To See or Not to See? That is the Question - Wedding Compass

Should we see each other before the wedding?

To see, or not to see each other before the wedding.
Many couples ask each other if they want to see each other in advance…I am not sure that is the real question but let’s see if we can unpack it.  I know photographers talk about that “first look” photo and how magical it can be.  There is something to be said for that, but there is also the performance anxiety which also attends the expectation.

Photo Sequence
Sequence captures the couple seeing each other for the first time BEFORE the ceremony.
Photos provided by: Epic Images


Video Produced by: Boffo Video

Production note from the video producer, Boffo Video Productions:
“We always encourage our couples to do a first look before the ceremony starts because not only do we get more time for romantics, they also get to see each other in private. It’s the best way to calm the nerves and gives the bride time for retouching.”


The groom can be worried about what his emotional reaction may be. The bride can harbor the same feelings and is often rushed and pressured to get ready in time to catch that “perfect light or moment” so that they may achieve that “frozen moment in time.”  When successful,  it is absolutely lovely, but note that it may add a level of stress to an already emotional day.”

See each other first time-blindfold-emotion picture studio -

Images by:

Video Produced by:
The Emotion Picture Studio

Video Produced by:
The Emotion Picture Studio

Real Weddings, Cindy & Steve,
Real Weddings Project
Cindy & Steve, San Juan Capistrano – Barnet Photography


On the flip side, it has been reported many times that it took the edge off the nervousness associated with seeing each other at the ceremony for the first time. Without a doubt, from a photographer and videographer perspective it creates a moment to canvas forever.

Real Wedding - Frank Salas - Chad and Kim -

Real Wedding - Frank Salas - Chad and Kim -

In Judaism the bride and groom are traditionally supposed to see each other prior to the ceremony.  It goes back to Jacob thinking he was marrying Rachel but instead her sister was substituted in the dark of night.  And yes, one can also have the “reveal” photo taken then so you can see the bride before the ceremony but not see her before that moment.

To me there is another question.  Why do you not want to see each other until “the moment?”  Let’s be honest, the majority of couples today either live together prior to marriage or have an intimate relationship just short of living together.  Have you not seen each other cleaned up before?  Will that be a surprise to see him clean shaven and with a tie or her with her hair fluffed out and makeup on?


Photo sequence courtesy:
Hulse Photography


@psphotomedia - Serendipity Gardens -

Real Weddings Project
Amie & Jonathan – PS PHOTO MEDIA – Serendipity Gardens

I suggest to my couples something different. I suggest that if you live together, that one of you moves out the week before. If you don’t live together, I suggest you don’t “date” the week before. For the man: don’t shave for a week and just before you go down the aisle, then shave.

An idea: spend the night before alone; take a long bath with candles aglow and perhaps a glass of wine, if you drink.  These are little tricks to make you feel different somehow.  So that when you get to the ceremony, it actually feels new!  Fresh!  And so when you see each other – then you won’t have to supply a reaction of the “first time.”  It will actually feel that way.


Special thanks to Rabbi Arthur Rosenberg

Learn more about the author: Rabbi Arthur Rosenberg
Images provided by: Photos provided by: Epic Images
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