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.
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.”
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.
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:
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