taken beforehand, as I never thought about how intimate it would be if we did that instead. And I think we would enjoy our day more! Thank You!!!

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  81. I have been super stuck on not seeing each other UNTIL the ceremony since I was a little girl. I thought it was so weird when my sister & her husband saw each other before the wedding. In planning, I realized, like you pointed out, that we wouldn't be able to take lots of pictures AND not make our guests wait super long for us at the reception. In the end, I went to a wedding at my church (and watched the groom as the bride walked in) and realized that he couldn't see her until she was halfway up the aisle and she couldn't really see his face! How sad! Totally changed my mind!

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  82. These are awesome reasons, no doubt. I didn't want to see my husband before our wedding, but when the day came and I started getting ready, I was so incredibly anxious that I almost gave in. I'd wanted a picture of us holding hands around a door so we had a pre-ceremony picture of us, so my girls finished getting me ready and the photographer went and got him. All I needed was the touch of his hand and from that moment on, I was completely fine. I'm SO glad I didn't give in (and that my girls didn't let me)! Don't get me wrong, I'm not against seeing each other before the ceremony, but for us, it was the perfect choice to wait. And you'd better believe I started talking to him as soon as I walked down the aisle! :)

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  83. I have been so set on the tradition of the groom not being allowed to see the bride before the ceremony, but you have just about changed my mind! Now...we'll have to see if I can change his! Thanks for the awesome post, so glad Pinterest brought me here. :)

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  84. As a wedding photographer, I HIGHLY encourage the first look for all the above reasons!!! They are always so special and so intimate because you can be REAL and not worry about people watching, etc. It's such a beautiful moment and I'm so privileged to be a part of it watch time one of my bride and groom couples choose to do it. As a former Bride, I WISH someone would have even offered this option to me. We spent 1.5 hours shooting photos after our ceremony. I LOVE our photos, but I missed a lot of my party and that bums me out.

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  85. We did this 16 years ago and are not sorry we did it. My dad said he couldn't believe I was going to let my groom see me before the wedding. Then when the wedding was over, no one had to wait on us at the reception before they started serving the food. My dad, said that he was actually very glad that we did that. Me too! :-)

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  86. My husband and I saw each other before the wedding, and I am so glad we did. After everyone was dressed, my husband went into the sanctuary and waited alone. I then entered the sanctuary where we saw each other for the first time that day. It was so special. A few of the groomsmen stood outside the doors and guarded them so that we could have some private time. We talked, exchanged wedding gifts, and prayed together. We then took our pictures(able to go straight to reception afterwards). When I walked down the aisle, it was like it was the first time my husband was seeing me in my dress. He even cried, and he is not a crier.

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  87. My husband and I waited. I definitely see the pros to before. But, for us we wanted the magical reveal moment to be in front of everyone there and I also wore my veil down. I just liked the sweet romanticness of seeing each other for the first time as I was walkin down the aisle.

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  88. I Love the Music and Dance, and like marriage ceremonies also.
    Dance Lessons Online

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  89. I love this post!
    I'm a photographer and I've never been able to put into words such great advantages of the bride and groom seeing each other before the wedding.
    I’d like to translate this post and blog it with a link to the original, would you mind?

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    Replies
    1. Please do! Be sure to send us the link too. I'd love to see what it looks like written in another language!

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  90. I'm a totally non-traditional person in the first place, so I'm even thinking of going to the extreme of walking down the aisle with my future husband instead of my dad. I don't believe that my dad is giving me away to him anyway. Also, we have a bit of an age difference between my fiancé and me, so really it's been us against the world for most of our relationship. It just seems fitting that if we've gone through all the bullshit together, we should walk down the aisle together.

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  91. Great article….!!!Nice to know about new things I really enjoyed reading your blog. You have good views, Keep up the good informative info. Thanks for all of your time & work, wedding reception venues
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  92. Terrific article! There is nothing "traditional" about my fiance and I. We will be taking photos before the ceremony, and we'll definitely make a point to capture those precious moments when we first see each other! Thanks for "validating" our choice!

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  93. Loved this. Having gotten married 12 days ago, I couldn't agree more. I was calm all morning until the time of the "reveal" and the butterflies only came because I was so excited to see my now husband again. After getting fabulous pictures there, we took advantage of being in a beautiful setting (Park City, UT) and took pictures around town and on top of the mountain. It was fabulous having the time together and we loved people's reactions when they saw us on the chairlift. After the ceremony, we loved having a few minutes of down time to breath rather than taking professional pictures. There is nothing I would change about how we did things!

