Wedding Traditions we Skipped

This weekend I’m in the wedding of one of my best friends. This girl is straight awesome and I love her to pieces so of course I’m super happy and excited for her. They’re actually doing something a little nontraditional and having their wedding on a Friday. It got me thinking about how wedding traditions have changed and continue to change over the years. There are some traditional aspects of weddings that I really like and appreciate. For example, I couldn’t have imagined my wedding without my father giving me away, or without groomsmen and bridesmaids. At the same time, I also love when people make their wedding truly their own and leave out traditions that don’t suit them, or better yet, make their own traditions! These are some of the typical wedding day traditions we skipped.

featured image by Front Room Photography

Wearing a veil

The original history of the wedding veil is that it was to ward away “evil spirits” that would surely haunt a young bride, full of purity and virtue. I personally have just never been a fan of veils. I especially am not a fan of having my face covered up as I walk down the isle. Like, heck no! I put all this time and money into looking good for this day, I don’t want any of it covered up! I briefly toyed around with the idea of wearing a veil that was really short and was never over my face but rather just kind of pinned back in my hair. Ultimately I decided against it and went sans veil. My dress was really form fitting (and I paid good money for it) so the thought of anything hiding my dress was not something I was interested in.

Not seeing each other before the ceremony

Casey and I got married in the dead of winter (January 7th) in Wisconsin. It was cold and our ceremony was at 4:30pm and it was already starting to get dark outside. Taking pictures after the ceremony really wouldn’t have been a good option. We really decided to do a first look purely because of the picture situation. We did our first look and then did all our pictures with the wedding party and family before the wedding. I was really on the fence about it, but it ended up being one of my favorite parts of the entire day, and I completely recommend it to other brides. Our first look was literally the only time we were completely alone the entire day.

Bouquet and garter toss

I literally hate both of these traditions so much. First of all, the garter toss. Am I the only one who literally cringes when I’m at weddings and I see the groom go up the brides dress and pull off the garter with his teeth? I get visibly uncomfortable.

The garter tradition originated as a way to prove that the bride and groom had consummated their marriage. The groom would literally open the door of the bridal chamber and toss the garter out as proof the consummation was complete. Um, no thank you.

The bouquet toss was meant to symbolize good luck “romantically” for all the other women out there who weren’t “lucky enough” to be married yet. Pah-lease, it’s 2017. A woman don’t need no man to be considered fulfilled, worthy, or lucky. *snaps fingers*

Walking down the aisle to Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus”

This song literally sounds like a death march to me. I have never liked it. I walked down the isle to Marry Me by Train and it was perfect.

Bridesmaids wearing matching dresses

I let my bridesmaids pick whatever style of dress they wanted. My only prerequisite was that it be some shade of champagne. I loved each of their dresses so much and I loved how they all looked as a group in pictures.

 Having a cake topper

I’m not a big cake person and I really didn’t even want a cake, but Case loves cake so we went with it. We didn’t however have a grooms cake or a cake topper. I wanted something simple and cake toppers are typically gaudy looking in my opinion, unless you spend a lot of money to get a custom made one. In the end, it just wasn’t something I wanted to spend money on.

Clinking glasses to kiss

This tradition has always just been weird to me. We made an announcement at the reception saying glass clicking for kisses was not something we were doing. We did however have a substitute, and put out a jar at our head table for donations to our local pet shelter. When someone donated we kissed. By the end of the night we had raised over $400.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

I have no real reason why I didn’t do this one other than it’s just kind of meh to me. I don’t hate it but I really just don’t love it either.

Where there any traditions you skipped at your wedding?


We’re in a netherworld right now — we and our friends have been married for fifteen, twenty years (and a few longer!), so the only weddings we’re attending are of our mother’s helpers / nurses (both when my children were younger as well as the wonderful young women who continue to help me with our youngest). But of all the weddings I’ve been lucky enough to attend the world ’round, I have always loved those which are the most personal and speak to the couple, regardless of cultural tradition or norm.

A beloved girlfriend’s first wedding had over five hundred guests and she knew hardly any of them (cronies of her parents); her second wedding was a “shotgun” in Vegas, small, fun, filled with laughter and only people who really knew and loved the bride and groom, and decidedly tacky — again, not unlike them. Another very bohemian wedding was up in the Oregonian woods, a potluck. Before the wedding we wove corollas using the wildflowers and yes, the bride and groom were barefoot and blissful. One of the babysitters and her rock-climbing partner got married up in the Rocky Mountains, and their wedding cake “topper” had the groom “climbing” the face of the cake to get to her on top. It could not have been more them.

