Our wedding is quickly sneaking up on us, and the excitement level is getting real. We’re actually in really great shape, for all intents and purposes, but there are still many details left to figure out. One thing we’ve always known for sure, however, is that our wedding will not be of the traditional variety. We’ve always loved the idea of really making it our own, and we’ve both questioned and challenged a ton of the typical wedding to-do’s along the way. We’ve gone back and forth on a number of them, but following are a few wedding traditions to skip (and feel pretty darn good about, too).
To me, the idea of a first dance is wonderful in theory. But in practice? The thought of slow dancing in the middle of a room with all eyes on us makes us both a little queasy. Neither Justin nor I are the centre-of-attention type, and we quickly recognized that this tradition makes us feel more awkward than anything else. Instead, we’re planning on selecting a handful of our songs – the ones that mean the most to us – without telling a soul. And when the mood strikes, and one of our songs comes on, we’ll have our own semi-secret, yet equally special moment on the dance floor alongside all our loved ones.
There are many wedding traditions that are rooted in antiquated ideas, and when we really break it down the thought of my parents “owning” me in any capacity just feels a little odd for everyone involved. Of course, the vast majority of folks no longer view this tradition in this way, but it still just feels a little unsettling. In lieu of our reverend asking our parents for permission to “give” me away, we’re going to be asking for all of our parents’ blessings instead.
I mean absolutely no shade when I say that this tradition is one of my wedding pet peeves. To each their own, of course, I mean no harsh judgement. But not only do I find it awkward to single out, well, the singles… but the feminist within me balks at the idea that you may need “luck” in any form to find a suitor. In addition, I feel strongly that finding someone to spend your life with is absolutely wonderful, but I don’t think it’s the be all and end all to life. There is nothing wrong with being single – you do you, my friend! On top of it? We’re spending a pretty penny on my bouquet and I want that bad boy to last as long as it can! Ha!
This was the one tradition that we went back and forth on a little, but ultimately decided to toss. We both ultimately feel like they’re one of those things that most people won’t notice are missing. The thought of having to package up one-hundred-plus tokens to pass out to our guests feels overwhelming, not to mention wasteful (and expensive!) The name of our wedding game has always been to keep it simple, and this is one of the ways we’re paring back.
Historically, this tradition came into play when the majority of weddings were arranged. The thought was that if the groom, never having met his bride before, met her before she walked down the aisle and he didn’t like what he saw he’d have the opportunity to change his mind. Again with the ick factor. Instead, we’ve decided to meet before the ceremony to exchange our own private vows in a much more intimate setting. And, to be totally honest, this is the moment I’m most looking forward to.
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I didn’t do any of those things either. Still married, 15 years later.
Good for you for actually thinking these things through instead of just blindly following societal dictates. It bodes well for your union. (Of course, somebody who can’t wait to do the first dance–and when I was into ballroom dancing I met many couples taking lessons for just that moment–or any of the other things you mention, then go for it. As long as it’s a conscious choice, that’s great!)
YES! Everyone needs to just do what’s right for them. So glad to hear that you didn’t have any regrets
I love your idea of “new traditions”. My daughter is getting married in a year, I’m going to share this with her!
Ah, congrats to your daughter! Such a fun and happy time <3
Congratulations! I also skipped the bouquet/garter toss. We completely forgot, and by the time we remembered everyone was having fun dancing and we didn’t want to break up the party. I’m with you on the favors, in general. We tried to use the details of the wedding to bring a more personal touch. For the favors, my husband (sculpture artist in college) made little ceramic bowls for the guests. We got a lot of positive comments on them, and everyone took theirs home.
Oh that is such a sweet idea re: favors. I really do love that!
I would call myself a laid back Type-A… until the day of my wedding; I was stressed and excited and overwhelmed. I felt like I needed to go for a run or row 3000m just to get it all out of my system. Then I saw my husband privately before our wedding and I was instantly at peace. We were able to talk and have a moment to ourselves on our day. It’s not traditional, but it’s one of my favorite memories. You will not regret your choice on that one (and your single friends will be grateful there’s no call out for them either…) Have fun with the rest of the planning!
YES! I think seeing each other before will be much more impactful and definitely ease the nerves. Thank you for chiming in. This is exactly what I needed to hear!
Congratulations first of all. Your wedding day will be the loveliest when it reflects you and your future husband’s values and love for each other. When you look back 30 years later you’ll really only remember a handful of those moments (the most meaningful of course) and all the moments that have come since that make you the family you’ll be!
I love this so much <3 Thank you, Deb
Jacquelyn has always been her own person…. from the moment of her birth. I respect her insight about herself and her relationship. Wouldn’t the world be a lot better off if we were all so wise?
Wedding…four months from today..I can’t wait. It will truly be theirs..their day!!!
I love this so much….what a great ma you have xx
:) Kendall, she’s the actual best
We skipped all of those things except the favors. My husband hand made 100 one of a kind screen prints of our scenic wedding venue, so I was just happy that he had an opinion on something and wanted to contribute! The guests seemed to really like the personal touch and we even received a thank you note from a guest in regards to the favor. We skipped cake cutting (we had pie instead of cake) as well as the send off. We were all riding a chairlift down a mountain and figured that was send off enough! As cliched as it sounds, it is your day. Do what represents the both of you and your guests shouldn’t be surprised.
