Ever find yourself sitting in the middle row at a wedding, wondering why the heck the bride’s family has to sit on one side and the groom’s family on the other? Or why the bride’s perfectly airbrushed face is covered with a veil?
Weddings are congested with old school traditions that are outdated, inexplicable and simply odd. We live in a time when everyone wants to be different. Yet, our weddings all look the same and feel as though they belong in the 1920s.
I’ve been working as a professional bridesmaid for over a year and a half. “Professional Bridesmaid” isn’t just a word I slapped on as a nickname for myself and my weekends as always the bridesmaid
for my dear friends, it’s my job. Strangers, from all over the country, hire me to be their bridesmaid. After sashaying down the aisle and spending a few hundred hours on the phone with over 40 brides last year, I found myself surrounded – or should I say – haunted by some pretty bizarre wedding traditions.
I even asked a bride once, who insisted that her guest throw rice as her and her new hubby exit the ceremony, why she wanted so dearly to hold on to that tradition? She simply replied, “It’s tradition and when you want your wedding to go perfectly, you do what others have done again and again so well.”
Weddings shouldn’t be perfect. They should personal. They should be filled with things that have meaning and those things shouldn’t be the same as what your great grandparent’s did at their own wedding shindig.
It’s time to kick the old-school traditions to the curb and cut them out of the game plan for the biggest day of your life. Wondering which ones you should cross off your wedding list ASAP? Here are eight that I give you the A-OK to wave goodbye to.
- Not Seeing Each Other Before the Wedding
Back in the day of arranged marriages, it was known as bad luck if the bride and groom saw each other before the ceremony. People though that if they locked eyes before walking down the aisle, they would change their minds and run for the hills. Nowadays, why wait for the first look to be in front of 350 guests? Wedding planners and photographers beg couples to do their first look ahead of time and delete that tradition from their head.
Why’s that? Logistics. If they see each other before the wedding, that means they can get a couple hundreds photos together before all the guests arrive and start smooching them hello.
- Tossing the Bouquet
In the 14th
century (anything from the 14th
century should long be retired by now) there was a myth that anything the bride touched was lucky. So all the wedding guests would chase after her and tear off a piece of her dress as a good luck charm. That tradition stopped once brides met Vera Wang and took out mini loans to fund their white gowns. So the tradition morphed into guests just trying to get their hands on the brides bouquet, in hopes of being the next one to say “I Do” (more like ah-choo if you’re like me and allergic to flowers).
I’ve caught the bouquet 12 times and I’m still very active on my Tinder account.
- Wearing a Veil
This one dates back to Roman times and was said that when a bride wore a veil she fought off evil spirits. I don’t think wearing a veil, these days, will prevent your ex-boyfriend from 2-years ago to show up and crash your ceremony or from having your Great Aunt Bertha from blurting out something embarrassing during your vows because her hearing aid is turned off and she doesn’t realize she’s screaming. Do away with what looks like a bee’s net hanging over your face and instead, opt in for something more modern – a headband or a hairclip. As a bride, you spend a lot of dollars paying to get your face airbrushed and fake eyelashes glued to your eyelid. Why hide your wedding glam look for even twenty minutes?
- The Bride’s Family Shelling Out the Cash for the Wedding
This tradition goes back to the days of dowries – bet that’s a word you haven’t heard in a very long time. But since the topic of money has a fun way of getting everyone’s panties in a twist, just know that the bride’s family is no longer responsible for picking up the check. When it comes to who is paying for the party of a lifetime, the bill can be grabbed by both the bride and grooms family or just the bride and the groom themselves.
- Thinking it Has to Be Diamond
Not a huge fan of diamonds? You don’t have to get a diamond engagement ring. The whole idea of diamonds being forever was just a giant marketing campaign put on by De Beers diamonds in the 1940’s. Before that, brides just wore rings – sometimes with small locks on them – indicating that they belonged to their husbands.
So if diamonds aren’t your thing, don’t feel bad about not saying yes to the stone. If you want a ring (don’t get one with a lock…please) you can pick a different kind of stone, like your birthstone or something that means more to you than what you’ve been told for centuries means love.
Consider skipping the ring altogether and get a finger tattoo or use the money that you would have spent on a ring for an adventure travel fund or a new house.
- Giving Out Wedding Favors
You’re putting on the party of a lifetime. One that will cost you more money than you probably have in your bank account. That alone is the party favor. You may find yourself shelling out a couple hundred bucks on individual packages of coffee beans or bottle openers that most people will be too drunk, too full or too tired to grab on their way home.
- Wearing a White Dress
You know how people say you shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day? Well maybe you shouldn’t wear a white dress to your wedding anymore. That’s because the tradition is solely based on bride’s wearing the color as a symbol of their purity. But times have changed and whether or not you’re walking down the aisle as a virgin or not, that shouldn’t be anyone’s business. You can go bright and bold with your wedding dress color. Wedding dress designers are trying to help you wave goodbye to the color white and now make dresses that are ombre, pink, black, and blue.
- Your Bridesmaids Should Match
When else does a group of semi-grown up friends match? It’s uncomfortable, limiting, and also a little bit strange. Last year I had to wear a purple polyester dress as a bridesmaid, alongside 5 other women wearing the exact same thing. We looked like we were in a show choir or as extras in a Broadway musical. We didn’t look like strong, independent, women who have different personalities, thoughts, styles.
The reason behind bridesmaid’s matching goes back to ancient Roman times, when it was said that a party of ten people had to match the bride and groom to help them fight off evil spirits. The only thing a matching group of bridesmaids is going to scare off, these days, is their own shadow as they parade around the hotel for pre-wedding photos.
Plus, your bridesmaids will love you even more if you don’t make them match and even if you let them pick out the dress themselves. You know what they say? Happy bridesmaid, happy bride.