I’ve seen a lot of blog posts about the first see moment, some encouraging it, some discouraging it, so of course I wanted to put my two cents in. For those of you not familiar with the ‘first see’ moment, it’s a new(ish) trend (started to really pick up speed about 5 years ago) where the soon to be wed couple see each other prior to the wedding. It is a set up moment, coordinated by the photographer (and planner if they are using one) so that the first time they see each other it is all captured on film, and they then move on to taking photos together, along with photos of their family, friends and party. Some people love this trend, some people loathe it. So here is my honest (and hopefully objective) opinion on it.
Traditionally, the bride and groom are not supposed to see each other prior to the wedding. It’s considered ‘bad luck’, though this tradition started in the time of arranged marriages, when parents feared if they saw each other prior they would change their minds. Since that’s not the case for most couples today, the tradition has morphed into a bride not wanting a groom to see her prior to vows because it ruins his surprise of seeing her in her gown, making her way up the aisle to become his wife. And that is the dilemma in couples deciding if they are going to do a first see or not. So, here are some pros and cons of the first see:
It is going to give you time with your soon to be spouse, to take in each other, what is about to happen, and to express all the emotion you are feeling now that you have made it to your wedding day. Couples who have done the first see moment often say this was the moment that it finally felt real. They have also said that once aisle time actually came, they were much less nervous and able to really take in the ceremony.
It gives you time to take photos together as well as with family and party. Getting those photos taken now leaves you time to be a part of your cocktail hour and reception!
Having this moment guarantees that everybody will be ready once aisle time comes. Yes, this is a biased opinion of mine as a previous planner. But, when a first see moment was happening, I always knew that the bride, groom and bridal party were going to definitely be ready by go time, because they had to be ready for photos prior. I always worked in enough time for the couple and bridal party to be back in hiding before any guests arrived, which also meant time for touch ups (and coffee/water, should anybody have been having a bit too much champagne during the getting ready process).
If you have had in your mind that you want to do the traditional way, and not see your soon to be spouse before aisle time, this can feel like a disappointment for you.
Your first see and pre-ceremony photos will not have the wedding rings in them. Some couples feel that they want all of their photos together on their wedding day to be as a married couple. If this is the case for you, a first see moment may not be right for you.
It may require you to be up and ready a bit earlier than you would expect, as being ready and gathering your family and party together to get other photos done as well will mean adjusting your wedding day timeline.
So, there are just a few things to consider. And, if you will indulge me, I will give you my personal opinion. I was a traditionalist when I got married, and did not want to see my soon to be husband before aisle time. This is how my mind had always pictured my wedding day, and I did not want to falter from it (it was also prior to the first see moment really coming in, so not a lot of photographers encouraged it, or knew how to do it well). So, I did not see my husband before the wedding. I can still remember how he looked when he first saw me; emotional, choked up, to the point where he looked down for a moment, which he later told me was due to wanting to ‘lose it’ front of all of our guests. This moment was caught in only one photo, as our ceremony layout was awkward and on the walk down the aisle, my parents and I pretty much blocked him from photos. Once I made it to him I wanted to tell hug him, tell him how excited I was that this moment was finally happening…but I couldn’t, because the ceremony started. It was a wonderful moment, but I can tell everybody now that if I had it to do over again, I would do a first see. I would have that 20 minutes with my husband to become emotional, cry, laugh, and have it all captured on film (and then clean myself up). And yes, the traditionalist in me would probably creep in a bit too, and I would change something before aisle time (add a veil or a piece of jewelry to add an element of surprise, or maybe have kept my gown bustled for pre-ceremony photos and then sweep it down for aisle time…something to make it feel a bit new).
Whatever you choose, remember to enjoy it! This is your WEDDING DAY! Take in every minute!