Wedding traditions can be so much fun – the clouds of confetti, the giggles as your girls help with your garter in the morning, the cutting of the cake and your first dance… But they can also be a little awkward. Throwing the bouquet to your single friends isn’t a comfortable moment for everyone. And sadly not all of us are lucky enough to have our dads there to walk us down the aisle.
So when I think of wedding traditions, it’s the new, fun and entertaining ones I love. The rest I can do without! And I’m so happy to see modern couples making their own traditions, and happily ignoring the old fashioned etiquette! This is one time when you might really need to stick to your guns with the whole “your day, your way” mantra – and don’t let anyone make you feel obliged to embrace traditions you’re really not comfortable with!
Traditions rear their heads even before the wedding day. For example, I’ve been to a few combined stag and hen dos – commonly known as ‘sten dos’ – and they’re the best thing ever. For any of us who aren’t into tacky sashes and worrying straws / or expensive European city breaks and alcohol poisoning, the sten do is a fantastic new wedding tradition I can wholeheartedly recommend!
Another modern day tradition I love is that brides and grooms are walking down the aisle together more and more often. It’s a lovely solution for anyone – but especially if your dad isn’t around, if you’re a same sex couple, or if you’re a feminist! In less conventional venues where there isn’t an aisle as such (think festival weddings, or outdoor / woodland ceremonies) it saves a lot of logistical planning (hiding) too! Meeting your partner before the ceremony is also a huge help if you suffer from anxiety – having his / her hand to hold as you walk down the aisle will calm your nerves more than anything else in the world!
The main wedding tradition which endures for me – and I think always will – is confetti. Throwing brightly coloured petals or tissue paper makes for the prettiest photos of all – and everyone is involved. Most couples still do the confetti thing – just make sure yours is biodegradable and bird-friendly please!
There are no rules about wedding speeches any more. Brides very often make a speech on the big day, and I’ve seen and heard some brilliant ones! The old-school etiquette of speeches being the men’s domain is long gone; now the bride, mother-of-the-bride, and bridesmaids will often make a speech if they want to. The flip side of this new wedding tradition is that anyone who isn’t comfortable making a speech shouldn’t feel pressured into doing so. Dads, best men, even the groom shouldn’t be forced to speak if they’re nervous – so think carefully about who’d LIKE to speak on your big day, and ask them to do it!
Modern couples are perfectly happy to only embrace the wedding traditions they choose – so if you’d rather get straight to partying than having a receiving line, you can! You can also happily ditch the old bouquet toss (singling out your single girl friends for an entertaining but possibly humiliating scramble to catch it?) and avoid the first dance if you’d rather not be centre stage for a smoochy number and your guests’ phones all centred on your shuffling feet.
The last tradition I feel I should mention – and which can really mean a lot to your guests – is thank you cards. Whether you send out a printed note to all your guests or a personal text message, this is one time in your life when it will feel so good to say thank you from your heart.