When I start working with a couple on their photography timeline for the wedding the first question I ask is if the they are planning on seeing each other before the ceremony. This information is critical for planning enough time to take all the formal portraits. When a couple agrees to see each other before the ceremony we can often take care of all the family pictures before the wedding.
Traditionally the first time the couple sees each other is as the bride walks down the aisle. This tradition started back when the bride and groom literally saw each other for the first time EVER at the ceremony. To see each other or not is personal decision that ever couple must make together.
For those couples that are excited to see each other before the wedding I recommend a private reveal. The reveal is a personal and intimate moment between the bride and groom (and photographer). The groom can take in the radiance of his bride without sharing her with all the other wedding guests. It is also time when the couple can relax together and enjoy each others company before being surrounded by friends and family. I don’t believe that when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony it takes anything away from the wedding or the spectacular moment when the bride walks down the aisle.
As a photographer I am unobtrusive and try to give the bride and groom some space so that they feel alone together. Whether before or during the wedding ceremony I love to watch the groom’s face light up at the sight of his beloved for the first time.