YES! I love the idea of the personal touch – if we were doing them we’d for sure fo that route. I love that you skipped a bunch of things too! You guys are leaving the most wonderful comments. This is the greatest!
We did a court house wedding and then a party for friends and family later on that year – so needless to say, we didn’t do any of these! :) In lieu of party favors, we made a donation to a non-profit we love (and asked everyone to make a donation instead of gifts if they wanted to give). I hope you have a lovely celebration!!!
Love this so much. It sounds perfect to me!
Eighteen years ago we threw all the traditions out the window, flew from Vancouver Canada to the Middle East and married in a small chapel at St George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem in front of 10 of our friends. We then walked around the Old City of Jerusalem meeting Israeli foot soldiers and shared tea and a hooka pipe with a Palestinian family. We had informal photos taken by one of our friends and then we enjoyed dinner in a small restaurant. The next day we left for Egypt for our honeymoon. It wouldn’t be for everyone, and it would be much different in today’s political climate but it was perfect for us. Do what is perfect for you! Congratulations!
Chills. Legitimate chills. This sounds PERFECT! Just as a wedding should be
Amazing! All traditions we happily skipped and never regretted! In the same category as “seeing each other before you walk down the aisle” we bucked the trend and decided to spend the night before our wedding together. After seeing so many friends have nervous/excited sleepless nights before their wedding, I knew I wanted have the best sleep possible. That just happens to be my bed, in my house, with all the things I know and love around me. It also meant that he drove me to the venue in the morning to get ready, allowing us to take a private moment and set up the day in the right mood before all the craziness started. It’s still one of my favourite moments of the day.
YES! We definitely thought about this too. I totally feel like it would ease the nerves. Thank you for your input – means a lot!
I got married 20 years ago this coming November and we did all of these things because it was what you did back then. But if I had to do it all over again (being the more mature eyes wide open and card carrying feminist individual I have become) I would ixnay most of these too. As I have a 17 year old daughter I am book marking this for the future. Not near future I hope but distant future. Great post. One of my faves.
Oh thank you so much – I really appreciate that! It’s definitely different now. I have a friend who was married just 8 years ago and it was entirely different then. I really do feel like folks are starting to carve their own paths and I love it
Where I live, it’s customary for both sets of parents to walk their child to the wedding canopy. But it isn’t viewed so much as the parents “giving away” their children but rather making a symbolic gesture/journey of leading their child to their beloved, to the next phase of their lives. I think that’s a lovely way to view this tradition.
Love that viewpoint <3
Can’t argue with any of them. And…I especially like the last one! Wishing you both, all the happiness in the world, both on your special day & thereaftr!
Thank you, Effie!
I love this post!! I’m a wedding photographer and let me tell you I cringe when I have to take photos of the bouquet/garter toss. I’m also a huge fan of doing a “first look” because for my couples it creates more time for them after the ceremony to actually enjoy and celebrate.
hahaha I cringe a bit myself. And YES TO THE FIRST LOOK. I think mostly it will help alleviate some nerves so we can really enjoy our ceremony. I am easily overwhelmed so this definitely makes the most sense for us
I think it is fabulous that you are skipping some of the traditions and making the day your own. Your loved ones are sure to enjoy your wedding day. More importantly, you and Justin will have a very special day to remember for the rest of your lives. Wishing you every happiness and years of love, ahead. P.S. Your engagement took place on my 69th birthday… yet another connection between us. ;)
Oh I love that so much. Happy (very) belated birthday, Margo!
Congratulations Jacquelyn! We’ve been married for 17 years this April and also didn’t do any of those things! If there’s an option, I highly recommend having your service outside – the fresh air was very welcome in such an intense ‘all eyes on us’ moment!
Ahh I didn’t even think of that! We are definitely doing it outside if mother nature allows
We skipped most of those things when we got married but did have a first dance and made donations to the charities of our choosing for favours. Congratulations on the upcoming wedding, I know it will be beautiful
Thank you, Robin!
We didn’t do favours. We made a donation to our local humane society instead, and put a card on each table saying that we did that.
And my parents didn’t give me away. They walked me down the aisle, and our officiant asked both sets of parents if they will support us in our marriage.
So beautiful. Thank you for sharing <3
Good for you guys for knowing what you want. We walked up and down the aisle as a couple, saw eachother before the wedding and brought 20+ friends along for the fun before. No tosses, no mother/son and father/daughter dances, 13 minute ceremony from end to end and it was one of the best days I can remember simply because all our people were in one place at one time. Wishing you an amazing day, and if I can give one piece of advice, spring for the band…. it is still the thing we and everyone who attended remember.
This is incredible. I love it so much! Thanks for sharing <3
You speak right out of my heart – we are getting married next year too. We decided to spend this day the way we like. So we’ll up to a mountain, in march, hopefully with a lot of snow and all we can take with us is a backpacker. My deepest wish is a lovely small ceremony with our families and closest friends and then having a nice dinner together. No funny games, no first dances – instead just spending time together. After a nice brunch on Sunday – it will be my 50th birthday – we let us drive back down to earth…Jacquelyn I wish you and Justin all’ the best!