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 8 things wedding guests secretly want at weddings
The 8 things wedding guests secretly want at weddings
1. Demystify the Dress Code
Attire wording on invitations has become an art unto itself, points out wedding planner Amy Shey Jacobs, President of Chandelier Events. "Festive Chic. Dress to the Nines. Beach Elegance. Dress to impress. But gone are the days of the simple, straightforward Black Tie." She recommends going with Formal, Semiformal, Cocktail Attire, etc. or be prepared for questions when invites arrive. Still love the new creative touch? "Consider a What to Wear insert card or page on your wedding website!"
2. Do Away with Assigned Seats
Most wedding guests really wish the bride and groom wouldn't assign specific seats at the dinner table during the wedding reception, notes wedding planner Sandy Malone, owner of Weddings in Vieques. "It's enough to be assigned to sit at a specific table, but they definitely do not like being told where at the table to sit, especially if they're not close with the other guests seated there or if the seating plan separates them from their own spouse or date."
3. Stop Playing Matchmaker
One thing your single guests really wish you wouldn't do? Try to set them up with your cousin/frat brother/sorority sister (you get the point here) by seating them at the same table next to each other, says Laura Ritchie of Grit & Grace Inc. "Instead organically introduce them at cocktail hour and let nature takes its course. No one wants to be stuck next to someone they are supposed to 'love' only to find out its a total mismatch."
4. Invest in the Booze Instead of All the Other "Extras"
According to Ritchie, guests secretly wish you'd get rid of the favors and sparkler exit and splurge on having liquor, beer and wine at the reception. "No one leaves a wedding yearning for that last piece of gold wrapped chocolate when instead that money could have been used to upgrade the bar." Amen!
5. Don't Interrupt the Party for the Cake Cutting
We know it's important to you, however, to your guests? Not so much. They secretly don't care about stopping the party to watch you do the cake cutting, reveals Ritchie. Make everyone happy and make this a private event during dinner with your parents (and perhaps bridal party) standing around. "Grab the quintessential picture and then be done with it. The caterer will have more time to slice and serve cake later, and you won't be interrupting that killer dance party down the road."
6. Serve Scrumptious Late Night Snacks
Think crowd pleasers! For example, in Southern California, the In-N-Out Burger Cookout Trailer is where it's at, tells planner Brooke Keegan of Brooke Keegan Special Events. "You can never go wrong with a crowd favorite!" And your tipsy guests will totally thank you.
7. Help Them Get There Easy
In terms of invites, guests super appreciate having all of the wedding details and any directions or maps included with the invitation, says invitation designer Danielle Behar. "This allows for your guests to arrive on time and in a good mood and what bride wants frustrated guests arriving on your dream day? Having a wedding website where guests can go to check any last minute updates is a simple but key touch." And if you can afford it, transportation to and from the wedding will always win over your crowd.
8. Make the Dinner Reception Feel More Like a Party
And not a snooze fest! This can be done in a variety of ways, says Anthony Navarro, founder of Liven It Up Events. "First, have the bar only closed for a short time. Normally, if you're switching rooms from cocktail hour to dinner and dancing, the bar can close during this transition, but otherwise, should be open throughout the evening."
Second, have the band playing as your friends and family enter the room. "They can take their seats or make their way to the dance floor." Limit the number of speeches throughout dinner and keep them short and sweet, he suggests. "As opposed to offering a plated meal, set up food stations throughout your reception area but still have a seat, assigned or not." This enables interaction and mingling and creates that coveted party atmosphere.
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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!
What your wedding zodiac sign says about your marriage
What your wedding zodiac sign says about your marriage
Your Wedding Date: March 21 - April 19
Aries is a very adventurous, bold, and independent sign. If you tie the knot during this time you'll thrive as individuals and not risk losing site of yourselves in the relationship. Your marriage will be filled with lots of spontaneity, too. Think last minute getaways, exciting dinner dates, and unexpected romantic surprises. But be careful not to get too competitive with each other, as Aries couples tend to do.
