Traditionally the bride and groom don’t see each other before the ceremony. (I have heard that this came from the days of arranged marriages so the groom would not run away if he did not like how the bride looked.) This tradition is important to some people and if it is important to you than I would never tell you not to follow it.
However, there are several advantages to choosing to see each other before the ceremony. Doing a First Look will make everything run smoother from your family formal photos to your cocktail hour and the photos of you and your fiance. If you decide to go ahead and see each other before the ceremony it gives you a moment together to relax and enjoy one of the most important days of your life with the man of your dreams. It gives us time to get great photos of the two of you together in the best spot, best light, alone together, relaxed and focused only on each other without any of the distractions during the ceremony. I want to make sure to capture the best portraits I can of both of you!
I’ve had couples tell me that they were able relax and enjoy the ceremony more because they are not as nervous and that in no way did it make the walk down the aisle any less special or emotional.
If you decide to do a first look you might want to do the family formals before the ceremony as well. That way everyone will be there on time with fresh hair and makeup. Also, after your ceremony you can go straight to your cocktail hour. For many couples they have family members fly in that they rarely get to see and every extra minute with them is precious. Who would want to miss that?
You do not have to see each other before the ceremony, but out of experience I would recommended it. My number one concern is making you happy and giving you beautiful memories. Remember that the only rule for your wedding day is to do what makes you happy.
See some first looks below.