seeing each other before the wedding ceremony :: part five/finale

This is the finale of  the discussion whether or not you should see each other before your wedding. We’ve talked about where the tradition comes from, how you can create a special moment and/or meeting for you two, the emotional benefits and now we’ll cover why it can help logistically.

it’s all about timing

When planning your timeline for your wedding day you will be shocked at how fast the day can go by. There is hardly enough time to get everything done! Including your wedding photos. No matter how good your wedding photographer is, it is physically impossible to get 40 formal shots of you and your extended family in 30 minutes after the wedding. Getting the majority of photos done before your wedding will free up so much time for you and your wedding party.


  1. Actually being able to go to the limo after your ceremony for a true Send Off to the reception.
  2. Having more time to spend together with your wedding party between the ceremony and reception. These are the memories that you will remember and hold on to forever!!!
  3. Not keeping your guests waiting so long for your arrival. That can lower consumption of food and bar!
  4. In case of bad weather you have opened yourself up to having two possible choices for outdoor pictures!
  5. Depending on the timing of your day, you may be allowing yourself enough time to go to a second location (something fun) between the ceremony and reception to get some cool shots!
  6. Not feeling rushed, rushed, rushed!!!

confession time

When I got married, we did not see each other before the wedding, which was quite silly really. Our ceremony was outside on a beautiful golf course and our reception only a few feet away. We went with the tradition although I was totally peeking to get a glimpse of him. We had our guests wait while we finished up pictures after the ceremony. They all stayed outside and watched us, which made me feel uncomfortable because as the consummate hostess, I felt bad they had to wait. We also started losing some natural sunlight. If I had to do it over again, I would have met my husband and taken time to walk around the beautiful golf course to capture some awesome photo moments. Instead, I felt rushed and awkward after. You can see it on my face.

bottom line

It’s your decision which direction you want to go. Just whichever you choose, decide NOT to be rigid. Enjoy your day and embrace it. If your finance catches a glimpse of you rounding the corner, everything is going to be o-k-a-y. I had a client once ask me if we could hold up a sheet as she walked into the ceremony location so he wouldn’t see her until she turned the corner to walk down the aisle. Huh? Then I had another client who ran out to see her groom (she was in her wedding dress) to greet him when he arrived before the ceremony. It was spontaneous, lively, and full of love. Just what your wedding should be like. For pete’s sake people, plan your wedding….but LIVE on your wedding day!

Read part four of this series…

6 thoughts on “seeing each other before the wedding ceremony :: part five/finale”

  1. We decided to see each other before our wedding to do photos together and with our families… it was a great decision for us. We felt so many emotions at our “first meeting” and again during the walk down the aisle. We had plenty of time to get the photos we wanted and actually that time together taking the photos became a special time for us to just soak in the day together. And after the wedding our families could start celebrating instead of hanging around for photos.

  2. Great blog and so so true! If I had to do it over with no time constraints I still would have decided to see Dan before the wedding. Brides: take this advice seriously!! It allows you to have a special moment with just you and your husband to be, you get to relax, and have fun after the ceremony!!

  3. Awesome advice Saundra! Every couple that I have photographed that has decided to see each other before were so excited to have that special time together that we reserve during the photo session. They have told me that the weights were lifted and they enjoyed those few moments together.

    One of the most memorable couples that I photographed in 2004 was JJ and Katie (remember? you were the planner). Anyway they saw each other before and we finished up all the groups and quite a few nice photos of the couple and JJ STILL cried when Katie came down the aisle. After the wedding, when you (Saundra) told me “OK, you guys have an hour before you have to arrive at the reception” I was ecstatic! We ran around downtown Evansville and did an amazing photo session with JJ and Katie and they both told me numerous times how much fun it was and how happy they were to be getting more photos together.

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