5 Wedding Traditions You Don't Need
One of the first things you’ll find as a newly engaged couple is that there are approximately 45,643,278 opinions on how you should plan your wedding. Movies, celebrities, the wedding industry, parents, coworkers, and extended family members all have their own set of expectations and ideas on what a wedding should look like. When couples try to consider all of these vastly different perspectives, planning a wedding can quickly become a balancing act of other people’s opinions rather than what is true for the two of them.
One of my biggest rallying cries when working with brides and grooms is “you do you.” There are very few things that you have to do on your wedding day (and all you need for that is an officiant, and a couple of witnesses). Everything else is just gravy.
In the spirit of you-do-you, I want you to think about which wedding traditions you include and why you include them. I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face – you only get to do this once, so choose the things that matter to you. Here are some popular traditions that you just don’t need (unless you want them, then by all means!).
1. Garter Toss
While the history of this tradition is a bit sketchy, tossing the garter can be a fun and silly way to entertain the crowd at your reception and have a few laughs with your new spouse. However, if the idea of your new husband fishing for your undergarments in front of a crowd makes you turn several shades of pink, don’t give it a second thought! So many of the choices you make for your wedding will rely on your personalities as a couple. If this one makes you uncomfortable, don’t feel like you have to do it to please anyone else.
2. Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue
What does this even mean? This classic wedding rhyme is engrained in our minds, but where does it come from? According to Martha Stewart Weddings, “Wearing "something old" represents the bride's past, while the "something new" symbolizes the couple's happy future. The bride is supposed to get her "something borrowed" from someone who is happily married in the hope that some of that person's good fortune rubs off on her. "Something blue" denotes fidelity and love.” If that tickles your fancy, then go for it. But if not, cross this superstition off the list and don’t give it a second thought! (Full disclosure: I gathered these four items for my wedding day, had the photographer take a picture of them, and never actually wore them. Oops 😊)
3. Wedding Cake
Now now, before you toss your phone/laptop across the room, hear me out. While cake may be your favorite part of any wedding day, some folks just don’t like cake (I know, I know. I’m praying for them too). If you don’t like salmon, you’re probably not going to include that in the wedding menu, right? So why do you feel like you need to serve cake if you don’t like it? What about an assortment of pies? Or an ice cream sandwich bar? King of Pops? There are lots of ways to serve your guests a delicious dessert without a 4-tier concoction you won’t even eat.
4. Ring Bearers and Flower Girls
(Does anyone else immediately think of How I Met Your Mother when you hear “ring bearer”? Robin: “You’re saying ring bear-er, right?” Barney: “Yeah, ring bear.”) If you have loved ones with littles, close friends you’ve babysat for years, or other kiddos who you want to include in your wedding, this can be a sweet way to do that. However, if you don’t have young family members or friends you want to include, don’t feel like you need to put out a want ad for children to participate in your wedding. This can be a great way to honor and include kids that you love, but if there aren’t any in your life right now don’t go to your local playground to try and recruit. Because that’s weird.
5. A Unity Ceremony
A wedding is a unity ceremony. The whole thing. There are lots of beautiful ways to portray this – sand, rope, a cross, candles – but none of them are completely necessary. If you’ve never understood these or find them odd, don’t feel like you have to include them in order to have a full ceremony. You just don’t. It is more than enough to have you and your beloved stand up in front of friends and family and commit to honor and cherish one another for your whole lives.
I hope you’ve felt some freedom in this. My goal is that you feel and believe that you can make choices for your wedding that will reflect and honor the two lives that are becoming one, not ones that please the many people who may give you their opinion. Remember, there’s really only one thing you have to do in order for it to be a wedding, and that’s get married. Everything else is just fun. So make sure it’s fun!