Right. Well unless you’ve been living under a rock your entire life you’ve probably heard that it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride’s dress before the wedding.
However, a question we could forgive you for asking is, can the bride see the groom’s suit? Do the same rules apply? Or is it one rule for the bride and another for the groom?
In this article, we’re going to take you through the best way to treat this contentious issue. Each couple is unique so you’ll have to form your own opinion on whether seeing the groom’s suit is right for you.
There are various factors at play that could influence whether a bride will see the groom’s suit, from whether it’s a good idea to go shopping together, to who normally foots the bill.
We’ll also tell you why we think it’s a good idea for the bride to see what the groom will be wearing ahead of the big day by looking at some of the pros and cons
We’re going to discuss it all in a bid to leave you 100% clear on the matter.
Is it bad luck to see the groom’s suit?
“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” You’ve probably heard that more than you care to admit recently but why?
There are so many traditions and superstitions floating around about what should and shouldn’t be done at a wedding.
The tradition of the groom not being allowed to see the bride’s dress seems to hail from a time when arranged marriages were the go-to. It wasn’t the dress they weren’t allowed to see but the bride herself. 
It’s believed that the first time the groom would see his bride is when she was unveiled at the altar.
The idea of this “married at first sight” (if you haven’t watched it we highly recommend it) way of doing things was to prevent the groom from bolting if the chosen bride wasn’t to his taste.
It sounds a bit crazy, right? But it seems that’s how we’ve now ended up with this superstition surrounding the groom seeing the bride or her dress before the ceremony.
Like a lot of things in life, it seems men aren’t upheld to such ideals. As a result, there are not really the same sort of traditions when looking at whether the bride can see the groom’s suit.
Rather than it being down to a superstitious belief it’s going to be one of preference.
Perhaps you want that element of surprise? Or maybe you just think you shouldn’t see his suit if he can’t see your dress?
Cultural traditions of the bride seeing the groom’s suit?
In some cultures, it is customary for the bride to see the groom’s suit before the wedding. For example, in Indian weddings, it is common for the bride and groom to have a “first look” before the ceremony, where the bride sees the groom’s outfit and vice versa. In Western cultures, however, it is less common for the bride to see the groom’s suit before the wedding.
Reasons for a bride seeing the groom’s suit ahead of the wedding
There are many reasons why we think it’s a good idea for the bride to see the groom’s suit ahead of the ceremony or big day.
Trust us! We’ve photographed over 1000 weddings and seen a few unhappy brides along the way.
At one wedding we photographed the groom was in no uncertain terms told to change after a horrendous first look.
You might be thinking bridezilla alert but the groom’s suit was pretty nasty. He’d taken the advice of his best man who obviously thought he was filming an episode of “Punk’d” from back in the day.
Luckily the bride had predicted things turning out this way and brought with her, shall we say, a more neutral number as a backup. He swiftly got changed.
Everyone actually took it quite well all things considered and saw the funny side of it.
Apologies for the digression but we love sharing these stories from real weddings with you.
Here are some of the reasons we think it’s a good idea.
No nasty surprises
Simply put this is going to be the best day of a bride’s life. She’s probably been planning it for years. She’s probably thought about every microscopic detail.
We don’t think any bride should be left in tears because of her groom’s poor fashion choices.
Obviously, this isn’t always the case and maybe your husband-to-be always looks like he’s just stepped off the catwalk at New York fashion week. Actually maybe not the best comparison thinking about it! You don’t really want him turning up in something that outrageous. You get our point though. Maybe he’s a fashionable guy!
Either way by seeing what he’ll be wearing before the big day you can then judge for yourself. Does his suit go with the theme of the day? Does it tie in with the rest of the wedding party? The bridesmaids? The groomsmen? etc.
Greenlight from the bride
Let’s be real, wedding days are 99% about the bride. Scrap that 100% about the bride!
Seeing the groom’s suit ahead of time will allow the bride to give her thoughts and ideas.
A bride might even have planned what her groom will wear based on the dress she has chosen.
Some grooms need to be told what to wear
Have you ever had to pick out outfits for your other half before?
Maybe they think it’s ok to wear joggers and a t-shirt for 99% of their life including date night?
It’s just the way some men are wired, they don’t care about fashion and style.
If this sounds familiar then some grooms just like to be told what to wear and won’t ask any questions. It makes their life a whole lot easier.
Ensures it matches or is a similar style to the bridal party
If your cohort of groomsmen will all be wearing identical suits it can be important that the groom’s suit matches.
At the same time as a bride, you might want your groom to stand out at the end of the aisle in something completely different.
Whichever your preference by seeing it beforehand you can get your views across and your groom can act accordingly.
Perhaps you want your groom to have subtle matching elements that line up with the color scheme of your bridesmaids. Think ties, bow ties, and shirt colors.
Fits in with the theme of the wedding
The last thing you want is for your groom to turn up to your elegant ballroom wedding in a suit more fitting to a rustic outdoor occasion.
We think this is a reason the bride should have the seal of approval. Brides are usually way more invested in the planning than a groom. That’s our experience anyway.
Much like a filmmaker or artist has their own unique style, so will your wedding. You don’t want to risk your groom upsetting that theme.
Can make sure it fits properly
There’s nothing worse than ill-fitting clothes, is there?! Trousers that are so tight that they leave nothing to the imagination or a blazer so baggy it looks like it was purchased at a goodwill.
If the bride can sneak a peek of the groom in his suit before the big day they can ensure that it fits how it should. A groom might be more honest with his bride to be and she’ll know how he usually likes his clothes to fit.
