Over time, weddings have evolved from being transactional to more choose-your-own-adventure. Still, many wedding traditions of the past linger in modern times, and couples’ feel pressured to perform them. In response, planners like Orange & Rose Events and A Taylored Affair work with couples to pinpoint what is most important to their clients and empower them to do their own thing on their big day. “When you are in the wedding circuit, every weekend can feel like the same event on repeat,” says Elizabeth Eisenberg of Orange & Rose Events. “Ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and dancing, repeat. This is where we like to shake things up.” Historically, marital festivities have reflected the wishes of the couple’s family rather than the couple themselves. Now, brides and grooms are ditching outdated traditions and creating a fête that’s right for their union. Jennifer Taylor of A Taylored Affair gives her clients a pearl of wisdom we can all take to heart: “There are no rules when planning your wedding.”
The Cake Cutting
“We find that most couples don't want to have the traditional ‘cake cutting’ ceremony anymore. They don't feel the need to have attention drawn to that moment,” says Elizabeth Eisenberg. “Lately we see a lot of clients have the cake cutting moment privately—with just the two of them and the photographer. Some couples don't even serve cake anymore! We are all for a more elevated dessert option. Pass the creme br?lée.”
Giving Away the Bride
Many fathers look forward to the sweet moment of walking their child down the aisle. While this tradition stems from sexist roots, Jennifer Taylor suggests taking back the moment rather than throwing it away completely.
"Giving away the bride stems from an ancient tradition where a daughter was her father’s property until he gave her away to her husband and she became her husband’s property. In an effort to modernize this tradition, I often suggest that when each spouse reaches the end of the aisle they show their support for the other spouse’s family by giving a warm hug, high-five, handing over a flower...whatever feels natural!"
The Pronouncement of “Man and Wife”
The language used in traditional wedding ceremonies historically places men in a place of authority over women. Jennifer Taylor suggests getting to know your officiant to ensure that the verbiage used in the ceremony reflects your ideals as a couple. “Meet with your officiant and really get to know them, because they will be telling a story about the two of you. Don’t be afraid to share funny stories about your relationship.”
The Bride’s Family Pays
“There is a traditional notion that the bride’s family pays for the entirety of the wedding. While this is still the case for some families, we've started to see a shift in financial responsibility for a wedding and it is definitely impacting the events themselves,” says Eisenberg. “When families are covering the costs of the events, naturally they have a lot more input in the big day. This can mean some of those traditional wedding details linger—even if it isn't something the bride and groom want.”
The Paper Invite
While paper invitations are a beautiful way to formally announce your nuptials, couples are opting to spend that earmarked cash on other little luxuries that reflect their interests. “Many clients are starting to question the necessity of overly expensive aspects of the wedding,” says Eisenberg. “An invitation is an important part of the big day and when done carefully, it can be a beautiful piece of the wedding aesthetic. But let's face it, it ultimately gets thrown out. All of that beautiful hand-drawn calligraphy, the ribbons, the embossed lettering, tossed out after the wedding has come and gone—if not before. Clients are less inclined to spend on something that goes into the trash when they can put their money towards something that will impact the guest experience—the food, band, or event favors.” As an alternative to expensive paper invites, Eisenberg suggests using a wedding website or online invitation service, such as Paperless Post, to get the word out to your guests.
Blush Tone Color Schemes
“Traditionally, color doesn't have a big seat at the wedding table,” says Eisenberg. “Whites and greens are usually the dominant forces in a wedding color scheme. We are so excited to see this beginning to phase out. Bringing color to a wedding is such a great way to make it unique. Not to mention, weddings are supposed to be fun—why not start with the design?”
White Wedding Dresses
“Another way to bring in color? The wedding dress!” says Eisenberg. “Lately we've had a few clients step out of the box and wear color on their big day. I'm not saying it has to be a bright red ballgown, but the traditional stark white shouldn't be expected anymore. Usually we find if a client isn't afraid to have some fun with their design, they are also open to bringing in color to their wedding look. Whether that means wearing all white for the ceremony but changing into a blue sequined party dress for the reception or a soft blush gown for the entire night, color is not off limits at a wedding!”
Gone are the days of an endless line of bridesmaids and groomsmen. “We are seeing couples do away with wedding parties,” says Eisenberg.
The Garter/Bouquet Toss
The bouquet and garter toss have long been a centerpiece in the wedding repertoire, but lining up your single friends to fight for an item that deems them the next to marry seems outdated, to put it lightly. “We hardly ever see brides who still want to do the bouquet or garter toss,” says Eisenburg. “If they bring it up, we try to encourage them to steer clear. It is such a cliched tradition that I think most guests are shocked or even feel awkward when it is part of the night. No one really knows how to engage in these activities anymore.”
The Wedding Veil
Originally, a veil was worn superstitiously to hide the bride’s face from the groom in hopes of ushering luck into the marriage. In the age of first looks and couples walking the aisle together, the veil has become more of a chosen accessory than a wedding essential.
Bride and Groom’s Side Seating
"Traditionally, the groom’s guests sit on the right while the bride’s guests sit on the left, but this doesn’t mean you have to stick to the old policy,” says Taylor. “Your wedding will likely be one of the only days that everyone you know and love (from both sides) will be in one place at the same time. Embrace it. This is a time for everyone to get to know each other.”