When it comes to weddings, some brides and grooms are all about tradition. The cake, the vows, grandma’s veil, something old something new… But as weddings get more personalized, many couples are taking a second look at wedding traditions. They’re not afraid to toss out a custom they feel is outdated or unnecessary. I’m all for making your wedding day feel like a really personal celebration of who you are. But just as some traditions have had their day, some are still worth holding on to. Let’s take a look at some of them and see whether they’re worth keeping, skipping or just updating.
The first look. Traditionally, the first time the couple will see one other on their wedding day is at the ceremony. In fact, it was said to be bad luck for the groom to see the bride. These days, however, many couples are opting for a first look. It has many advantages, like the chance to spend some quiet time together or getting your couple shoot out of the way so you can enjoy cocktail hour with your guests. This one comes down to personal preference, but either way, the first time you see each other is going to be emotional and memorable.
The white dress. This might feel like an ancient tradition in Western culture, but in fact, the white wedding dress only became popular after Queen Victoria wore one in 1840. These days, bridal designers are creating gowns in a gorgeous variety of shades (and prints), so there’s no need to feel limited. Wear a gown you can really fall in love with, whatever the shade.
Matching bridesmaids. The tradition of having bridesmaids in matching dresses goes back to Ancient Rome. The bride, as well as all her attendants, wore the same clothes in an effort to ward off evil spirits – or unwelcome suitors! These days, many brides allow their ladies to wear mismatched gowns instead. That way, everyone can wear a dress that really flatters them!
The wedding cake. Wedding cakes have come a long way and the traditional tiered fruitcake is largely a thing of the past (thank goodness). But do you need to have a cake at all? And what about the cake cutting – is it really necessary? Probably not, but before you toss this tradition, consider the benefits of having some kind of cake or cake substitute. Guests love them, they can double up as dessert and – let’s be honest – they look great in photos. If you don’t want to go the traditional route, serve up a cheese stack a donut tower, or whatever dessert you both love. Serving a formal dessert of some kind will signal to the guests the main event is coming to a close.
The bouquet toss. Now this is one tradition you can definitely toss (literally)! Nobody loved the awkward moment when all the single women are called to the dance floor to fight each other for the bride’s bouquet. Give your friends a break and skip this tradition altogether. Instead, present your bouquet to a woman who means a lot to you, like mom or grandma.
The speeches. We’ve all been at a wedding where the speeches seem to go on forever. While asking the speakers to keep them short is a great idea, it’s still worth including speeches somewhere in your wedding day agenda. Those precious words and heartfelt wishes will stay with you for many years to come.
The first dance. Shuffling awkwardly through a ballad while all your guests watch is something many couples dread. But the first dance can be a special way to invite your loved ones into your relationship, especially if you play a song that means a lot to you. If you or your partner is a nervous dancer, keep it short and sweet. Ask your wedding party to join you on the dance floor after the first verse, or get your DJ to switch to a faster song.
Whatever traditions you choose to honor (or not), the most important thing is that your wedding day feels like YOU!
Header image by Aaron Delesie