Back in the ’90s I did one of my MAs in Viet Nam and had a darling (Vietnamese) friend there paint some sheer white silk for me which I had made into a more modern “kimono” as my wedding dress. (The man I married is Japanese. I am not, although I lived there for many years while doing my PhD.) My bouquet was an orb made of twigs with long “tendrils” of woven yellow roses trailing down (they complemented my fuchsia and purple watercolor dress). My partner and I walked each other down the aisle (I am a fervent feminist — no one was giving me away: I was joining this man, but I did and will always belong to only myself) to Lully’s Marche pour Les Ceremonies des Turcs. (My father was a violist so some of his lovely friends in their Symphony came to perform it for all of us — I still get the goosebumps thinking of that majesty!) Our cake’s (I LOVE cake!) fondant was shaped as an enormous ornamental cabbage — it was so beautiful. Our meal was afternoon tea with scones, clotted cream, homemade plum jam (which I’d made the summer prior) and lemon curd (which I loathe but my partner adores), cucumber (my all-time favorite vegetable) sandwiches …. When the guests arrived they were greeted with Arnold Palmers and cones of five-spice nuts. My wedding “ring” is a substantial bangle with embedded diamonds (so as to not get caught), and the wedding guests tittered or gasped when my husband clasped it on my left wrist; he has a Mokume Gane band because he really loves his family’s / country’s history

Next week we are off to another former babysitter’s wedding; she is lovely, beautiful-souled, but also very conventional, very traditional. It will be fun to see how she and her fiance have interpreted things for themselves.

I feel like there’s a lot of pressure to follow all of these traditions and no one ever stops to think, why am I doing this? I love the non-matching bridesmaids (mine matched). We wanted to get married on the beach at sunset (which was close to 8:00 that time of year), so we had dinner before our ceremony and then did a reception with drinks and desert after the ceremony.

some of those wedding traditions are just so LAME i think. especially when you find out the original meanings of them!

We had our first dance to a song by Train! Epic. We went non trad with a number of things, but I think UK trad and US trad are a bit different! Garters and glass clinking isn’t a thing, I think we had a few flowers on the top of my cake but I honestly don’t remember (I do remember how good it was though, we had chocolate instead of the traditional fruit cake and it was divine. Who likes fruit cake anyway?!), the bridal march brings me out in hives so that was instant veto, and I completely forgot about the something borrowed thing. Also I gave my bouquet to my bestie because I wanted her to have it. If I did things all over again I’d probably do things a little differently, but if anything, I’d be even less traditional.

awww, love the idea of giving your bouquet to your best friend! I’ve never heard of that, but that’s a super sweet idea! Also, who puts fruit in cake?! monsters, that’s who! 🙂

love it! skipped the bouquet toss and garter shenanigans, cake topper, toasts at the wedding (only my dad spoke – everyone else spoke at rehearsal), and we had an unplugged ceremony! we also had an uneven bridal party. to each their own 😉 we had a table full of chicago guests clinking their glasses and we had zero clue why they were doing it. someone finally came over and told us, I had no clue that was a thing!

LOL. maybe glass clicking is a midwest thing..?? love the idea of an unplugged ceremony!

Oh my gosh, I LOVE this! I always notice things that go on at weddings where I wonder “why do people do this?”

Things I skipped: matching bridesmaid dresses (I let mine pick their own within some parameters), requiring BMs to arrive at the ceremony hours early, not seeing my husband on the wedding day, throwing bouquet/garter, wedding weekend brunches, wedding programs, and I wish we’d skipped cutting the cake (I felt so awkward doing it…all these people are watching you, but you’re kind of just standing there doing nothing).

we didn’t do programs either! It was super short ceremony and at the end of the day I just didn’t want to spend money on them when I knew no one would keep it/care about it. Totally agree about the cake cutting! and how you are supposed to feed each other, LOL, just so weird to me.

I am not a fan of cake either. We did cupcakes and neither of us ate them either. I hadn’t even thought about a cake topper but I guess we didn’t have one of those either. ? I’m not even sure what song I walked down the aisle too I’m pretty sure my mom picked it, clearly I was not the most hands on bride.

LOL! one of my girlfriends got married this weekend. I was a bridesmaid and she was the most chill bride ever. it was awesome!

We kept things pretty traditional, but I didn’t walk down the aisle to the traditional bridal march. It just wasn’t for me either!

it’s so brutal sounding! I just hate it.

We saw each other before. I walked down the aisle to Into the Mystic by Van Morrison.

No garter or bouquet tosses. No veil. No church.

awesome song to walk down the aisle to!!!

Add Your Comment

Fine Print participates in select affiliate programs. This means that if you make a purchase through certain links on the site or any related social media platforms, may make a commission at no extra charge to you from that purchase. You can view our privacy policy here.