Let’s be clear before I start – the wedding day to a bride & groom should be about celebrating their relationship and “till death do us part” commitment WITH friends and family, or they would have eloped. However, as important as the guests’ presence is, there are a few specific times you should leave the newlyweds to themselves on their wedding day.
In most traditional cases, the bride & groom will not see each other until they meet at the altar, following the ceremony the couple will ask family to join for pictures, but when it comes to couples formal pictures, leave them alone! A professional photographer was hired for a reason; there is no need for wedding guests to be crowding their intimate photo session with their iPhones (although I will vouch the 6 takes fabulous pictures…for a different time and place).
It’s become trendy lately for couples to do what is called “the first look,” a photo session that captures the groom’s face when he first sees his beautiful bride. Total Kodak moment. But it’s so important for privacy during these candid pictures because being so emotionally vulnerable in front of one camera is hard. Adding a slew of wedding guests will only distract from the emotion demonstrated between the bride and groom. Emotion is what creates these beautiful pictures, capturing how the couple felt in that moment for the rest of their lives (that’s a long time…). No wedding guests wants to go down in their memories as the one who interrupted the formal wedding portraits.
Looking past the lens of a camera, and really respecting the privacy of the new “Mr. and Mrs.” (or Mr. and Mr. or Mrs. and Mrs.), brings me to my next point. Leave the couple alone between the ceremony and reception. Although it’s not uncommon to for the bride to share a changing room with bridesmaids, do not consider that a shared space for the entire bridal party once the ceremony is finished.
Some couples might encourage the wedding party to do a toast and drink before heading to the reception, but give the bride and groom a moment of privacy before welcoming yourself into their suite. This is the first time the newly married couple is behind closed doors (literally) after exchanging vows; so as a member of the wedding party just know that if you invite yourself behind those doors, you might be seeing more than you signed up for. Use viewer discretion and save your virgin eyes… even if you know there’s no funny business! The bride is now a wife and the bridal suite is now a newlywed’s suite. Do not disturb!
The first dance belongs to the bride and groom alone, unless you are specifically invited onto the dance floor. I know for wedding guests this can feel like a very long, uncomfortable few minutes, but don’t join in mid-dance. I will be the first one to say it’s painfully awkward for me to watch a couple who doesn’t dance well trace the same square while gazing in each other’s eyes with a crowd watching. Nonetheless, for the bride and groom, their surroundings are blocked out and you as a guest need to let them have that moment or wait until you are invited to join in. In the meantime, many of us just cross our fingers hoping they picked a short song or can actually dance.
As for the rest of the wedding day and night, snap a selfie, congratulate the pair, have a drink with the couple of the hour, and celebrate. But for those few and short intimate moments they need alone on their special day, consider yourself uninvited.
Devon Gorson, Intern at Weddings in Vieques