Bucking Traditions... or Rather, Making New Ones
by Sarah Toulouse
Just one dilemma facing modern brides today is the debate over embracing or rejecting traditional notions of weddings, and marriage for that matter. While there really is no right or wrong answer in this debate, one way couples may decide to approach planning is to first consider how your wedding is a fantastic platform to express your personalities and convictions.
This is your opportunity as a couple to give your family and friends a deeper insight into who you are. When else are you going to have the undivided attention of so many people in one place? If you have your heart set on a grand traditional wedding, that is wonderful, and there are plenty of resources available for traditional planning.
However, if you have issues with some traditional customs or just want to approach your wedding with fresh ideas, I would like to offer some suggestions that I have observed first-hand from my couples. Not to mention, they make for fantastic photo opportunities. Whether you want to completely buck traditions altogether or put a new twist on some old ones, the most important thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong way... only what is perfect for your wedding. Here are five traditions and suggested alternatives:
- Tradition 1: Matching formal attire with grand gowns and tuxes.
- Modern Idea: Having bridesmaids wear unique dresses has become pretty common these days, but perhaps consider taking this a step further so more people (groomsmen specifically) can get in on the fun. We love the themed weddings we've seen over the last year, including a Great Gatsby 1920s-inspired vintage wedding, or 1950's rock-n-roll flare.
- Tradition 2: Father escorting bride down the aisle.
- Modern Idea: Some women today are not crazy about the notion of being "given away," so we are seeing some brides choosing to walk down alone, have both parents escort both the bride and groom, or bride and groom entering together.
- Tradition 3: Reception bouquet and garter toss.
- Modern Idea: Some couples are not comfortable for various reasons with including certain traditional reception events, so we love the idea of transforming your reception into a themed party. One of our couples had a great idea to surprise their guests with Venetian masks hidden underneath their chairs, and during the toasts the bride and groom unveiled their masquerade ball theme! The guests loved this and likely will never forget the great time had by all.
- Tradition 4: Following traditions of one culture.
- Modern Idea: Many couples these days come from diverse backgrounds and faiths, so it is fairly common to see traditions from different cultures or religions being combined at weddings. However, some couples have liked what they have seen at a friend's wedding, and even if it is not part of their family background they have made other cultural ideas part of their own ceremony or reception. Eastern cultures including South Asian / Indian have unique three-day weddings and different rituals compared to Western weddings. Consider researching weddings from countries or cultures different from your own, and what meanings they have, and perhaps you can "borrow" an idea from another culture if it better expresses your personalities.
- Tradition 5: Not seeing each other before the ceremony.
- Modern Idea: Several of our couples have incorporated a special pre-ceremony "first-see" moment and outdoors tour for creative portraiture. By scheduling an hour or two with us before the ceremony, we have been able to capture some absolutely stunning moments with couples in settings from urban alleyways to floral parks, and everything in between. Couples that do this often feel more relaxed throughout the day and also realize they get to see each other "for the first time" twice: first a private moment together, and again at the ceremony with their guests.
Whether you decide to go traditional or not, your wedding will be best remembered by your unique personal expressions.