Ensuring the groom’s suit fits perfectly will mean they’re less self-conscious on the day and comfortable for all the wedding photos. This will mean more pics, win win!
You could see it on a hanger as a compromise
One idea we have for you that could be the perfect compromise is to see the suit but not on your groom.
Whether that’s by seeing a photo of it or seeing it on a hanger. This will allow you both to discuss the suit and how it fits in with your day.
If you don’t like the color or details you can tell the groom and alterations to his choice can be made.
This will allow you to have a bit of excitement and intrigue still as a bride won’t have seen her groom in his suit.
We don’t think this method is obviously as effective as seeing the groom in his suit. However, it may go some way to put a bride’s mind at ease as she will have had some input towards the decision.
Disadvantages of seeing the suit beforehand
While we are strong advocates for the bride seeing the groom’s suit beforehand we also realize that there are some potential disadvantages.
Here are a few for you to consider.
You’ll miss out on the element of surprise
If the bride has already seen her groom in his suit they’ll miss out on that bombshell moment as they glimpse them from the end of the aisle.
Maybe this is the first time you’re going to see your partner suited and booted. You might want to make that into a big moment seeing your groom looking his most handsome.
If you’ve already seen him beforehand it somewhat kills any spontaneity of the moment.
Makes a first look less exciting
A first look can be amazing for a wedding photographer to capture as the couple lay eyes on each other in all their finery.
We’ve found that first looks are particularly useful for those shy couples who don’t want to show all their emotions in front of all their guests at the ceremony.
One of the great things about this addition to the wedding day is that it’s usually the first time the groom gets to glimpse his bride’s dress. At the same time, it can be the first time the bride sees the groom’s suit.
However, if the bride has already seen what the groom has chosen to wear it takes away a bit of the excitement of the occasion. You might get less powerful emotions captured by your photographer.
If you’re a superstitious bride
Perhaps you firmly believe in the superstition of the groom not seeing the bride’s dress. As a result, maybe you think it should be the same rule for yourself.
There is of course only anecdotal evidence of any idea of superstition around this.
However, if that’s what you believe you’ll never forgive yourself. You’ll be blaming the fact that you saw the groom’s suit should anything go wrong.
The role of a pre-wedding or engagement shoot
Are you planning on having an elegant pre-wedding or engagement shoot with your wedding photographer? It’s commonplace in Asian countries but has steadily crept in for western couples as well.
Some couples choose to have a pre-shoot in casual clothing. However, for many, they’ll get dressed up in their wedding outfits. The groom sees the bride’s dress and vice versa. Any sense of superstition is thrown out of the window.
This is a great way to get epic portraits of a couple in their finery in locations that might not be possible on the big day.
It also relieves some of the pressure and creates time on the wedding day itself if these photos are taken care of beforehand.
How long before the wedding should the groom get his suit?
Like anything to do with wedding planning is key.
In our opinion, we think a groom should purchase his suit at least 2-3 months before the date of the wedding. This will allow for any alterations to be done as well as thinking time that the right decision has been made.
Again, allowing the bride to see the groom’s suit could also impact the purchase time.
Perhaps a bride wants to base her choice of bridesmaids’ dresses on details and colors from the groom’s suit, or vice versa.
Can the bride go suit shopping with the groom?
Yes yes and yes. We think it’s a great idea to go suit shopping together. This way you’ll hopefully find something that you both love.
This is now a relatively normal way of doing things and can even be a fun experience. It’s a great way to make a groom feel more involved in the wedding as you both pick the perfect suit.
At the same time, it could relieve some of the stress from a bride worrying about the groom’s suit choice. Equally, it could reduce the pressure placed on the groom’s shoulders to get the decision right.
If you do go shopping together it’s important to understand each other’s preferences and have some wiggle room on the ideal outfit. You might love your husband to be in those tight-fitting trousers but he might prefer something more comfortable. Like marriage, it’s all about compromise.
For a third pair of eyes, you should trust a tailor or stylist who can offer their opinion on the latest trends. They can also advise on the best way for the groom’s suit to match the overall theme of your wedding.
Who normally buys the groom’s suit?
Who pays for what when organizing a wedding is always a tricky conversation to have.
It’s usually the groom himself who pays for his own suit and this is a way he could keep it a secret from his bride.
However, much like the question of who purchases the groom’s rings? it’s becoming more commonplace for such purchases to come out of the overall wedding fund. Pooling the cost of suits and wedding dresses can be a way to make the whole day a lot fairer.
Equally, a contribution from the parents of both the bride and groom’s parents is not unusual.
Essentially if the groom isn’t buying his own suit the chances of the bride seeing it are high. Maybe the bride’s mother shows her a photo of the suit if they’ve paid. Equally, if the bride herself picks the suit of course she will have seen it there and then.
Conclusion: Most brides end up seeing the suit
The reality is that most brides will end up seeing the suit before the big day.
We don’t think this should be a problem and believe it’s actually the best way to go.
The only downside we can see is that you’ll miss out on some form of surprise as you glimpse your hubby-to-be for the first time.
However, the risk of not seeing what he’s chosen, whether it fits correctly and matches the theme of the day seems too big for us. A bride with any sort of anxiety about something going wrong on her wedding day can be a recipe for disaster.
Not seeing the suit also doesn’t have the same superstitious history as a groom seeing the bride’s dress. So we can’t think of a conclusive enough argument against it.
Ultimately it will come down to personal preference but we’re happy to say yes, a bride can see the groom’s suit. If she wants to.