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  94. I used to think that seeing each other before the wedding was bad luck, but after reading this, I think that NOT seeing them would be bad luck! If they get to see each other, they'll probably be a WHOLE LOT less nervous and it's so exciting! I know there are so many times when I'm glad that I saw someone before a certain event and it just helped me so much.

    I was in a pageant about a week ago, and I told my boyfriend that I didn't want him to see me until I walked out on the stage.

    When I was backstage, off by myself, he walked in and hugged me.
    I wasn't nervous anymore and I was so glad that he was there to boost my confidence.

    I think that this is WAY better than waiting until the exact moment.
    My parents might disagree with me; so I'll just show them this article! (:

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  95. My husband and I are videographers. Our absolute most favorite thing is to shoot a bride and groom seeing each other for the first time. It is so special and romantic. Check out one of our videos. She gets ready.. he gets ready. And when he sees her for the first time it is magical. I still get goosbumps and I cried behind the camera as I was shooting when he saw her. Wow. Love that moment.. and it was just for them:
    http://youtu.be/4bQfCGmfFTA

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  96. My husband and I waited until the ceremony to see each other. He was so nervous about the entire thing (standing in front of friends and family, saying vows, etc) while we were planning (and we only waited 4 months between getting engaged and married) that he was afraid he would lose his composure completely if he saw me before, so we waited. It was totally worth it because he knew we were in the same boat (I was nervous too) and it actually calmed him down enough to keep me calm during the ceremony because by that point I had become more nervous than he was and he knew it. Haha

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  97. I'm a wedding and event planner and I don't think that many brides realize how they can save money by having pictures taken before the wedding. A cocktail hour can be expensive if a couple has waited to have pictures taken after the ceremony. Guests have taken a significant amount of time out of their day and if they don't know anyone else at the wedding they'll be more uncomfortable during the cocktail hour when there isn't entertainment. First glances are so much fun anyway!

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  98. My fiance and i have decided to do all pics beforehand. Including my dad and fiance seeing me for the first time (seperately). Our goal is to make the wait time as smooth as possible for the guests. Reception will even be set up around the corner already ready to go :) we just want less stress and more fun :)

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  99. I was MOH in two weddings this summer (I know, lucky me. Don't worry-- I know they'll be there for me on my big day). Bride #1 did not do a first look, Bride #2 did. I must say, Bride #2 was sooooo much more relaxed the WHOLE DAY, even before the first look as we were getting ready. Part of that is personality, but I think quite a bit of it was also due to the fact that she knew that sooner, rather than later, she'd be seeing her man. I'd always liked the romance of not seeing each other beforehand, but I think this summer changed my mind. Plus, all the things you said! :)

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  100. Stunning, of course. Great work making a beauty into a fashion star.

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  101. Hey really amazing photography with the overall effects of light and the wooden area…


    Jaipur Wedding Planners

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  103. my fiance and i have touched on this subject, and we're both pretty traditional, especially his family. but he's also said he doesn't want to keep people waiting. and knowing me, IM the one who would probably crap my pants if I have to wait a moment longer. i think i like the idea of having time BEFORE. in fact, the idea alone is a relief!

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  104. We actually made a game out of not letting us see each other before the ceremony; that was fun in itself. Our reception and wedding were in the same location, and we did our photos after the ceremony. People kept sneaking in to watch us do our photos. I didn't realize they were there, and they had fun watching us (so I've heard). Worked out well for us. Either way, I agree with what "goes" with the couple's personality.

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  105. I wish everyday we had done our pictures before the ceremony. My now mother in law did not feel the same about having pictures to celebrate our day and threw a huge fit that we were taking to long. I ended up without any pictures of just my husband and I and had to have stills made from our videographer. We have been married for almost six years and it still makes my blood boil. At the end of the day I am married to my sweet husband and that is all that really matters! Great article!

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  106. I wish everyday we had done our pictures before the ceremony. My now mother in law did not feel the same about having pictures to celebrate our day and threw a huge fit that we were taking to long. I ended up without any pictures of just my husband and I and had to have stills made from our videographer. We have been married for almost six years and it still makes my blood boil. At the end of the day I am married to my sweet husband and that is all that really matters! Great article!

