While first looks are becoming more popular, whether it’s because couples are bucking tradition or trying to streamline their photography timelines, the tradition of not seeing your fiancé before you walk down the aisle is still holding strong. But where does that tradition come from? We asked our experts to do a little digging into why the bride and groom don’t usually see one another before the wedding.
Call it bad luck or superstition, not seeing one another before the ceremony can also make that first moment as you walk down the aisle even more special. But the tradition has less-than-romantic origins. Arranged marriages used to be the norm, serving more as a business deal between families than a love match. In fact, the couple didn’t just spend the morning of the wedding apart: There was a time when it was totally normal (and even expected) for the couple to have never seen one another before the wedding at all!
The deal was usually made by the bride’s father, who wanted his daughter to marry rich to help his own family. However, he might worry that if the groom saw the bride before the ceremony, he might not find her attractive and could call off the wedding—leading to serious shame for the bride and her family. Talk about bad luck! So to avoid risking the family’s reputation, the tradition that the couple didn’t see each other until the ceremony was born.
The veil comes into play here, too. By having a veil over the bride’s face, the groom wouldn’t see her until the very last moment (at the end of the ceremony!) when it was too late to back out. The superstition about a bride and groom seeing one another before the ceremony has evolved into the (much more romantic) idea that the groom shouldn’t see the bride in her dress until she walks down the aisle—after a whirlwind romance and a sweet proposal, of course!