Your Wedding Date: April 20 - May 20
Taurus is an extremely sensual, decadent sign. You and your hubby enjoy the finer things in life, and you're definitely not afraid to indulge your taste for luxury. Good news: You're destined to have a very grounded marriage. Because both of you can get stuck and set in your ways though, it's important to mix things up more and try new stuff — in the bedroom and out of it.
Your Wedding Date: May 21 - June 20
For Gemini couples, communication is key. You'll have a really talkative marriage, and there will be a constant dialogue going on between you and your other half. Since you crave variety, keep things interesting by taking part in new activities together. Sign up for an exotic cooking class, learn how to surf this summer, or even go skydiving if you're up for it. Don't get scattered in too many directions however. You need to remember to prioritize your time together.
Your Wedding Date: June 21 - July 22
Home is where the heart is for Cancers. You really like to pamper your husband (and vice versa). Cooking together is another shared interest. And don't be surprised if you have a lot of cutesy nicknames for each other. The danger Cancers face is getting a little too wrapped up as a couple and becoming homebodies. Make sure to get out, be interactive, and stay connected to friends and family.
Your Wedding Date: July 23 - August 22
Leo couples are likely to have a very dramatic, theatrical, and passionate marriage. You both have strong opinions and you're certainly not shy about sharing them. While it's nice that there's a lot of romance and passion, you do have a habit of getting too dramatic sometimes. This could result in a power struggle, so be careful not to boss each other around.
Your Wedding Date: August 23 - September 22
Virgo is an extremely organized, refined, and healthy sign. You and your husband pay attention to the little things and you're all about the details. He's your cheerleader and you're his, which is why helping each other out comes so naturally. Though you may get stuck focusing on your problems and lose site of the bigger picture since you can be a bit nitpicky.
Your Wedding Date: September 23 - October 22
Libra is the sign that rules marriage. This is probably why October is one of the biggest wedding months. Libra marriages are, not surprisingly, very much about balance and give and take from both partners. The relationship is a real priority to you and your man. However, the danger lies in losing your individuality. Remember to break out of the couple bubble and do things on your own too.
Your Wedding Date: October 23 - November 21
Scorpio is an extremely sexy and intense sign. There's bound to be a ton of intimacy and passion in your marriage, and you should have no problem keeping the romance alive over the years. Scorpio is also a sign of power and control though, so jealousy issues can crop up down the line. Be careful and make sure that if you're feeling hurt you talk about it. You don't want to let a power struggle ruin your marriage.
Your Wedding Date: November 22 - December 21
The Sagittarius couple is very outgoing, adventurous, and worldly. There will most likely be a lot of travel in your future. You're constantly learning and taking classes together, and you're both incredibly open-minded as well. Nevertheless, you tend to take too many risks sometimes, particularly financially. Try not to live so much on the edge and hold down the fort at home.
Your Wedding Date: December 22 - January 19
Capricorn is the sign of tradition, which is why this winter wedding typically happens around Christmastime or the New Year. You and your hubby are all about legacy and honoring your heritage. You love celebrating the holidays and carrying on traditions from your childhood. One thing you both need to work on though is learning to enjoy the present instead of always planning for your future.
Your Wedding Date: January 20 - February 18
The Aquarius marriage can best be described as unconventional, quirky, and modern. You're each other's best friend, but you're also a very social couple that hosts a ton of parties. You enjoy going out and being amongst a big crowd. To keep your marriage strong, it's important to make sure you set aside enough one-on-one time together.
Your Wedding Date: February 19 - March 20
Pisces is the sign of fantasy, imagination, romance, and creativity. You and your hubby are no doubt an incredibly dreamy match. Expect vow renewals and anniversary getaways in your future. Beware of getting too much out of touch with reality, however. You don't want to let your emotions take over to the point where you aren't grounded as a couple and begin to overspend to accommodate your creative endeavors.