Just because you’re observing traditions at your wedding, doesn’t mean you have to be traditional. Your wedding should reflect your wants and desires, and that includes adding your own distinctive flair to the more traditional parts of your wedding. Here are some ways to give an updated feel to wedding traditions.

1. The First Dance

Traditionally, the first dance is reserved for the bride and groom. However, it’s becoming more popular to invite all the guests to share your first dance. This means you won’t be in the spotlight in the middle of an empty dance floor, offering relief from the pressure to take dance lessons and rehearse your first dance. This spontaneity is generally much more fun and relaxed than the traditional first dance.

2. The Top Table

One of the more outdated wedding traditions is that of a “head table” or “top table” at the reception. Increasingly, couples are opting for a sweetheart’s table rather than a long table where the rest of the wedding party and the couple’s parents sit with the couple. At a sweetheart’s table, it’s just you and your new spouse, offering you a chance to share more private moments than a top table offers. This is especially useful if you’re planning a less formal reception.

3. The Gift Registry

With the increasing number of couples who live together prior to getting married, a traditional gift registry may not be as important as for couples who are just starting out and building a household. A better option for couples who want to forego registering for gifts is establishing a honeymoon fund. It’s no longer considered gauche to ask for cash as a wedding gift, especially if you can be creative about your request. One option is to offer a “honeymoon tree” with various honeymoon activities and pricing printed on small paper “leaves”. Your guests can choose a leaf from your tree and gift you the cost of the activity on it.

4. The Bridal Party

One of the most well-known wedding traditions is that of the bridal party.  However, with many couples having very close friends of the opposite sex, the bridal party is undergoing a shift that breaks down gender lines and offers roles such as “groomsmaids” and “bridesmen”. The role of maid of honor is seeing stiff competition from the newer “man of honor”. Bridal party roles are becoming more gender-fluid as the lines between the genders become less rigid in society.

5. Male-Dominated Speeches

Some wedding traditions are changing more than others. One of those experiencing the most change is the male domination of wedding speeches. More couples are asking best friends and siblings of both genders to offer speeches during their big day. Asking your maid of honor, his mother or yours to make a speech is a great way to get a feminine perspective on your wedding day, along with some feminine words of wisdom.

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