I love the idea of breaking traditions. Just remember, it is your day and your way! You can take on board as many or as few traditions as you want. At the end of the day, we live in modern times and we have seen it all. Some couples may choose to keep each and every one of the original wedding traditions from first dance, bridal party, bouquet and garter toss and so on. Whilst other couples maybe choose one or two that mean a lot to them that they want to keep and toss out the rest.
It’s completely up to you as a couple and what you feel comfortable with. The aim of this blog post is to relieve you of the pressure and reassure you that anything goes nowadays. Your beautiful family and close friends need to accept and be mindful of the fact that things have changed and ultimately it’s up to your decision as a couple.
Having an honest conversation if you are forgoing some traditions or making certain decisions that go against the ‘norm’ are important early on in the process so there is no awkwardness and everyone is on the same page.
Children at the Wedding
Including kiddies in the wedding may mean you have flower girls or page boys walk down the aisle, or maybe you have children at the whole wedding and let them join in on the festivities.
But maybe you have decided not to have children at the wedding at all meaning you won’t be having your niece and nephew as flower girl and page boy and that’s totally fine too. I suggest broaching the subject with the people involved early so there are no assumptions or expectations that their kids are coming from the get go. To be honest, I have kids and a night without my kids to let my hair down is totally appreciated so I think the majority of parents will feel the same.
Another way to include kids is they can attend the ceremony or pre-drinks but retreat with a babysitter to a holiday house or something when the night really kicks off, meaning you get the best of both worlds.
In its traditional form, a bride doesn’t see her groom on the day of the wedding and walks down the aisle with her dad.
In saying this, there are often various reasons why a bride may not have her dad walk her down the aisle, and if this is you then I have seen some really beautiful other traditions such as walking down the aisle with a grandfather, or dad and step-dad, dad and mum or brother. Another suggestion is the first look with your groom, where he sees you before the ceremony so you share an intimate moment together. You might even get ready together and walk down the aisle as a couple. Again, whatever your home situation is and you are most comfortable with is what will be perfect for you.
First Dance or Father Daughter Dance
Nowadays, does anybody actually know how to dance properly as a couple like in the olden days? I find a lot of our couples feel super awkward or uncomfortable doing a first dance and many tell me ‘it’s so not us!’ Often people do this tradition to please their parents or maybe you genuinely are looking forward to this moment as a couple. Whatever the plan, there are a few options if you sit somewhere in between the two. Maybe you can slow dance for a little bit eg. 30 seconds and then your MC invites your bridal party up to join in, releasing you of the all eyes on us moment you have been dreading but still appeasing those family members!
If you are planning to have a father daughter dance, maybe you are wanting to enjoy the full length of the dance with your dad or another option is to have the groom join in halfway through with his mum and you all enjoy that moment together. Whatever works for you as a couple.
When we are working out a run sheet with our couples, they often ask what the traditional order of speeches is and who is meant to speak first. I am happy to offer advice on the old school way of speech order BUT I really don’t think that many people follow that any more.
Sure, there are normally key people included but I don’t think orders matter so much or slipping in a person that isn’t traditional that really wants to speak is taboo. I think it’s important to have people you want to speak or that have asked to speak be included.
Traditionally, we are talking about the father of the bride, groom and toast to bridesmaids, best man, father of the groom, bride and then the main bridesmaid. Honestly, every list you Google will come up with something slightly different so just go with what order you feel is best.
The Bridal Party
Let’s talk about the bridal party. Are you having one or not? Either option is totally a personal choice and perfectly fine.
Maybe you have handpicked a random mix of friends, maybe the bride’s best friend is a guy then having a best person or best man on the bride’s side is the best option. Reversing those gender and traditional roles is all totally okay.
You might decide that your bridal party will be uneven with 2 best gals and 4 groomsmen but as long as you don’t have an issue with OCD evenness, then choosing what is best for you is always the best option.
Seating charts can often be the most stressful part of planning a wedding for couples. Who will sit next to who, awkward family dynamics and family members wanting the best seats can also be issues to consider.
You can throw the seating chart out the window and have a free for all if you want, but to be honest, if you are planning on having a sit down meal, I do recommend a structured seating plan of some type. The reason being is that I find guests are often awkwardly trying to find a seat otherwise, so it’s nice to give them some direction so people aren’t stuck without a spot. The last thing you want to have to do on the night is try and find someone a seat.
In saying that, you don’t have to follow a traditional place setting order. At most weddings we do random tables like two long tables anyway so the traditional round tables of ten guests isn’t as common as it was in the past.
We have seen the bridal party sit within their guests, we have seen the bride and groom have their own table, allowing the bridal party to sit with their spouses, or maybe sitting next to your parents instead rather than having a traditional parents table. Whatever works for you!
This is not an exhaustive list of traditions as it would go on for days but we have covered some key traditions and perhaps got your brain working with my key message here – your day your way! Anything goes and it’s ultimately your choice as a couple. Don’t feel boxed into old traditions to please other people. Go with your gut!
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You can listen to this podcast episode here:
Episode 12 – Breaking Traditions