Most wedding traditions date back to different eras and honestly, most people don’t know how or why they started. As times have changed and we as people have evolved many of these traditions have hung around and are greatly outdated. Whether you are a traditional person or not I encourage you to explore your options. Research the history behind wedding traditions and make your decisions based on that and what is best for you and your fiance NOT solely because it’s tradition. Some traditions are important and some are outdated, be bold and creative and maybe you’ll be the one to start the next epic wedding tradition. I think we are quite due for some fresh ones!
White dress - White wedding dresses became a thing in 1840 when Queen Victoria chose an ivory dress for her wedding day. Since then white wedding dresses have become tradition and are chosen for the majority of weddings. White also symbolizes purity and innocence which for many decades was expected from brides.
Alternative Idea: Colorful dresses - Who says you can’t get married in red? Queen Victoria? White wedding dresses are beautiful but for those who love to push the envelope and don’t see the need for archaic traditions then find a dress that suits YOUR style and not Queen Victoria’s.
Veil covering bride’s face - There are several reasons why brides started wearing a veil to cover their faces while walking down the aisle. The first is as a sign of ownership. The father was to lower the veil over her face and the new husband would lift it when the bride became “his.” The other origin to this tradition was to keep the brides face covered until after the nuptials so that the groom couldn’t change his mind if he found her unattractive.
Alternative Idea: No veil! Opt for flowers in your hair, a cool head piece or a tiara, ‘cause why the heck not! It’s your day, be a princess.
Diamond Ring - According to the American Gem Society diamond rings date back to Roman times when wives wore rings attached to small keys that showed ownership by their husbands.
Alternative Idea: Choose a colored gem instead of a diamond. How about your birthstone? Or your favorite color? My personal favorite is moonstone, I’ve worn a moonstone pendant for over a decade! I keep telling my husband I want to sell my diamond ring and get a non-traditional one cause I love this idea so much!
Large wedding party - Large wedding parties can be fun, but being in a wedding party can also put a financial burden on your closest friends. Some may even be nervous or embarrassed about walking or standing up in front of large crowds. Many times brides and grooms end up with large wedding parties because they have so many close friends and don’t want to hurt feelings by not including them. This can quickly get out of hand and end in HUGE wedding parties. Do you feel like you are in this situation?? See solution below!
Alternative Idea: Designate your set of closest friends and involve them in planning, getting ready, bachelor/ bachelorette party etc just like you normally would but instead of having them buy dresses and suits they’ll never wear again have them dress how they like and sit comfortably in rows close to the alter. You closest friends are still involved and there to support you sans the pressure of purchasing unnecessary items and standing up in front of a crowd. Personally I love this idea! I photographed a few weddings this past year that chose this route and it was low-key and fun. One couple called this set of friends their “dudes” which I thought was great!
First Look at the ceremony - Traditionally, a groom gets to see his bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle to marry him. The idea of your groom welling up with emotion when he sees you is definitely appealing but lets visit how this tradition started. Many years ago when marriages were still commonly arranged the groom wasn’t allowed to see the bride before she walked down the aisle in fear that he would find her unattractive and back out of the marriage.
Alternative Idea: Do a first look! A first look happens before the ceremony. You and your love are all dressed up and ready to get married. Yet before you go walking down the aisle you get to see each other for the first time in a private little setting. We will arrange a quiet area for you to turn and see each other for the first time and capture those first emotional moments. Then we sneak away and give you a moment to breathe and just be together. BONUS: If you do a first look we can do most if not all of your posed family / wedding party portraits before the ceremony, leaving more time to spend with your guests!
Alternative Idea: Forego the first look and get ready together! This leads to a more relaxed and fun morning and you get to spend every minute of your special day with your love. This is a growing trend the last few years and I’m digging it!
Newlyweds showered with rice - Rice is said to symbolize rain which is supposed to bring prosperity, fertility and good fortune…. but it’s also bad for birds. Below are a few ideas to symbolize good fortune in a bit more earth friendly way…. of course if you are getting married in Washington it’s likely to rain on your wedding day anyway, and nothing beats the real deal! HAHA.
Alternative Idea: Toss Bar - Set up a fun little table and let your guest create their own bags of items to throw. Eco friendly confetti, leaves, flower petals, flowers and herbs are just some ideas to add to your toss bar.
Alternate Idea: Leaf confetti, it’s just what it sounds! Use a hole punch to make confetti out of leaves. It’s biodegradable!
Bouquet Toss - The tradition to toss the bouquet and garter started when the bride and groom were trying to leave to go to the bridal chambers. They would toss them and it would distract the crowd enough for them to leave. This evolved into whoever caught them was supposed to be the next to be married.
Alternative Idea: Skip ditching your guests who some have flown across the country to see you and hang out!! People get married on their own terms today not to mention some guests may find it awkward to stand up declaring their singleness in front of the entire wedding.
Taking the husband’s name - This one began in medieval England when women were said to “become one” with their husbands upon marriage. This is another tradition that started when wives were considered property of their husbands.
Alternative Idea: Keep your name….. why not, it’s 2019. If you own your own business or are well established under your maiden name, there is no reason to switch your name.
Alternative Idea: For those anti-traditioners (I’m pretty sure I just made that word up) why not take the bride’s last name??? Never thought of it?? Hey, it’s an option.
Alternative Idea: Hyphenate! If you both want to keep your names but want the same last name then why not hyphenate them. I have some friends that are now the Scibelli-Jones family and before them I hadn’t considered this but I love the idea.