28 Traditions Due For An Upgrade

Want your wedding to stand out? Then make sure your wedding fits your style and personality. Sure there are many traditions you could do, but do they fit you? If they don’t, scrap them – or at least change them to fit your style. Here’s 28 wedding traditions and some much needed upgrade ideas that might just work for you.

Originally published for theknot.com

Can we let you in on a secret? (Okay, it’s not really a secret at all.) There’s no right way to get married! To help you carve your own path to “I do” we’ve rounded up all the tried-and-true wedding traditions you’re more than welcome to skip, replace or upgrade to a new, improved and personalized version. Here’s a ton of inspiration to help you plan your wedding, your way.

Old-School Rule: Brides Must Wear a Long, White Wedding Dress

Make It Yours

Wear whatever you want. Sure, many choose to wear a long white or ivory dress, but for your wedding day attire, anything goes—from a short retro frock to a slinky silver jumpsuit or navy pantsuit. We’ve seen tons of couples put their own twist on their day-of outfits (custom leather jackets anyone?). Make it colorful, make it casual—as long as you feel amazing in what you’re wearing. 

Old-School Rule: Your Bridesmaids Should Wear Matching Dresses

Make It Yours

A bit of real talk here: Historically, matching bridesmaid dresses stemmed less from wanting a color-coordinated squad and more from, you know, distracting vengeful attackers looking to kidnap a bride because of her dowery. Thankfully, we live in the 21st century, where you can marry who you want with whomever you want by your side. If you don’t envision your crew rocking the same outfit, encourage them to choose unique looks that put personality front and center. Unifying the vibe through a palette or pattern helps it feel cool but cohesive.

Old-School Rule: You Can Only Have Two Wedding Colors

Make It Yours 

Your palette can have as many (or as few) colors as you want. The trick is to make sure they work together by using multiple neutrals or colors in the same family of shades (think: pink, orange and yellow, or a palette of white, cream and blush). Some of the prettiest palettes are monochromatic, whether it’s a cool white, a deep green or a bold purple. But don’t shy away from elements other than color, such as punchy patterns, varied textures or even a more overarching wedding theme or vibe.

Old-School Rule: Bridesmaids Are Female and Groomsmen Are Male

Make It Yours

Don’t confine your list of VIPs to one sex, or even friends who are the same sex as you. If you’re a groom who’s close to your sister, make her a part of your crew. Coordinate their looks with the rest of the party with accessories.

Old-School Rule: You Can’t See Each Other Before the Ceremony

Make It Yours

Whether out of superstition or religious reasons, many couples forgo seeing each other before hitting the aisle. And while it’s totally a personal choice, it doesn’t mean you can’t score those cute “first look” photos you see all over Insta. If you don’t want to have a face-to-face with your love before the ceremony, why not try a secluded hand-hold-meets-pep-talk where you touch—but not see—your partner? Or, get wow-worthy reactions from your crew by revealing your wedding day look to your parents, friends or siblings.

Old-School Rule: Cocktail Hour Falls Between the Ceremony and Reception

Make It Yours

Even the order of events doesn’t have to be set in stone. You could get the party started early with preceremony refreshments (stick to snacks and lemonade, iced tea or fruit-infused water if you don’t want guests hitting the hard stuff early). We’ve also heard of couples having the cocktail hour first to kick off the celebration early. Or we love the idea of cracking open a bottle of bubbly during the ceremony or right after for a recessional toast.

Old-School Rule: You Have to Do a Bouquet and Garter Toss

Make It Yours

Not a fan of reception activities like the garter and bouquet toss? Skip them. Instead of singling out the singles, try one of these alternatives. Take your bouquet apart and present individual flowers to your friends and loved ones, or have a bouquet and boutonniere station where guests can make their own. Another alternative option is to have a special anniversary dance to celebrate all the married couples at your wedding. Here’s how it’s done: The band or DJ plays a song and eliminates each couple depending on the amount of time they’ve been married. The last couple remaining is presented with the bouquet as a gift.

Old-School Rule: You Must Cut Into a Classic Wedding Cake at the Reception

Make It Yours

Tiered confections may have been a wedding mainstay since, oh, ancient Rome—but that doesn’t mean one has to appear at your bash. If you’re a pair that prefers savory to sweet or Swiss cheese to Swiss buttercream, then you do you. Cut into a stack of cheese wheels or feed each other from a tower of whipped-cream-covered waffles. As long as there are a few sweet moments to end the night (guests love a sugar rush) no one will miss the cake—promise.

See the other 20 traditions that might work for you… or might not! Go to 28 Traditions That Are Due For An Upgrade.

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