The custom of separation is of recent vintage, and its source is not known. Rema indicates that the bride and groom require chaperonage to enhance their honor, as do members of the royal family. A second reason for chaperonage may also be a primordial fear of propitious moments—that some accident may occur at this very sensitive moment in life and therefore more protection is needed. (This reason should not prevent the couple from meeting under the chaperon-age of parents and friends.)

Another reason may be that the meeting of two lovers so close to the wedding may psychologically stimulate even a slight menstrual stain, and thus prohibit them from cohabiting on their wedding night. This theory, however, was proposed in the Talmud only in regard to the bride's having been proposed to within seven days before the wedding date, not merely seeing her fiancé within the week. Even Rosh, who holds that psychological tension is heightened the closer one gets to the wedding date, makes no mention of the separation of bride and groom. It has been suggested that the tradition of separation is only applicable to the day before the wedding to enhance the joy of their meeting as partners. This is similar to the custom of not eating matzah on the day before Passover so that it may be savored more fully on Passover night.

Because the reasons for separation are obscure, it is difficult to establish clear guidelines. It is this custom which determines that a bride not be present at the synagogue when the groom is called to the Torah on the Sabbath prior to the wedding. It also serves to prevent many couples from posing for photographs before the wedding guests arrive. Questions as to how many days of separation, under which conditions, and how firm is the custom, are difficult to determine. Therefore, if any exigency regarding marriage preparations or arrangements for future living quarters requires both partners to be present, they may meet, but they should preferably be accompanied by chaperones.