When you think about it, there’s nothing more traditional than getting married. But, more and more couples are deciding to ditch the well-known wedding traditions they don’t like. We’re all for couples making their big days as personal as possible so we love seeing modern twists on old-school etiquette. If you’re planning your special day at the moment, it’s time to ask – do you really need to follow these wedding traditions?
Before we jump into looking at the traditions themselves, let’s start by saying that the best weddings are those that are personal to the couple. There are so many things that are seen as ‘essential’ and it’s easy to assume that you have to incorporate certain wedding traditions in your plans. However, that’s not the case and there are plenty of traditions that you really don’t have to follow if you don’t want to…
1. Brides wear a white dress
Not any more they don’t! More and more bridal designers are including coloured dresses or gowns with colourful touches in their collections so if white doesn’t feel right, you’ll have plenty of stylish options. In fact, brides always used to wear coloured outfits for their weddings and would say their vows in their ‘Sunday best’. It was only when Queen Victoria made white wedding dresses fashionable that everyone started to wear white gowns. So, if anyone asks, a colourful gown is actually even more traditional than one in white!
Image courtesy of Needle & Thread
2. There are certain roles for men and women
It’s almost taken for granted that the men will make the speeches, bridesmaids will be female and the mothers of the bride and groom are almost left without roles on the day itself. Nowadays, couples are shaking things up and are choosing the best person for the role rather than sticking to old-school gender stereotypes. If you want your male best friend by your side, do it. If you’d like to make a speech and be escorted up the aisle by your mum, that’s what should happen. It’s your day and your decision!
3. You shouldn’t see each other before your ceremony
Now this used to happen because so many couples got to their wedding day without having even met and pre-ceremony meetings were off in case anyone called it off at the last minute. Happily, we’re well past this now so why shouldn’t you see each other before the ceremony? The American concept of ‘the first look’ is really starting to take off over here and we LOVE this. You meet your partner in private before the ceremony so you have your ‘first look’ together. It’s often an emotionally charged moment and more and more couples include this in their plans. The photos from ‘first looks’ are also incredible!
Image courtesy of Kylie Morgan Photography
4. Everything needs to match
Weddings used to be completely colour co-ordinated and palettes used to include a really limited number of shades. Now, with weddings being so much more about personality, that totally matching look has been well and truly left behind. The mismatched look for maids is a bigger trend than ever. Tables have different table centres, blooms differ from arrangement to arrangement and non-matching crockery and glassware is actually a must-have for certain themes.
5. There are certain places for guests to sit
You know the drill, friends and family and the groom sit on one side with the bride’s guests on the other and the top table has to follow a certain order. Well, that’s just not the case anymore with modern couples totally mixing things up. We love signs outside ceremonies that ask guests to ‘pick a seat, not a side’ because your wedding day is about two families coming together, not staying apart. We’re also seeing more alternative top tables at weddings and dinners where there is no top table at all!
Image courtesy of Berry Berry Sweet
6. You should wear a garter and toss your bouquet
Let’s face it, your bouquet can be super expensive and incredibly special so why you do you have to essentially throw it away? Lots of brides are choosing to keep their bouquet and gift it to someone special. If you want to do this AND keep the bouquet tossing moment, ask your florist to make up a smaller version of your bridal bouquet that you can throw. Similarly, there’s no need to wear a garter if that doesn’t suit your style either. Yes, garters have somehow become the wedding accessory with a vaguely saucy reputation but if it’s not you, don’t feel pressurised to wear one.
7. A gift list has to be full of things for your home
Now this is a wedding tradition that made sense when couples only lived together after getting married. You needed your wedding gifts to help you set up home together so asking for all those essentials was the practical option. Now, lots of couples use their gift list to upgrade the items they’ve already got or ask guests to contribute to honeymoons, home renovations or other projects. You can ask for charity donations, experiences or even life-changing round-the-world trips.
8. Flowers are the only way to decorate a wedding
Well we know that this tradition has almost fallen by the wayside already. Yes, the majority of couples still love to decorate with flowers but more and more are bringing in additional elements and props. Some couples choose an entirely flower-free wedding and these still look amazing. As always, the key is to do what suits you best and if you’re just not that into flowers, there are hundreds of ways to style your big day. Take a look at our Pinterest boards for more inspiration!
Image courtesy of Jon Harper Wedding Photography
9. Your wedding breakfast has to be three courses
Feasting together always has been a big part of wedding celebrations and this tradition still continues. However, you don’t need a three-course wedding breakfast to mark the occasion. How about serving lots of canapés in lieu of a starter or including a hog roast, cheese tower or dessert table instead of formal served courses? We also love ice cream vans, street food stalls, wood-fired pizza, barbeques and more.
Image courtesy of Paul Willetts Photography
10. The honeymoon comes straight after the wedding
Again, this is a wedding tradition that has its roots way back when the couple HAD to go away after the wedding in case their marriage caused upset among rival families! If we skip forward to happier times, honeymoons are now often the trip of a lifetime and lots of couples like to postpone this for a little while. It might be that you want to time your trip to coincide with the best weather at your destination or that you’d simply like to be able to catch your breath post-wedding. Whatever the reason, this is YOUR honeymoon so there’s no need to disappear off straight away!
If you love the thought of including some different traditions in your wedding day, take a look at these Five quirky wedding traditions that you might not have heard of!