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  107. The first time my husband saw me on my wedding day was walking down the aisle. I'm not too traditional of girl, but I liked this one. I was not nervous, or feel that I missed out on anything. I liked the anticipation and our family to share the reveal moment. Our wedding was very small, about 20 people total. We did pictures after and met family for lunch after we were done. We rode to lunch in the car with just the tow of us to share some time together, then left town a few hours later. (Our reception was a week later.) The main point of our wedding day was to be united as husband and wife; we wanted to get away from the obligation to entertain on that special day. This is just one way to do it.

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  108. I'm getting married in 10 days. We're getting married and having the reception in the same place. We're seeing each other before the ceremony because its more time efficient. When I told my photographer- she was stoked because she has been dying to do a "first-look" photoshoot. I was more excited after talking with her. I had never even heard of a "first-look," but I always thought that the groom seeing the bride for the first time at the altar was a moment easily lost. I'm glad that I will be able to see exactly what my fiance's expression was the first time he sees me on our wedding day.

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  109. My fiance and I are best friends and have been together for 6 years. We do everything together and spend so much time together, that I can't imagine not seeing him until 3 in the afternoon on such a big and important day! We're doing first look photos and walking down the aisle together. I think I'm more excited to see him all done up for the first time than he is to see me.

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  110. I love how unique each story is, that's what's amazing about weddings, yes? My hubby & I waited too, loved that, dreamt of that my whole life. We also lived together beforehand, and spent the night before (20 miles) apart for even more specialness! It was the hardest and most rewarding experience. What wasn't special was mom waking me up at 7am to get ready for the 1pm ceremony (her & my bridesmaids didn't know I planned on sleeping in until noonish :D ), but it was storming (late August) and she was worried that I needed to know. I looked at that storm (& mom) with my whole heart & calmly explained "Nothing can ruin my day." As I was getting ready, I got a call from my soon to be hubby, just wanted to see how I was doing and talk about "that weather"! Our ceremony was delayed by an hour, but for the outdoor ceremony & reception, from the photos, you wouldn't have known it stormed for hours before! We had a great time (2 hours worth), and not ten minutes after we left that venue, it started storming again! Our photographer was great, we had zero expectations, but before we could sneak away to have alone time and change, she was back with eight books of photos (99% candid shots) to give us something to enjoy over dinner (& for the rest of our lives). We love all those candid shots and still to this day (since 1999) wonder how she shot us that close when we we were sure we were alone! We also danced and mingled with all 150 of our guests! Conclusion - the waiting is what made it perfect for us, those photos prove it, we wish everyone could have that perfect kind of day!

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  111. Okay I just found this on Pinterest and was about to be like - SOMEONE STOLE YOUR PICTURES! Haha! Good to know you're the source. :)

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  112. Thanks for these informative wedding blog. Wedding, is the dream of every couple in the relationship. For most of us its a sign of success but its just the start of the beginning, the start of journey until both of them join into the hands of the creator. Have a happy blogging from dj laval

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  113. I agree that it really is to each their own, but I know without a doubt I will not be seeing my man for the first time until I walk down the aisle. I've dreamt of that moment forever, and I know it won't feel the same for me if he had seen me beforehand. And like I said, I think each couple has to do what feels right for them, but I have to say hearing many professionals in the industry, photographers specifically, say that they try and convince their clients to do a first look, I really don't think that is right. I get pointing out both options, but the decision really belongs to the couple and I don't think anyone should pressure their decision one way or the other. If a potential photographer I was hiring tried to swing my decision in favour of what they like better, I'd probably part ways and feel they were more concerned with what makes their job easier than what makes us as a couple happier!

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  114. I think I'm more excited to see him all done up for the first time than he is to see me. http://ukrainianmarriage.net/ My fiance and I are best friends and have been together for 6 years. We do everything together and spend so much time together, that I can't imagine not seeing him until 3 in the afternoon on such a big and important day! We're doing first look photos and walking down the aisle together.

