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wedding traditions

The theme of this post is; it’s your wedding – do what makes you happy!  I  know that can be hard, if what makes you happy hurts or offends someone close to you.  But, it’s ok to let the people around you know that you respect their feelings, but this is your wedding day and it’s important to you that everything about the day is a reflection of your style, your relationship and your values; which includes not following certain traditions if they don’t feel right.

Is it really ok to break wedding traditions?

I am asked this a lot and I am here to tell you it is absolutely ok.  In fact there are a lot of wedding traditions that wouldn’t be missed at most weddings. Yes, getting married does require you to do certain things – legal things, but most of the traditions that surround weddings, are not obligatory.  Which means, if one of the traditions below is causing you grief, go ahead and toss it out, along with any others that don’t serve you well. You have enough to plan without spending time on things that just don’t matter to you.

Need more convincing?  If a Princess can throw out a tradition, so can you.  Both Meghan and Eugenie broke with tradition on their wedding days.

    1. Former Suits star Meghan began her walk down the aisle of St George’s Chapel alone, before being joined by her new father-in-law Prince Charles for the rest of the walk.
    1. The Duchess is also said to have given a speech at her wedding reception, even though brides traditionally don’t do so.
  1. Princess Eugenie chose not to wear a veil which is traditional and she went a step further by wearing her hair up to show off her bare back and the scar she has following surgery to correct scoliosis when she was 12.

Now onto those traditions you can break

His and Her Sides

Often at a Rehearsal someone will ask me, which side of the aisle is for which side of the family.  And 9 times out of 10, the only reason they are asking me this is because it’s a tradition, not because it matters to anyone which side anyone sits on. Which is why I need Google to help me remember – it just isn’t important!  The only seating I recommend that you reserve is seating for those people you want in the front row/2 rows. After that, let your guests sit where they choose – the more mingling of ‘sides’ the better. Your Wedding Day is a day for bringing people together, not separating them.

The Plus One Invitation

Etiquette dictates that if you invite a guest over the age of 18 you have to include a plus-one on their invitation.  From my experience most of you will be trying to cut names off your list, not add people to it.  Inviting your single guests to bring a date to your wedding is not something that is expected of you.

Now where you may run into trouble with ditching this tradition is if you extend the plus one rule to long term partners you don’t know.  This is where it could get tricky. My advice is; stick to ditching the plus ones and if you really need to be strict with numbers, give careful consideration to what it might mean for your relationship with certain people if you don’t invite their longer term boyfriend, girlfriend to your wedding.  If you need to do this, talk to the person involved and explain the situation.

The Bill

Once upon a time, the Bride’s parents paid for the wedding and the Groom’s parents pitched in for the Rehearsal Dinner and/or alcohol.  Today, anything goes.  More and more couples are paying for their wedding themselves, with or without help from family members.  But there are couples who still do have a more traditional arrangement that sees the Bride’s parents paying for most of the expenses of the day, or the bill being split between families.

Because finances can be a touchy subject the best thing to do is be open and honest with everyone involved. If you want to pay for your own wedding because you can afford it and want something lavish or to be in complete control of the decisions, you absolutely can.  You just need to communicate your feelings to anyone who may have been expecting to play a role in helping you finance the wedding, especially if they may feel left out or a bit proud over the matter.

If you need help from other people to finance your wedding, have those conversations at the very beginning.  We talk more about this under ‘Money’ in 3 conversations to have when planning your wedding.

wedding budget

The Bouquet/ Garter Toss

If you are reading this and wondering why anyone wouldn’t want to keep this tradition alive, skip ahead, this part isn’t for you. As with any of these traditions, if you want it, keep it.  I have included it here as I am increasingly finding couples questioning if they have to do it and even asking me, what it is. And whilst some people find these rituals fun and they certainly can be funny, many find it disrupts the real fun everyone is having on the dance floor and apart from that, it can often be, well frankly, awkward.

The Bouquet Toss requires ‘singling’ out all the single ladies and gathering them together so you can toss the Bouquet you paid a lot of money for and have become quite fond of, at them.  Your single guests then scramble to catch it, because the winner is the one who gets married next and we all know that any woman who is single is just waiting around to be the next one who gets married….ah no!

The garter toss works in much the same way, but begins with your partner sticking their head under your dress to retrieve the garter and slip it off with their teeth.  There is a reason why this happens late into the night when everyone is a little (or a lot) drunk. Let’s just say, things can get a bit un-sightly with this tradition and there are some things that just can’t be un-seen, once seen, if you get my drift.  So if you want to toss this tradition, go for it.

Cutting of the Wedding Cake

This tradition is full of symbolism, but like many it has actually been edited a little over the years. Traditionally the couple don’t just cut the cake, they actually feed each other a small piece of cake, before distributing the rest of the cake to guests.  The act symbolises a couple’s commitment to provide for one another and is considered to be an act of love and affection. I like this tradition and if you do too, keep it. But if you don’t like cake or just don’t want to serve cake your wedding for any reason (including the fact that it can be expensive and very often a big chunk of it goes into the bin at the end of the night), don’t do it.  Your whole wedding day has been about demonstrating your commitment, love and affection for one another, so you don’t need to cut the cake to prove that point.  But let’s be honest, most of us expect something sweet to appear at the end of the meal at a wedding, so if you are not going with cake, consider what other sweet treat you can offer to your guests.  Here at the I Do Crew, we love a Gelator Bar!


Are there any traditions you are considering ditching at your wedding?  Let us know if the comments.

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