Even if you’re a ‘doing it my way’ kind of gal (or guy), chances are you’ve incorporated some wedding traditions into your ceremony or reception. That’s no surprise – weddings are built on customs that have endured for centuries, always changing and adapting, but never quite going away. In fact, many brides look forward to the pageantry of it all – the aisle, the kiss, the cake, the dance. So… what do you do if you’re not particularly traditional?
Here’s some good news – there isn’t a rule that says your wedding will be invalid if you have just one bridesmaid, or if the groom doesn’t give a speech. Your Grandma won’t be outraged, and your favourite Auntie will still speak to you when you’re a Missus. So, here are wedding traditions that are no longer strictly observed, so you can have a ponder on whether to include them or not.
A Bevy of Bridesmaids – it used to be that more is more, well now more is just… more expensive. Gone are the days when your attendants’ job was to confuse the evil spirits by dressing like the bride, thank you very much. You are no longer required to have a huge crowd trailing behind you, it’s far more important you choose the girls who truly care your wedding day is the best ever. Even if it’s just one. Same goes for your other half, of course.
Photo from Sabrina & Ian’s real wedding by Aidan Beatty Photography
The Receiving Line – if you’re a shy kind of person, this is probably something you’re a bit shaky about. Well, if you don’t feel comfortable, you don’t have to do it. As you’ll be the first to leave the ceremony, arrange an immediate ‘we just said I do!’ session with your photographer, while the guests mingle and make their way to the reception. Once everyone assembles there, you can spend some time walking around and chatting with your guests in a far more relaxed manner.
Throwing Confetti – sure, it’s lovely to have a shower of petals, rice or paper hearts upon you… but since quite a few venues banned the practice, many couples have decided to go without and nobody even blinks. If you do want that iconic confetti shot in your wedding photo album, be sure to ask the venue whether it’s allowed and what kind, and then provide your own supply. If you leave it to the guests, about five out of a hundred will remember to bring it, resulting in pictures of you looking excessively happy while three dots float in the air.
Photo from Ross & Amy’s real wedding by DKPHOTO
The Speeches – we know a bride whose groom was terrified of giving a speech. Actually terrified. Did she force him to do it anyway? Of course not! Instead, she had the best man and her chief bridesmaid give speeches, and they went down a storm. Similarly, more and more brides nowadays give their own speeches – and rightly so, since they most likely planned the whole day anyway! It is traditional for the bride’s father, the best man and the groom to speak – but it’s no longer a scandal if they don’t.
Wedding Favours – will anyone mind that there are no favours? Absolutely not. We’ve never heard of wedding guests who were disappointed not to get sugared almonds, a salt shaker or a candle. Many couples nowadays prefer to spend that money on a better meal for their guests or even an ice cream truck!
Photo from Karen & Andy’s real wedding by Julie Cummins
Cutting that Cake – the cake itself endures and probably always will, but the cutting of it is no longer the huge deal it used to be. You can still get some fab pics and poses with it, but if you don’t want people staring at you while you do it, don’t announce it. If you’re serving it as dessert, announce the dessert instead. Eating it is the best part anyway, at least when you’re a guest – trust us, they all lust after the cake.
The First Dance – similar to the speech, the first dance may be a nightmare to those who are already enduring a whole day’s attention… and those who have four left feet between them. If you don’t want to dance while everyone watches, you really don’t have to. A good alternative is the group dance, that is the parents, the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and the newlyweds together on the floor at once. Done.
Photo from Jill & Kian’s real wedding courtesy of Infinity Weddings
Throwing the Bouquet – go ahead, you can confess, we’ll keep your secret safe… you don’t really want to throw your gorgeous bouquet, do you? It’s ok, you don’t have to. The single gals at the reception won’t bat an eyelid (and there won’t be any ructions as a result either). Plus, the times have changed – women are far more independent and many don’t attach their sense of self-worth to whether they’re married or not. Keep your lovely bouquet and preserve it instead.
Main photo from Niamh & Jason’s real wedding by Emma Russell Photography
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.