Wedding traditions you can break
It’s no secret that weddings are a feat of organization, so the last thing you need is to be stressing about following traditions and conventions you don’t believe in. If you’re fretting about who’s going to walk you down the aisle or what dress to wear, here are eight rules that you are absolutely allowed to break.
1. Wearing white
Western brides only wear white because Queen Victoria decided she wanted to wear white to marry Prince Albert in 1840. Nearly 200 years ago. Oh, and at some point, the idea that white was a symbol for the bride’s purity (her “most valuable asset”) got thrown into the mix too.
At the time, women generally chose to wear whatever color they liked – it was only the very wealthy that would choose a white dress, to show that it didn’t matter if they got it dirty and only wore it once. In other cultures, women wear gold, red, orange or a vibrant mixture of colors on their wedding day. The point is, don’t let some archaic fashion statement with made-up (offensive) connotations dictate the color of your dress if you really don’t want to wear white.
2. Having your father walk you down the aisle
This tradition comes from a time when fathers would literally give their daughters away, like property, to the men they were marrying. Although this, fortunately, isn’t the case in as many weddings today, there are a whole host of reasons as to why this gesture might not sit right with you.
Maybe your dad simply isn’t the person you want by your side. You could have both parents, or just your mum, or even your friends walk you down the aisle. Or, if you’re feeling like the empowered woman that you are, walk yourself down the aisle either part way or the whole way. It was good enough for Meghan Markle, after all.
3. Saying traditional vows
Historically, women have had to pledge to “obey” their husband, while men would have to promise to endow all their worldly goods to their wife. In a world of feminism and prenups, it may be that neither of these things is required.
The good news is that it is completely okay to write personal vows, whether that’s making some simple tweaks to the traditional phrases to make them more relevant or writing completely new ones. They can be romantic or even humorous – as long as you both agree to “take” the other person as your husband/wife at some point.
4. Buying a particular cake
There are entire guides dedicated to choosing the “right” wedding cake – after all, if it’s not the right size/ flavor/ color/height/frosting/price then your day will be COMPLETELY RUINED… right?
Wrong. Pick a cake you like, or don’t pick a cake at all if you’d rather not. It’s actually becoming more common for couples to choose something entirely different, like a tower of macarons, savory pies or even a literal cheese cake.
5. Sticking to conventional speeches
The traditional order of wedding speeches goes: the father of the bride, the groom and then the best man. Interesting that these are all men, isn’t it? On the slightest chance that you, your mother, your maid of honor or any other woman that’s had an influence on your special day would like to say a few words, remember that the floor is yours, too. This is definitely one of those wedding traditions you can break!
6. Spending a load of money
Did you know the average cost of a wedding in the UK is now over £27,000? It might be worth it for some, but if you’d rather spend that on a deposit for a house, a holiday of a lifetime, a new car or even just keep it in your savings, that’s absolutely fine.
There are loads of ways in which you can save money on a wedding, even if you want to feel like you’re splashing out. You could get married for less than £10,000 using a variety of money-saving tactics. Look for deals on decorations, learn the art of haggling and work out which are the 2-3 most important areas for you spend your budget.
7. Inviting certain people
Whether you’ve fallen in love with a teeny venue, have strict budget constraints or simply don’t want certain people around on your day, you shouldn’t feel guilty about a selective guest list.
If you’re getting stuck, try splitting your guests into lists to work out which people you wouldn’t miss and who you couldn’t imagine doing it without. This article is pretty helpful, actually. Depending on your situation, you might decide to have a friends-only wedding, or just immediate family members and mutual friends. Don’t feel obliged to blow your budget on people you don’t actually want to share your special day – you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere.
8. Changing your name
There are so many reasons why you might not want to change your surname after getting married – and they’re all ok. Maybe you’re proud of the accomplishments you’ve achieved under your own name, or you’d like to hang on to your family heritage. There’s nothing saying that you and your partner have to have the same name.
Alternatives include them taking yours, one or both of you double-barrelling or even putting your heads together and agreeing on a new name to represent your new family.
The fact is, fashions and traditions change over time, even for cultural ceremonies like marriage. The day should be about you and your partner, so instead of worrying about what friends and relatives might think about your special day, decide what gestures and conventions are meaningful to you and ditch the rest. In reality, it’s *your* day– all traditions are wedding traditions you can break.
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.