Why can’t the groom see the bride’s dress before the wedding?

Well, he can, unless you want to follow “tradition” of course. But, where does that tradition come from and what does it mean?

Ye Old Traditional Way

Arranged marriages used to be the norm. And that meant that you didn’t even see your betrothed until the bride started walking down the (cough, cough – “married at first sight”). So, that idea evolved into it being labeled “bad luck” for the groom to see the bride in her dress before the wedding.

Others say that because these arranged marriages were actually “business” deals between families, some fathers didn’t want the man marrying his daughter to see her and back out before the deed was done. Maybe they decided they didn’t like her or she wasn’t attractive – keeping the bride away was the answer to this fear.

Our Opinion

So what do we say? Do what you want! Feel free to keep or ignore traditions that don’t fit in with what you and your partner want. If you’re superstitious, then stay away and have the big reveal happen in front of all your family and friends.

Saving the moment for the ceremony also means sharing the experience with everyone in attendance, which can be a truly memorable moment no one will soon forget. Not to mention the photo and video opportunities for when the bride and groom first lock eyes. It’s an added layer of specialness when it happens.

If not, see each other, have a private moment together (it may even calm any nerves you may have!). For everything else, let’s ask the experts!

Other Expert Opinions

Why groom doesn't see the bride before wedding

Easy Weddings

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. This tradition actually goes back to a time when arranged marriages were the norm. Marriages were arranged by families, and only after everything was agreed would the lucky couple get to meet each other.

However, this brought with it some risks, and it was not uncommon for some men to back out at the last minute after seeing the woman they were to spend their lives with.

So how to deal with this issue? Perhaps consult the proposed couple on whether they found each other attractive? Of course not, that would make far too much sense! Instead, the couples were often forbidden from meeting each other until the day of their wedding at their ceremony. It’s rather difficult to run out of your own wedding when everyone is already there!

Although the tradition of arranged marriages has largely fallen by the wayside, the superstition that seeing the bride in her dress before the big day has lived on.” – Easy Weddings

Bridal Guide


During the time when arranged marriages were custom, the betrothed couple wasn’t allowed to see each other before the wedding at all. The wedding symbolized a business deal between two families (romantic, huh?), and a father would have been pleased for his daughter to marry a man from a rich, land-owning family.

But he also feared that if the groom met the bride before the wedding and thought she wasn’t attractive, he’d call off the wedding, casting shame onto the bride and her family. Therefore, it became a tradition that the bride and groom were only allowed to meet at the wedding ceremony so that the groom did not have the opportunity to change his mind.

And that veil the bride wears? Its original purpose was also to keep the groom from finding out what the bride looked like until the last possible minute when it was too late to back out of the transaction.


Although arranged marriages are no longer common, most brides still don’t want their groom to see them all done up before the wedding. Many believe it makes the day more exciting and memorable. However, some couples feel they’ll be more relaxed if they see each other for just a few minutes before the ceremony.

The added bonus is that you can take your formal pictures pre-ceremony when everyone is freshly done-up. It’s completely up to you and your groom. Talk about it before the big day arrives and find out what makes the most sense for you.” – Bridal Guide

Wedding Ideas

“Keep it Secret

  • It’s bad luck to even see each other before the wedding, let alone for him to see your wedding dress, too!
  • You want it to be a surprise for everyone, including him, so you can fully enjoy your big moment.
  • As you step down the aisle, emotions will be high, so when he sees you, his beautiful bride, for the first time it’ll be ten times more amazing.

He loves you for you, so you know he’ll love whatever dress you choose.” – Wedding Ideas