Do what makes sense for the two of you
When it comes to your wedding day, traditions are all fine and well, but it's important to remember that it is your day, and you want to make it a true representation of your personalities. Sometimes, that means skipping more traditional aspects of a wedding day in favor of something that feels more authentic for you and your partner. And that's okay!
You hereby have our permission (not that you needed it) to skip any wedding traditions that don't feel good for you, but here is a short list of traditions you may not have thought of as optional!
Tradition #1: The First Look At the Ceremony
Okay, if you've followed the blog (or Instagram, or Facebook, or basically ever talked with us about weddings), you'll know that we're HUGE fans of doing the first look ahead of the ceremony for sooooooo many reasons. Check out a more in depth blog post on this topic here. In short though, this tradition is one you can totally feel safe skipping. Why spend half the day avoiding the person you're about to spend the rest of your life with? Why not see each other early and have a nice, intimate moment to bask in each other before the hectic nature of the wedding day takes over, and then knock your formal photos out before the ceremony even starts, so you can enjoy cocktail hour with your guests?
Tradition #2: the WEdding Party
Wedding parties, (a.k.a. your bridesmaids, groomsmen, bridesmen, groomsmaids, or non-binary wedding party pals) are awesome for so many things, including supporting you through wedding planning stress, help with random errands, and generally keeping you sane in the months leading up to the wedding. Here's the thing, I promise, your friends will still help you with wedding stuff, even if you don't have an official wedding party. And here are some great reasons to skip the wedding party concept altogether!
- No paying for occasion-specific dresses and rentals that will only be worn once (your friends will thank you!)
- Instantly lower your wedding florals budget by cutting down on the number of people who will need flowers!
- Less people to plan for equals less wedding plan stress for you overall (you can also then skip things like wedding party transportation logistics!)
Feel free to skip this one, safe in the knowledge that your friends will love and support you with or without the title.
Tradition #3: the Receiving Line
This is probably the easiest tradition (in my personal opinion) to skip! From a purely photographic standpoint, there isn't a lot of visual variety to folks standing in a line getting hugged after the first few pictures, and let's face it, even for something as awesome as congratulating a couple who just got married, people hate standing in line! Here are a few alternatives to the traditional receiving line that will make for better pictures, and less line-waiting for your guests!
- The couple can dismiss people from their seats, allowing people congrats and hug time then!
- The couple can skip a receiving line and have meaningful interactions with their guests during the cocktail hour!
There are lots of fun options that get you up, moving about, and having awesome conversations with your family and friends!
Tradition #4: the Wedding Favors
Yes, I know these are thought of as absolutely 100% mandatory, but you know, other than the getting married part, nothing about a wedding is mandatory. Some people love the idea of giving favors to their guests, and if that's you, then awesome! But if it's not you, remember that your friends and family came to celebrate with you, not for the chocolates, or cards, or whatever other little trinket you could give them. So do yourself a favor (see what I did there?) and skip this tradition if it doesn't speak to you, especially if you're on a budget. If you like the idea of doing something for your guests, but don't like the favor tradition, you can go outside the box and make a charitable donation in honor of each of your guests instead!
Tradition #5: the Dinner
Cake and punch receptions are gaining popularity again for a reason. Dinners are super expensive, and as lovely as they are, if you're on a budget, or wanting a more casual wedding day, don't be afraid to opt for the cake and punch or an hors d'oeuvres only reception. Just make sure to let people know what to expect ahead of time.
Tradition #6: the Wedding Cake
When we think of weddings, we pretty instinctively think of wedding cakes as being quintessential, but take it from me, a person who doesn't like cake all that much, there are so many other options! There are pies, cookies, brownies, ice cream, and other pastries to choose from. So if you're not a cake person either (hi-five!) you're not alone, and you don't need to suffer through cake at your wedding. Pick your favorite dessert, and have at it!
Tradition #7: the First Dances
You don't have to do anything you want on your wedding day, and if you're not a big fan of public dancing, don't feel pressured to have first dances, or any dances at all! First dances are a great opportunity for pictures, but then again, so are wedding trivia games, lip-synch competitions, and lawn games! So if dancing isn't your thing, it's cool! Figure out what your thing is, and celebrate with your sweetheart and your guests the way that makes you feel comfortable.
If you take anything away from this post, let it be that it's your party and you can do, or not do, what you want. Make your wedding as unique as the two of you, and you won't be able to help having an amazing and memorable day, that you can take joy in for the rest of your lives!