The Great Debate Continues: First Look or Not

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According to tradition, it is considered bad luck for the bride to be seen by the groom before the ceremony.  In days when marriages were arranged they rarely saw one another as “dating” was not a custom.

The lifting of the veil at the end of the ceremony symbolizes male dominance.  If the bride takes the initiative in lifting it, thereby presenting herself to him, she is showing more independence. 

In some Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, the veil was worn to hide the brides face completely from the groom who had never seen her. Only after they were married would the groom be allowed the lift the veil to see his new wife’s face.”

In the earliest times, some brides were even kidnapped — barely one step removed from the caveman bonking his chosen fiance over the head with a club. Marriage by purchase was quite common, where the bride was exchanged for land, political alliance, social status and/or currency. These negotiations were carried out by the parents of the bride and groom, with the “happy couple” having no say in the matter whatsoever. Indeed, the Anglo-Saxon word “wedd” meant the groom would vow to marry the woman – and that the bartered goods and/or currency would go directly to the bride’s father. Often the groom’s family informed him that he was to marry…but very rarely let him see the bride. After all, if the groom didn’t like the bride’s looks, he might not agree to the marriage. With this in mind, the father of the bride gave the bride away to the groom who then lifted the veil to see his wife of all eternity for the first time. 

In short, the wedding was little more than the purchase of a bride for breeding purposes. Not a particularly liberated point of view, but this tradition, like many other quirky wedding customs, is remembered and still symbolized today.

My personal opinion: I love the idea of the “First Look” it lends the opportunity for the bride and groom to share a few moments of intimate time prior to the start of the event.  Once the event begins until they are walking to the limo at the end of the night, there is NO ALONE time…Cameras flashing, Guests hugging and Toast after Toast after Toast (giggles) I recommend “The First Look” to my clients but ultimately leave the decision to them.  I feel it is my obligation to provide each couple with both the Pros & Cons of having the first look and then stepping back to leave the decision up to them

Z. Curlett Events

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