Breaking Wedding Tradition: First Look and Early Reveal

Posted by Whitney Hoare on 27.11.2017

The wedding ‘rule’ that many couples are re-writing, the groom can’t see the bride before the wedding.

Early reveal bride covers grooms eyes

Photography by Insight Creative

This tradition is a major point of contention for many couples. Couples that don’t even consider themselves “traditional” usually still have strong opinions on this topic. For many, they see it as incredibly romantic and when they picture their wedding day this is often the exact moment they imagine. It’s a moment that is full of anticipation and excitement.  But where did this idea come from and why are many couples breaking the cardinal rule of getting married?

Where did the tradition come from?

Many moons ago, weddings weren’t about the love shared between two people, they were essentially business deals. The marriage was pre-arranged by the families of the bride and groom. It was thought that if the groom was to see or meet his betrothed before the wedding, he might be unhappy and might attempt to back out of the ceremony.  This resulted in a tradition where the groom would see her for the first time at the ceremony, with her veil lifted at the last possible moment to prevent any second thoughts or escape plans.

How couples are breaking wedding tradition today.

Meanwhile in the present day, this deeply rooted tradition is being thrown by the wayside. It is becoming increasingly popular for the bride and groom to see each other before the wedding ceremony, and here’s why.

Many couples are opting for what’s known as an ‘early reveal’ or 'first look'.  This is a private moment between the bride and the groom (and a well-placed photographer) to capture the moment the groom sees his bride for the first time.  It’s a time where you can embrace privately without anyone else sharing in the moment (except the photographer).  Why would couples choose this over tradition?

Early Reveal Bride and Groom see each other for the first timeGroom admires bride on wedding day

Photography by Insight Creative

Well for a few reasons, this allows the couple the opportunity to spend more of their wedding day together. They can take their time having location photos without having to miss a minute of their reception.  The wedding ceremony can flow directly into the reception without creating any lulls and the best part is they can be there for all of it if they choose.  It also sets a bit more of a relaxed tone for the day because there is less pressure to squeeze everything into a set time frame. You literally can have your cake and have time to eat it too. 

Groom sees bride at first lookBride and Groom see each other for the first time

Photography by SB Creative Co.

We once planned a wedding for a couple who wanted to enjoy every moment of their wedding day together.  They had their early reveal and location photos during the day and were able to enjoy a catered lunch with their bridal party before the wedding. Afterwards, the bride and groom separated for a short time to refresh for the ceremony.  The ceremony was exactly the same as any other, a beautiful bride walked down the aisle to a man she loved and wanted to spend her life with. Both still felt the anticipation of this climatic moment because they were about to commit their lives to one another. That’s a big moment for anyone, even if you have already seen your significant other that day.

Bride smiling Bride and Groom embrace during early reveal
Groom smiling looking towards his bride






Photography by Sweet Mary Photography

The early reveal is not for everyone but, it does allow you a lot of flexibility on your wedding day.  The moment is still special when you see each other for the first time, it’s just a bit different.  If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy the lime light this can be a really lovely way to capture a genuine reaction and remove a few of the nerves around that big moment.

Have you been married recently, did you break with tradition or are you a traditionalist and holding strong?  We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences about early reveals to help other brides planning their big day.

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Topics: Weddings, Wedding Planning, Wedding Traditions, Wedding Advice, Early Reveal