As a wedding photographer, I have the opportunity to attend a wide range of weddings. I’ve seen it all- formal, rustic, elegant, DIY, you name it. I love this part of my job. A wedding should be a reflection of the couple and the love they share, and it’s so sweet to see how the decisions they make tell a story about what is important to them. I once had a bride opt for a brunch wedding and it was amazing (aka there were waffles). In contrast, I photographed a different wedding in a castle. Long story short, there are no rules these days. The options for venues, themes, and personal touches are endless.Honestly, it’s an exiting time to be in the wedding industry. I have a few backyard weddings this summer and I am SO excited. How special to get married in a place that means so much!? Anyway, in attending as many weddings as I have, I’ve noticed a few traditions that have become optional in the last few years:
1) The Veil
I’ll admit that I went back and forth on this topic with my mom when it came to planning my own wedding, but I’ve seen more and more brides ditching the veil in favor of some really cool alternatives. Most popular seems to be the flower crown, or any version of flowers in your hair (big fan and participant of this idea). However, I’ve also seen a lot of beautiful headbands lately, like this gorgeous hair piece from bhldn.There is really no end to the amount of beautiful pieces you can add to your updo. Just one search of “wedding hair piece” on Etsy will bring up a thousand ideas. The bottom line is that it’s up to you! Want to wear a veil for the ceremony but then ditch it for drinks and dancing? You do you!
2) The Bouquet & Garter Toss
While there’s nothing wrong with keeping up this tradition during your wedding reception, I personally decided to ditch this one! I didn’t want to single out our single friends if you will, and I really didn’t want to break up the dance floor during the middle of the night. I also wanted to hold on to my bouquet as a momento, but if you do choose to do a bouquet toss, look into having a “throw away bouquet” created so you can hold onto your real flowers! Alternatively, you could have an anniversary dance and present your bouquet as a gift to the couple that’s been married the longest!
3) You Can’t See Each Other Before The Ceremony
Okay I may be a little biased, but I am a HUGE proponent of first looks! While I ultimately leave this decision up to my couples, Ilove to point out that having a first look allows you to spend more of the day together! You’ve waited so long for what just may be the biggest day of your life- don’t you want to be together!? This quiet moment alone also gives you a great chance to breathe, shake out some nerves, and just take it all in. The dancing and flowers are fun, but your wedding day is about celebrating your love, so take a minute and focus on one another. As an added bonus, first looks really free up your day-of timeline and allow us to take more photos before the ceremony so you can get back to your own party!
4) You Should Recite Traditional Vows
Now I’ve been to weddings where the traditional vows are so sincere that they are just as beautiful as personal vows, but if I could encourage couples to try any of these more modern ideas, it would be this one. Hands down. My husband and I decided to write our own vows and it was no doubt the most special part of the entire day. We had not shared them with one another beforehand, so we were both so eager to hear one another’s words. I can’t tell you how many people stopped us after the ceremony to tell us how special the vows were- it lets your guests into your love story and also gives you a beautiful memory and your own words to fall back on long after the wedding has come and gone. Plus this was a task we could both work on during the engagement which was kind of fun. Like the idea of your own vows but unsure about forgoing the traditional ones? Do both! Again, no rules. Also, check out some of the crazy beautiful vow booklets you can find on Etsy.
5) You Have To Walk Down The Aisle to “Bridal Chorus” and Back Up To “Wedding March”
Again, nothing wrong with a classic, but processional and recessional music is a great opportunity to share a little of your personal style. Perhaps choose an instrumental version of your favorite song or your go-to dancing song for the recessional. We walked back down the aisle to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and our guests had so much fun dancing along and celebrating with us after the ceremony!
There are plenty more traditions that I could cite here, but the point I’m trying to make is this: it’s your day! There are no right and wrong answers. Just let yourself think outside of the box and you may find that those details become your favorite memories. Want your dog to be your ring bearer? Go for it! Want to carry a bouquet of greenery with no flowers? The world is your oyster! If you don’t know where to start, just plan a date with your fiance and write down the things that are important to you both and then find ways to incorporate them into your wedding day. For example, are you really close with your grandmother? Consider making her a bridesmaid! The ideas are endless! Have an example? I’d love to hear! Leave your comments below!