Today’s guest post comes to us from Australian marriage officiant Josh Withers. Josh passionately creates crazy and unique wedding ceremonies for his couples with a goal to make grandma laugh and the groom cry!
I’ve never liked uniforms, they’ve always felt yuck on me. It’s much the same way I feel about wedding traditions. In my daily job as a marriage officiant, I think that marriage is the best thing that two people can do together, and it’s an event worth celebrating. But I also think that many wedding traditions get in the way of celebrating marriage, and instead you can end up celebrating a wedding, which is like putting the horse before the cart. So please spend a few minutes with me today as I liberate you from decades of weddings and introduce you to a few wedding traditions you can leave at the chapel door.
One more thing before we begin: If you do or don’t choose to include any of these traditions in your wedding, do it because you’ve decided to, not because that’s just what happens or because I told you not to.
Read more after the cut!
Loose the bridal party
Your marriage ceremony requires witnesses, but they don’t need to be in dresses worth hundreds of dollars and wearing a rented suit that doesn’t fit. It’s totally acceptable to not have a bridal party today. The tradition grew out of superstitions that believed that evil spirits would try and attack the bride, so bridesmaids would be dressed like her to try and trick the evil spirits. Apparently evil spirits aren’t smart enough to figure out that the bride and groom are the ones in the middle.
At my wedding, we both had five close friends there, and in the end I would have been better off not burdening them with the cost of a suit and what not. For the girls, still invite your best friends to come with you on the journey, and they’ll probably still buy an expensive dress, but don’t make them buy the same dress as four other girls.
Toss the bouquet toss
The intention behind the bouquet toss was to distract guests from tearing a shred of the brides dress as the couple left the reception, because it was good luck to have a piece of her dress. These days it serves to embarrass single girls and for the DJ to play Beyonce.
Worry not about the wedding dress
White, red, long, short, above the knee, Vera Wang, Coco Chanel, or not. Traditionally, wedding dresses were seen to be the best dresses of that time, but ever since Queen Victoria got married everyone’s been wearing long white dresses. So instead of wearing a wedding dress, wear the most beautiful dress you can find, and don’t worry about the colour. The purpose of dressing up on the day is so that you feel amazing, not so you’re wearing a wedding uniform.
Give away your father giving you away
For modern independent women, there is no reason your father, or your mother, or any other person has to give you away. The tradition is rooted in women being possessions that were to be given to another man. You can make the tradition mean something else, but don’t just do it because it’s the ‘done thing’. My wife was walked down the aisle by her Dad because she loves and honours him, not because we needed his permission or final approval.
Disapprove of parents approving of the marriage
Who gives this woman to be married to this man? No-one does, she made the decision on her own.
Not seeing each other before the wedding
You’ll be no less unlucky if you see your bride or bridegroom on the wedding day before the ceremony. But it might be nice to build the suspense. But don’t do it for luck.
Inviting every man and his dog you’ve ever met to the wedding
I don’t pay $120 for me to eat dinner, so you shouldn’t have to. Any married couple will understand if they aren’t invited — they’ve paid the bills before. So don’t feel the pressure to invite every single person you and your parents ever met.
Dance your first dance away
Do you dance? Is the art of dancing a big part of your relationship? If not, why is your first dance together as a couple an important milestone? Find more personal ways of celebrating your marriage if dancing isn’t your thing.
Throw the garter toss to the wind
As sexy as it is for the groom to go up his bride’s dress and pull the garter off, I felt so awkward receiving my dad’s new wife’s garter on his wedding night. What are you supposed to do with that thing?
Eat the wedding cake and don’t have it to
Two desserts does sound like a great idea I suppose. But why get a cake if you don’t like cake? Or get cake delivered to me. You choose.
The groom waiting at the end of the aisle
There is no reason that the bride can’t get ready early and arrive at the ceremony 30 minutes early like the groom and welcome everyone as well. Why does the bride arrive late and get all the attention anyhow? Or the bride and groom could arrive together. Crazy!
Having an aisle
Why is there even an aisle if we’re not in a church or a supermarket? You do need to enter a ceremony, and sometimes that is nice from the back through the middle, but it doesn’t have to be.
Put your finger on the issue of wedding rings
I wear a wedding ring as a symbol of my relationship with Britt, and so every other girl on the planet knows that I’m taken. (I like to show off). But you don’t have to exchange rings, in fact one friend wears his ‘ring’ on a necklace. Why not just have a necklace? The rings hold no legal basis, they’re just symbolic. So if there’s a better symbol for you, rock that on the altar!
Unveil the no-veil look
Brides look beautiful in a veil, but they’re no longer warding off evil demons. So maybe there’s a different fashion accessory that you could wear on your wedding day that makes you feel warm and fuzzy that isn’t an archaic traditional dress piece.
Don’t get married in a church
More weddings happen outside of churches today than ever happen inside churches. Embrace the creative opportunities by staging your ceremony anywhere in the world. Imagine being married on a rooftop, a mountaintop, on a boat, or in a tree. You can choose!
All Photos by: Just For Love Photography
The most important thing is this: there’s no one way to live life, fall in love, get married and celebrate getting married. So create your own personal celebration and you might even start your own traditions!
Great advice, thanks Josh! For more information about Josh Withers, please visit his WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to his website.
Which wedding traditions do you think should take a hike? How will you personalize your wedding? Let us know in the comments below!