Even in the modern age, people are still very superstitious when it comes to weddings. One of the longest-standing superstitions is seeing the bride before the ceremony. Traditionally, the groom wouldn’t see the bride until she walked down the aisle. But how did this tradition develop and what does it look like today? Our wedding photographers break it down for you.
The practice of not seeing the bride before the ceremony comes from the pre-18th century when arranged marriages were common. It was deemed “unlucky” for the bride and groom to see each other beforehand, but it was just an attempt to keep the groom from backing out in case he found the bride unappealing.
This is also why bridal veils became a staple in weddings! The veil was meant to shield the bride’s appearance until the vows were read and the groom couldn’t back out.
Unlike a lot of other wedding traditions, this one doesn’t have much of a positive meaning. The whole ritual was meant to potentially conceal unappealing brides and keep grooms from bolting at the alter (or before). However, it’s important to remember that weddings were historically transactional, and only in modern times have they become about love and affection.
Even though this tradition has unsavory roots, it’s still extremely common today. In modern times, this ritual is limited to the night before and the day of, leading up to the ceremony. However, instead of it being about not seeing the bride in case they’re unappealing, it’s more about having that “wow” moment of the groom seeing the bride in her full wedding attire.
For many couples, they don’t want to wait until the actual ceremony. Instead, they want a more intimate setting to enjoy each other’s company on their big day. This led to the tradition of a “first look.” First-look photography is some of our favorites at AGI Studio. We adore seeing the love and happiness on the groom’s face when he sees his bride all decked out.
Today, a first look takes place before the ceremony. It’s usually in a more secluded spot, and a photographer will be there to capture the moment. Some brides also opt for first looks for their fathers, parents, or bridal party.
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