Even if you’re not a consummate wedding go-er, it’s almost assured that you’ve spent at least one wedding twiddling your thumbs post-ceremony, wondering what you’re supposed to do with yourself now while you wait anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours til the reception – especially if you’ve come from out of town, are by yourself, or don’t know anyone and your rumbling tummy isn’t exactly encouraging you to mingle. “What’s the hold up?!” is the question you’re too polite to yell at the retreating backs of your newlywed cousin you barely know. Why couldn’t you have had your photographer click away to his heart’s content before your guests arrived? After all, it does seem a little poor in taste to leave your guests to entertain themselves at your own party.
But that’s only if you haven’t been paying attention.
Ah, I can see the wheels turning in your brain… what would prohibit a bride and groom taking photos prior to the ceremony…? Oh! The groom would see the bride! BAD LUCK!!
Or so the superstition holds.
This superstition dates from medieval times from when arranged marriages were the majority and the bride and groom wed each other sight-unseen. The theory was that if the groom saw the bride, he might have second thoughts and bolt before the ceremony! Hence, the bad luck! (Interestingly enough, this is also where the tradition of the Best Man began; if the groom backed out, the Best Man would take his place!)
This is also why the veil was adopted, and until culture started dropping the veil, couples were actually encouraged to see (veil down, of course) each other prior to the wedding, and to actually spend the morning walking together before the ceremony.
Nowadays, couples with a taste for romance tend to hold to this tradition for sake of that “first-look” moment — when the bride can savor that look of awe on her about-to-be-hubby’s face when he sees her in all her glory for the first time.
Others (those who have difficulty waiting) decide to heck with it! and spend the time leading up to their ceremony with their intended; after all, they’ll be so busy running around the rest of the day, might as well actually spend some time with the person they intend to spend the rest of their liveswith! Also, it gives them that moment to soak it in a little, slow it down, and say “I love you” in a more private moment than the big “I Do”.
Some want that “wow” moment to be as intimate as possible and want to get on with the celebration without the two hour downtime — these couples do a mini revealing or first look ceremony. Morning of, all dolled up, just the groom waiting for the bride — a “just for us” moment.
Some couples today decide they want it both ways — romantic and impatient — and get around the No-See rule by meeting with something separating them — anything from a door, to a curtain so they can hold hands and exchange gifts, to writing each other notes and having their attendants deliver them between suites.
Some just take a time-out from preparation and call each other — though for the more superstitious who believe they shouldn’t even speak prior to the ceremony, phone time has also been done via maid of honor and best man, with the bride and groom telling them what they want to say to each other and relaying it.
In the end, it comes down, as all things wedding, to you and your personal preference, especially since we can safely assume that at this point, your groom hasn’t run away from your face in terror. Whether you make it a public moment to be caught on camera and cherished as a reminder for rougher days, or as a private moment with your memory acting as the shutter, you and your beloved have made your own luck thus far. After that moment, you will continue to forgo it together. Whatever you decide, rest assured that you will take his breath away.