Is It Bad Luck to See Each Other Before the Wedding? Here's the History

Do a first look or wait until the ceremony? The choice is yours.
Sarah Title - Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert.
Sarah Title
Sarah Title - Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert.
Sarah Title
Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert
  • Sarah writes a variety of content for The Knot and WeddingWire, including bridal fashion advice and product recommendations.
  • Sarah’s work has also been featured in Brides, Nicki Swift, Betches and Style Me Pretty.
  • Sarah lives in Alexandria, VA with her (new) husband and golden retriever named Brady.
Updated Apr 15, 2024

When it comes to wedding traditions, there are countless ones to incorporate into your wedding day, like having something old, new, borrowed and blue, or picking a specific wedding date. One of the most classic ones is not seeing your partner before the wedding because people believe it to be superstitious. Wondering if you should adhere to this tradition at your wedding? Keep reading to find out how this tradition came to be and some alternatives whether you want to uphold the tradition or abandon it.

After you find your wedding planner and photographer on The Knot Vendor Marketplace, ask them for their opinion and get some helpful insight about the tradition.

In this article:

Can To-Be-Weds See Each Other Before the Wedding?

To-be-weds can absolutely see each other before the wedding if it's what they want. While tradition might say otherwise, seeing your significant other before the ceremony may help ease some of the pre-wedding jitters. However, if you want to keep things under wraps until the walk down the aisle, then stick to tradition. When it comes to other parts of the wedding attire, again, it depends on your personal preference. You might want to keep your main outfit a secret but if you have an outfit change planned for the reception or a really cute pair of shoes, you could show that to your partner without giving away the main event. Bottom line: do what works for you and your significant other. There are no hard and fast rules.

Why Can't To-Be-Weds See Each Other Before the Wedding?

Tradition states that it is bad luck to see each other before the wedding ceremony—but many consider that pretty outdated thinking. Many couples today may choose not to see each other before their walk down the aisle for other reasons aside from superstition. Whether it's the surprise element or wanting to spend ample time with your wedding party beforehand, not seeing each other is a personal choice.

History of To-Be-Weds Not Seeing Each Other Before the Wedding

While not seeing each other before the wedding ceremony can be a romantic notion, its origins aren't so sweet. It dates all the way back to when marriages were arranged. People believed that if the groom saw the bride before the vows, there was a chance he would back out if he found her unattractive. Marriages were seen as business deals between the parents of the bride and groom so pulling out at the last minute could do damage to the family's reputation. This tradition was created so that the groom couldn't back out before the ceremony. The veil also has not-so-romantic origins that play into this tradition. The bride kept her face covered for her walk down the aisle and didn't reveal herself until right before vows were exchanged. All of this was to guarantee the groom would go through with the marriage.

Can Couples Get Ready Together on the Wedding Day?

Deciding what you want to do on the morning of the wedding is a completely personal decision that only you and your significant other can make. If you feel like getting ready together is something you want to do, then there's no reason not to do it. In fact, many couples are choosing to do this as a more personal and special moment. You might even consider bringing your photographer along to capture the pre-wedding prep. You don't have to sacrifice time with your wedding party and family to work this into your wedding timeline. Think about having breakfast and taking photos with the other important people that are part of your special day before meeting up with your partner to get ready.

Alternatives to Seeing Each Other Before the Wedding

So, you've decided you don't want to physically see your partner before the wedding ceremony, but that doesn't mean you can't interact with them at all on the morning of the wedding. Below are some alternatives to seeing each other on the big day if you still want to connect with your significant other before you exchange vows.

1. Take Photos Back to Back

This might take a little bit of coordination and help from wedding party members and your photographer, but the result will make it all worth it. Pick a time and a place to meet before the wedding ceremony and position yourselves back-to-back. You'll be able to talk, calm each other's nerves and get excited for the big moment—without even seeing one another.

2. Put on a Blindfold and Hold Hands

If you want to embrace your partner before you exchange vows, consider putting on a blindfold or just keeping your eyes closed (especially if you already have your makeup on) for a "first touch". You can reassure each other, tell one another how excited you are. Just being in their presence with your eyes closed for a few minutes can be a really special moment.

3. Record a Video Message

If you don't want to physically see each other, that doesn't mean you can't send a video right? Whether you record it the day-of or a few days prior, think of this as a modern day version of writing them a letter to open on the big day (Of course, you can do both). Share what you're most excited about and let them know you can't wait to spend the rest of your lives together. It'll be a cute memento to look back on.

4. Write a Note and Give a Gift

This is a typical pre-wedding tradition, but writing them a note and giving them a gift to open on the day of the wedding is another great way to make your presence felt. In the note you can reflect on your relationship, share what moment you're most looking forward to and any inside jokes you might have to bring some levity to it. Be sure to read it before any makeup goes on in case it's a tear-jerker!

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