Most wedding traditions were created long ago, with both love and superstition in mind. You might be the most non-traditional bride, but feel the need to stick to many of these traditions, because, why take a chance with bad luck? The idea is, if you follow these customs, you will find eternal happiness with your partner, but traditions can be changed and updated to reflect who you are as a couple. Here are 6 wedding traditions you can ditch on your special day!
Tradition #1 | Something Borrowed, Something Blue
As the saying goes, each bride should incorporate something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Back in the day, brides took this very seriously. It could come in the form of handkerchiefs, jewellery, or even the dress at times. While this tradition can be extremely special, it can be really challenging to come up with the appropriate items that have significant meaning and look intentional, like they were meant to be a part of your wedding.
Instead of struggling to come up with the perfect things to incorporate, why not focus on the meaningful things that you can add to your big day? My favourite happens to be including the presence of parents/grandparents who are no longer of this earth. It can be as simple as adorning empty chairs in the front row with flowers, or including more sentimental pieces like charms or pins from each individual on the inside of the groom’s suit jacket or on the bouquet ribbon. Make sure to ask your photographer to get a few great detail photos of them, that effort should be seen by your children and future generations.
Tradition #2 | Identical Bridesmaid Dresses
When Bertus and I got married back in 2009, our bridesmaid dresses were an undesirable (almost-lime) green colour. I had picked the colour from a small swatch and was sorely disappointed when they came in. That being said, we made the best of it, and the wedding day itself was absolutely stunning. The photos were great, except for the fact that the girl’s side looked like one large lime-green blob.
Your dresses don’t have to be a specific colour or pattern in order for it to look overwhelming. One easy way to combat this is to ensure that your photographer takes some wedding party photos where the guys and the gals alternate. To really change things up, you can choose to have different bridesmaid dresses, all in the same colour family. A huge benefit of this choice is that each bridesmaid can choose the style that works best with their figure, complexion and preference. That last one is the most important! Imagine how awesome is it if you love your bridesmaid dress so much that you want to wear it again, possibly to a fancy dinner party or a new year’s eve bash?!?!
Tradition #3 | Exiting in a Shower of Rice
Rice tosses have long been a staple in many weddings; it’s said to bring many children to a marriage. Having watched some chick flicks where they’ve been included, I have to admit they look really fun… for the guests. Have you ever looked at the bride and groom’s face in those scenes? It’s no wonder the bride and groom try their best to grin and bear it through that ordeal, because the truth is, being rained on by rice hurts! It can also go into all the most inconvenient places. Seeing how much work it can be to put on your gorgeous gown, I’d recommend not causing the need to undress, especially if you’re limited on time. Wedding traditions shouldn’t be painful!
There are so many other, less painful traditions you can try instead of rice showers, such as bubbles or sparklers. They are much more gentle, and also don’t need any crazy amount of cleanup. Just make sure that someone has a place to put the used bubble containers or burnt out sparklers (watch the heat with these!) As bride and groom, you’ll still feel so special, and you won’t have to worry about the aftermath!
Tradition #4 | Receiving Line
You’re married! You walk back up the aisle, trying to keep from tripping while at the same time, working to keep your eyes on your new spouse. Your guests are happy, waving at you, and you’re eager to get to the back of your ceremony venue. You are excited to spend an hour or so together with your photographers., capturing the best portraits in the most amazing light. But wait… first, the receiving line.
The first few guests are your parents and the bridal party, that’s not so bad. Next come the aunts, uncles, distant relatives, friends from work, neighbours you forgot about, and anyone else who happened to know about your big day and wanted to see your happiness celebrated and what you were wearing. It doesn’t take too long before your face starts hurting from smiling. And you don’t even want to know where all those hands that shook yours have been. This is not what you imagined your wedding day to be like. At all! Following all these wedding traditions can be overwhelming.
Instead of allowing the receiving line to cut into your precious portrait time, why not spend a little time with each and every guest later at the reception, also giving the chance of getting photos taken during that time. As a photographer, I’d rather stay half an hour extra to allow your dances to start a bit later, instead of trying to cram all the portraits that you know you want in a shorter time. And, you don’t even have to worry about your bill if I’m your photographer, as I’m yours all day!
Tradition #5 | Pointless Wedding Favours
We have come home with our share of useless candles, and monogrammed coasters (the couple’s initials, not ours) from weddings. While the kids are always excited about them for a day, they never get used. I know that each couple who we received favours from spent time and energy deciding on what to give their guests. Sadly it often isn’t worth the effort.
Recently we’ve started seeing more unique options at the weddings we’ve been privileged to photograph. Here are some great options:
- Candy/donut bar
- Wrapped cookies
- Tea/hot chocolate mix
If none of these speaks to you, there is always the option of making a donation to a charity that is near and dear to your heart in the name of each of your guests. Ensure that you’re choosing an option that your guests can still see as authentic, and that they will be grateful to be part of.
Tradition #6 | Bouquet & Garter Toss
Yep, I did this one too! I feel like my wedding back in 2009 probably would be a great example of not-to-do’s for wedding traditions. I’m okay with that. I had a special toss bouquet made by my florist to save my own bouquet from damage. Can I remember who caught the garter or bouquet? Nope, and they themselves might not even remember… Your photographer is usually long gone by the time this happens. Even if they still happen to be there, both of these are notoriously difficult to capture. You can thoughtfully substitute your garter & bouquet toss by spending your time connecting with your guests. They are here to celebrate your love.
If you are looking for other wedding traditions, interrupt your guest’s conversation by staging a fake exit with sparklers! It’s a fun way to change things up, make sure to do this before your photographer leaves. And then it’s worth it, because these photos are absolutely epic!
Just have Fun!
In 1840, a 20-year-old Queen Victoria started the trend of the white wedding dress. Before this, women wore their best dress to their wedding and normally in colour. Start a trend. Your wedding is about celebrating you as a couple, not checking the boxes on a bunch of old customs that don’t represent who you are. Focus on creating fun, lasting memories for you and your guests. People will be talking about your wedding long after the day is over!