At Young Hip & Married, we always preach: your wedding, your way. We believe every element you add into your day should represent who you are and speak to you as a couple. And that includes any wedding traditions you decide to include.
How did wedding traditions become traditions? Someone decided to do something, someone else copied them and no one questioned it for years and years. If you ask us, that’s not a good enough reason to include something in your wedding!
You don’t need to keep all of the wedding traditions in your wedding in order to get married. You can still have a beautiful wedding by going against the grain and doing your own thing. Below are 13 wedding traditions you can absolutely skip if you want to. Don’t love them? Throw them out!
The big wedding
You do not have to have the big wedding in order to get married. If the idea of planning a party for hundreds of people stresses you (or your wallet) out, don’t do it. You can absolutely plan an intimate wedding with just your closest loved ones or even an elopement with just you two!
Pre-wedding parties traditionally include an engagement party, bachelor and bachelorette parties, bridal showers and more. But all of those parties are totally optional. You’re allowed to get married without having an alcohol-infused bachelorette weekend in Vegas. If it’s not your thing, don’t do it. Or change these events so that they fit your style. Trade the cigars and strip club for BBQ and go-karting if that’s more your bachelor party style.
Inviting people you don’t want to
One of the oldest and strongest wedding traditions is inviting people to your wedding party who you don’t actually want to be there. You do not have to invite people to your wedding just because they invited you to theirs. You don’t have to invite people just because your parents want them there. You don’t have to invite people just because you work with them, went to school with them or even if you’re related to them.
Everyone at your wedding should bring you joy and add to your love. You shouldn’t have to fake smile at any obligation guests (as Bridechilla founder, Aleisha, calls them) on your wedding day.
Spending the night before apart
Wedding traditions tell us that the couple needs to spend the night before their wedding apart. But…why? If you’re like most couples getting married, you likely already live together and have been intimate together long before your wedding day. So why can’t you spend the night before together? Wouldn’t it be awesome to wake up with your spouse-to-be on your wedding day? If you think you might be anxious the morning of, who better to calm your nerves than your best friend and future spouse?
Flower girls and ring bearers
Yes, flower girls and ring bearers can be adorable. But if you don’t have any children in your life that you’re close to, don’t force this wedding tradition to happen. Coordinating kids in a wedding party can be a nightmare. It can also be very overwhelming for young kids to have to perform in front of a big group. They can cry, throw a tantrum, refuse to go down the aisle and kick up a fuss during photo time. Who wants that?
Plus, more people in your wedding party just means more money for you. And whatever you do, don’t actually give any young child your wedding rings before the ceremony. Odds are those rings won’t make it to you!
That’s right – even the wedding party can be crossed off your list of wedding traditions. If you don’t like the idea of choosing between friends, forcing them into matching outfits and asking them to pose for photos, you don’t have to do. You can skip the wedding party altogether or change it up to suit you.
Giving the bride away
You don’t need us to tell you that this is one of the most outdated wedding traditions. Handing the bride over like property from father to new husband gives most couples the icks. We get it. So, skip it! You don’t have to throw out the bride’s walk all together but you can change up the processional. Check out this link for some awesome processional options.
Registering for stuff you don’t need
Back in the day, couples got married young and moved from their parent’s home into their first house together. These days, many couples already live together or have lived on their own pre-marriage. So why are we still being told we have to run through IKEA and register for every blender, microwave and towel set available?
If you already have your home established, you don’t need to register for more stuff. Instead, register for things you really want – like a gift card to your favourite restaurant, a scuba diving trip on your honeymoon or relationship coaching to help enrich your marriage!
Bouquet and garter toss
Can we just say it? It’s weird that we force all of our single friends to stand in a bunch and fight over a bouquet or a garter in hopes of getting married next. It’s awkward for single people to be singled out (pun intended). And why are we saying that marriage is the ultimate prize? If someone is perfectly happy being single, why do they need to fight for the prize of being married next?
And then, if that weren’t weird enough, we have the process of getting the garter. Who decided it would be appropriate to climb under someone’s dress and remove an article of clothing with our teeth? In front of all of our guests, including grandma? Yikes!
Guys speaking first
Wedding traditions dictate that the men speak first. Traditionally, men say their vows first and only the groom, not the bride, gives a toast at the reception. But if that doesn’t sound right to you, mix it up! Infuse a little bit more feminist power into your wedding.
White dress and black tux
When you think of wedding attire, you probably picture a full white dress and a sleek black tuxedo. But you know what, you don’t have to wear that. You can wear whatever you want to tie the knot – wedding traditions be damned! If you’re most comfortable in pants instead of a dress, go for pants. And if you feel gorgeous in a plaid shirt or leather jacket, include that in your wedding day outfit!
Traditionally, a couple’s first night together is their wedding night. And even though that isn’t the case for most couples anymore, many couples still feel the pressure to have sex on their wedding night. But let us just remind you: the success of your marriage is not dependant on whether or not you do the deed on your wedding night. You can still have a very happy and intimate marriage even if you skip out on wedding night sex.
Honeymoon right away
Wedding traditions tell us that right after the wedding, the couple must get into a limo and drive off to the airport to go on an extravagant honeymoon vacation. But for many couples, that’s just not an option. It’s hard to pay for a big vacation after just having paid for a wedding. And it’s hard to get time off if you already had to take some time off for the wedding.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going on your honeymoon later. You could even make it a one year anniversary trip! Or you could do a mini-moon and just spend a few days at a local hotel or go on a weekend getaway. Lastly, you can put your honeymoon on your wedding registry and have guests contribute to your honeymoon (instead of buying you another toaster).
You can skip anything you’re doing if the only reason you’re doing it is because you think you should be. Truth is: you don’t have to. If you don’t want to add certain wedding traditions, skip them. At the end of the day, to get married you only need yourself, a willing partner, your marriage licence and an officiant (that’s us!). Everything else you add is up to you and should be meaningful and bring you joy. If you’re only doing something because that’s what your cousin did at her wedding or what you saw in a magazine, we totally give you permission to drop it.
Wedding traditions are those things we see at almost every wedding and don’t even blink an eye at: the cake cutting, the flower girl, the bouquet toss, etc. But at some point it’s important to ask yourself, “Why are we including this in our wedding?” If the tradition doesn’t resonate with you, get rid of it! You don’t need to keep something in your wedding just because most people do.
But if you do want to include some classic wedding traditions, that’s great! We’re not anti wedding traditions. We’re just anti anything in your wedding that doesn’t feel like you. But if you love some of these wedding traditions and can find personal meaning in them, absolutely include them in your big day!
What wedding traditions will you be skipping?
written by Riana Ang-Canning
feature image by Emily Nicole Photos