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  116. My husband and I did a "first look" before our ceremony. We took the majority of our pictures prior to the ceremony for time because we had an evening wedding. I had always wanted to go the more traditional route, and was almost insistent we wait to see each other until the wedding and take pictures afterward. a few months before our wedding, my best friend got married. They did a private first look with just her, her husband, and the photographer. I decided I would be okay with it as long as it got to be a private moment. My husband and I wrote our own vows and said them to each other at that time in our own privacy with just our photographer to capture the most special moment of our day! We said the traditional vows as part of the wedding ceremony. I wouldn't trade how we did that for anything!! Best compromise I could have made. :)

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  117. when i did my wedding a couple of months ago, we did our together pics after the wedding. we did my bridesmaids and i together, my parents and i together...then his groomsmen and him together....before the wedding, and had a couple of pics where we were on either side of a wall holding hands and praying. that gave us a little bit of talk time but kept us from seeing each other. that seemed to work out really well. i enjoyed the experience and it did not take as long after the wedding since we just needed the pics of us together.

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  118. We saw each other before the ceremony and that was in 1983! We'll celebrate 30 years together in September of this year! So, the "bad luck" argument didn't apply to us :)

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  119. Wow!I really loved reading your blog. It was very well written and simple to understand. Unlike additional blogs I have read. Austin Wedding

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  120. My husband and I went the traditional route, and my photographer captured the tears in his eyes when he saw me for the first time, walking down the aisle arm in arm with my father. A very, very special moment.
    Couple reasons I'm glad we did it that way: 1. it is SUPER romantic. 2. i love my dad very much, and it was awesome to have a special moment together before walking down, where he, as the previously primary male figure in my life, saw me first in my wedding dress, before truly giving me away to Josh. very symbolic and meaningful. And 3, because we chose to do our pics after the wedding and after the reception, we both felt relaxed and not rushed. We had all the time we wanted, because nothing was left on our to-do list, and our pictures definitley reflected the day's joys.

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  121. I totally agree. And first look photos are just so sweet and so special!


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  122. Could not be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!....San Antonio Wedding Photographer

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  123. this is a great article, and I see no issues in seeing one another before the ceremony. I think I agree with it more for the nerves and the alone time. However, I do disagree with doing pictures beforehand. As I said in a reply earlier, wedding pictures typically indicate a couple is now married. I like the picture a I've seen of couple who are "sneaking"a visit or praying together before the ceremony, but I feel the rest should be taken after. You can still get some alone time
    Then, too, if you plan it all right. I have friends who got married, did pictures and then went to get In N Out before heading to the reception. I think its all in the planning. You can have an earlier wedding and still have enough time to do phofos and alone time before an evening reception.

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  124. This is an awesome post! It's become more and more normal in America to do this, but in Colombia, where I live and work as a wedding photographer this rarely happens, and worst of all, we don't have seasons so our days are so much shorter than America's (at least in the summer) and a lot of times we wind up shooting the couple's pictures in the dark because the priest decided to share a couple of anecdotes during a two hour ceremony!!
    Thank you so much for putting it into words!!! sharing right now!
    V

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  125. Love this post. And I think it's funny, because here in Holland we have different traditions on The Big Day. For example: The bride sleeps at her parents house the night before the wedding. The groom at his parents of in your own home. At the day of the wedding the groom shows up at the bride's parents house with the wedding bouquet, to 'pick up' his bride. And so that is the place where the bride and groom have their own special moment, where they first see eachother. I think it's romantic and so good, for all the reasons you descriped.

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  126. Thanks for the article. I ask couples if they know where the tradition of waiting till the ceremony to see each other comes from, and they have no idea. In some cultures with arranged marriages, the bride and groom have no idea who the other is until they are married and at that time the groom can lift his new wifes veil. Because the newly married couple has know each other for quite a while, more couples aught to have their first time together as the writer suggests.

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  129. these are really adorable photos! I agree, couple should spend time alone on their wedding day, after fall it's a celebration of their union!

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  130. Our photographer urged us to do pre-ceremony pictures and we came to the agreement to keep it traditional. For us, there would be nothing gained for doing pre-ceremony pictures besides a few extra artsy photographs and the potential loss of the "aisle experience" that everyone insisted we wouldn't lose or miss.

    We knew we would because what we wanted from the ceremony and aisle time was that initial "FINALLY I GET TO SEE YOU! YOU LOOK AWESOME!" Our wedding was small so the family and friends that were there we were happy to share the first look moment with. It was more about the family and us together as a whole than the "bride and groom"

    We utilized cocktail hour as our alone time.

    We made the best choice for us and our families :-)

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