Breaking Wedding Traditions: Doing What Works for You as a Couple

Image via Zola

In today’s world of modern weddings, brides, grooms and queer couples are seeking out unique ways to celebrate their wedding day, and for many, hosting a more inclusive celebration is top of mind. Gender-focused wedding traditions of decades past are now being reimagined as couples put more thought and care into hosting a ceremony that truly aligns with their values.

Read on for some of the traditions that couples are breaking, along with some tips on how to work through untraditional wedding planning with your partner.

Traditions on the way out: you do you!

Keep reading for some of the top traditions more and more couples are opting to break, and get inspired on how you’ll craft your own wedding day that feels true to you and your partner.

The flowing white gown

If the thought of a flowing white wedding dress doesn’t light you up with excitement, don’t wear one! On a day as special as your wedding day, wearing something that doesn’t make you feel like your very best self won’t cut it. Don’t be afraid to deviate from this tradition! Whether a short dress is more your style or you want something vibrant or patterned, honor yourself by wearing only what you love.

The father of the bride gives the bride away

While there’s nothing wrong with the father of the bride giving his daughter away, more modern-day brides are looking for ways to honor their mom as well. Some are opting to walk both of their parents down the aisle, while others are flaunting their independence and taking their steps down the aisle solo. Some have even chosen to walk down the aisle with their future husband—the point is, there are no rules when it comes to how you want to spin this particular tradition (or cut it out completely!).

Gendered bachelor/bachelorette parties

One of the most popular ways couples are de-gendering their weddings is by doing away with the stereotypical idea of classic bachelor and bachelorette parties. Instead, they’re opting for pre-wedding bashes inclusive of all people, no matter their gender. Joint bachelor/bachelorette parties are on the rise, too—where the bride and groom combine their groups into one big party, giving everyone a chance to be together before the big day.

This type of bash is a perfect example of how couples are moving away from inherently gendered traditions that don’t feel right to them and breaking the limiting barriers of old traditions for a more inclusive event. If you do decide to throw a joint bachelor/bachelorette party, these printable party games are the perfect way to break the ice and bring everyone together in celebration of the soon-to-be-wed.

How to Navigate Untraditional Wedding Planning with Your Partner

We all know wedding planning isn’t always easy, but this can be especially true if you and your partner have decided to challenge the way things have always been done. It’s common to receive push back from well-meaning friends and family who might not understand your vision or why you want to move away from certain traditions.

To help navigate what might be a tricky process, it’s incredibly helpful to set aside time to sit down with your partner and get honest about the how and why of your untraditional wedding. Here are some talking points that can help you hone in on your personal wedding vision and why it matters to both of you.

Create a wedding mission statement

Creating a wedding mission statement is a great way to get clear on your untraditional wedding vision from the get-go. A mission statement is defined as “a summary of the aims and values of a company, organization or individual.”

When applied to the context of your wedding, your mission statement helps to keep the big picture and overall intentions of this day top of mind throughout each step of the planning process. It will serve to guide your decisions when planning gets tough, and allows you and your partner to stay grounded in remembering why you’re getting married in the first place and what that means to you two, and you two alone.

Determine what’s most important

Throwing an untraditional wedding isn’t about throwing out traditions just for the sake of it—it all comes down to staying true to you and your partner’s personal values and doing what makes you happy. Try making a list together of every wedding tradition you can think of, then go through the list and cross any off that don’t feel right to you. If you decide there are certain traditions you want to keep, that’s totally fine—it’s about what makes sense for you!

Decide what rules you’ll rewrite

When determining what traditions you might want to exclude from your wedding or simply how you’ll reimagine them, talking it through as a couple from the start is key. If you’re having trouble deciding, use the wedding mission statement you created to guide the process.

Referring to your mission statement as you choose what wedding rules you want to break is essentially the practice of returning to the “why” of your wedding. Think about each tradition in the context of your mission statement—does it align with your vision and your “why”? This can really simplify the process of determining what to keep and what to toss, and ensures that every decision you make is in support of you and your partner’s overarching vision and intention for this special day.

While there’s no template for throwing an untraditional wedding, it’s 100% possible! Remember, this day is about celebrating you and your partner’s love—every detail should ring true to the both of you. After all, weddings are for couples, not for pleasing society or putting on a show. Give yourself permission to think more deeply about what your wedding day means to you—and remember that any rule you break or tradition you reimagine will only make the day more special.

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