Big or small. Rustic or Modern. Lavish or simple. No matter what kind of wedding you have, they all follow a general formula. When it comes to hashing out the details of your big day, it’s totally your choice which customs best represent you and your partner’s style. But let’s be honest, some of those traditions would be better off in the garbage can.
If the garter toss makes you cringe — you aren’t alone. So many of the routine practices at the reception are rooted in ancient history and should be reconsidered. Before you crack open that fresh wedding planning binder, find out which tired traditions to leave out of the itinerary.
1. Bride’s Family Foots Bill: It’s uncertain where it’s written in fine print that the bride’s family gets stuck shelling out the most money for the wedding. Throw this rule in the trash.
Nowadays, it’s customary for the couple to pay a hefty portion of the price tag themselves, but splitting the bill is more often the conclusion that the couple and their family come to when figuring out costs.
Natasha Buckney Photography
2. Not Seeing Bride Before Wedding: In many cultures, it’s customary for the groom not to see the bride before the ceremony. But it’s not mandatory! Many couples opt for an intimate “first look” before the vows even begin.
3. Diamonds: Custom tells us that the bigger the bling, the stronger the love, and that’s plain classist! Some women, believe it or not, prefer other stones to diamonds, though any circular symbol suffices, even tattoos.
4. The Dollar Dance: Where did this kooky tradition came from, insult the bride dot com? It involves everyone paying a dollar to dance with the bride, and it’s not worth the cost of someone’s dignity! Do everyone a favor and nix this practice.
Lilie Dahl Imaging
5. The Sweetheart Table: To ensure all eyes are on the honorary couple, often they’re forced to sit alone together. Sure, go the “sweetheart” route if you choose, but if you’d rather be less of a focal point, that’s just fine, too.
Just Another Starry Eyed Bride
6. Cake to the Face: However you slice it, smashing cake in your spouse’s face is a recipe for disaster. After the expense of hair and makeup, no bride or groom wants to ruin their look for a moment of messy whimsy.
Not to mention the pressure of having to react unbothered in front of a large group of people. Talk with your future spouse to avoid any tense spur of the moment decisions. Also, what a waste of delicious cake.
7. Matching Bridesmaids: The next time you line your best friends up in matching poufy ensembles, remember the wacky origins of matching bridesmaids. A precaution out of ancient Rome, the dresses were a necessary form of distraction.
Evil spirits and problematic ex-boyfriends were known to crash the ceremonies. Decoy brides, or bridesmaids, wore the exact same outfit as the woman of the hour to confuse the unwanted guests so the vows could be hastily made.
Martha Stewart Weddings
8. Something Old, New, Borrowed, Blue: Another semi superstitious tradition, this one stems from an Old English rhyme. Sort of like an ill-timed scavenger hunt, pinpointing these symbolic trinkets ensured good luck in marriage.
In reality, this one just adds to the top of the heaping pile of wedding tasks. Forego the anxiety of selecting these objects, and trust that you and your partner will create your own happiness.
9. Gendered Wedding Showers: A party’s a party, and if you want a co-ed shower, you’re not alone. Many couples are opting to eschew the girls-only rule in favor of an inclusive shindig.
Worlds of Wayne
10. Bouquet/ Garter Toss: Let’s agree to put the nail in the coffin on this, the worst of wedding traditions. Before becoming the most uncomfortable part of the reception, it started as the more barbaric custom of ripping off a portion of the bride’s gown.
The Wedding Ring
11. “Here Comes the Bride”: “Da dum da dum” plays at least once in everyone’s prewedding nightmares. Sure, Robert Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” march is a safe option for the jaunt down the aisle, but don’t feel married to the song.
Organ Music On the Move
Consider other options: a live instrumental, a vocalist, or just a meaningful tune to you and your partner. Along with the first dance, curate the musical preferences for your big day. Unless your song is the wedding march, then go for it.
12. Giving Away The Bride: No disrespect to dads, but you have to recognize how outdated passing your daughter like property is in present society. Not cool! If you elect to have that fatherly arm to lean on, awesome; just keep an open mind.
Cropping up in ceremonies, brides are choosing to take the walk down the aisle alone, or escorted by another trusted person in their lives, as a symbol of support as opposed to one of ownership.
The Knot News
13. Two Wedding Colors: Whether it’s a safety net or an aesthetic choice, the strict two-color rule at a wedding isn’t mandatory. Using a range of hues makes things less stuffy and sets your venue apart from the rest.
We Wed Well / Instagram
14. White Wedding: White? To a wedding? Groundbreaking. The Devil Wears Prada references aside, the white gown rule can and should be broken. Wear whatever makes you feel proudest up at the altar.
Your wedding dress should be 100% your own. Saying yes to the dress is one of the toughest parts of the wedding experience, but these brides proved that going safe is no way to be remembered. These brides committed to their spouses and bold looks.
1. This bride loves sheep as much as the next girl, if not even more. She even borrowed some of this ewe’s locks to match her style! We just hope they’re not the ones who are getting hitched. This sheep looks more like a bahhchelorette!
2. What’s more romantic than receiving roses or having roses at your wedding? That’s right, a wedding dress made of roses! We’re not sure if these pedals are real, or how on earth this dress was created, but we’re happy to water her!
3. Today’s culture is all about self-love. We must accept ourselves, take care of ourselves, and… marry ourselves? We applaud this person for taking the next step, but we can’t imagine how that first dance will look!
4. “I want a 50-foot-long wedding train, but how can I show it off properly?” Well, ma’am, with a hot-air balloon, of course! Plus, if anything goes wrong up there, she can use her dress as a parachute!
5. Settling on a color, style, and pattern that will suit all your bridesmaids’ dresses can be pretty difficult. Why not give everyone their own complimentary shade? Bonus points: it will make your wedding party look like the Power Puff Girls!
6. Typically when a wedding occurs, hundreds of people are invited, so the bride can feel a little crowded. Keep everyone — and we mean EVERYONE — at bay with the biggest dress ever!
7. For those who enjoy a nature theme but are worried the previously shown roses will wilt before the ceremony has even started, try a dress entirely made of peacocks! After all, don’t these feathers attract a partner?
8. These genius newlyweds have found the perfect way to save money on their nuptials. Weddings can easily cost thousands of dollars, so why not try to find a sponsor or nine to lighten the load?
9. A great way to show your ex what’s what is by getting remarried in a dress consisting solely of your divorce papers. Let’s just hope the strapless top holds up better in real life than on this mannequin…
10. Apologies, where were we? We seem to have lost our train of thought. While a large headpiece like this may not be for everyone, it certainly asserts power. We can all tell who wears the tiara in this relationship!
11. This wedding dress is definitely poppin’! Best of all, the groom gets to pop it once the honeymoon sets off. It’s going to be one noisy celebration!
12. Let’s face it, Emma Thompson has all of our hearts, and she can rock anything she wishes. If you enjoy dressing like a royal and experimenting with patterns, this dress is for you. Just don’t forget who wore it first.
13. Bananas are some of the healthiest foods out there: containing potassium, calcium, vitamins, and healthy sugars, they fill us with energy and good feelings. Let’s hope the marriage is as healthy as this dress!
14. And if you’ve still got an appetite for dessert, take a bite out of this bridal gown! The two most beautiful things at every wedding are usually the dress and the cake, and this combines the two perfectly!