As a wedding vendor myself, I can tell you there are wedding rules and traditions that give me heartburn. When I hear my couples say their family, friends or even vendors insist “they have to” do something on their wedding day I do everything in my power to convince them it's simply not true.
“My parents said it's weird if my brother is in my bridal party.”
“Everyone will freak out if I don't wear a white wedding dress.”
“My MIL is insisting on a bridal shower that I desperately don't want.”
“Our planner told us we would regret it if we didn't…”
Wedding planner Taylor Brione Ballard of Experiences By Taylor Brione reminds us that it's your wedding day: “You all don't have to do anything just because it has always been done that way. Your wedding day is a celebration of you all and your love and it should reflect that. Cocktail hour before the ceremony? First look? Colored wedding dress? Cookie cake? Whatever you want, you can do it because it is your big day! Don't let traditions stop you all from letting your personalities shine through on your wedding day!”
The advice same goes for fashion. Bridal Musings provides fashion inspiration for color-loving brides to brides in pantsuits and gals looking for that sexy something their grandmother may not approve of (who cares?!) Bridal designer Sarah Alouache adds, “Fashion is a way of expressing your personality, and yourself, so DO YOU, GIRL! Choose a dress that makes you feel confidently beautiful and celebrates every inch of your badass personality! A dress that’s authentic to your unique style.”
To further embolden your rebellious spirit, our friends at Be Inspired PR have asked a group of wedding vendors to find out which other wedding rules and traditions they actually want you to break. And just a note: these are all if you want to break them. If you love a tradition, by all means, include it in your wedding celebration. We're all for it!
Dismantle the matchy-matchy traditional bridal party in every way possible.
“The bridal party should be the truest reflection of the couple and composed of people who love and support the union. If this means that there are seven bridesmaids and four groomsmen, that's perfectly acceptable. Embrace multi-gender bridal party attendants standing on both sides of the marrying duo. Don't be afraid to have bridesmen and bestwomen. Lastly, if you really want to make your bridesmaids happy and comfortable, let them pick a dress/outfit style that best captures their style and compliments their bodies, as opposed to a matching bevvy of bridesmaids.” – Maya Holihan, CEO and Founder of EWedded
Find an unconventional venue.
“Who says you need to conform to a barn, beach, or ballroom wedding? There are so many out-of-the-box wedding venues to consider to turn your celebration into an experience rather than just another event! So break out of the “basic venue” box and find something a bit more adventurous. This could include saying your vows at a festival-style site where you can host your own open-air #wedfest, an intoxicating venue like a brewery or distillery, or high above the ground in a suspended treehouse. The sky’s literally the limit for where you can host your guests, so break tradition by choosing an off-the-beaten-path location!” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide
You don’t need to have a large wedding party.
“Feeling like you have to have a super large wedding party, (or any wedding party at all!), is outdated. With the push towards smaller + micro weddings due to the pandemic, more and more couples are leaving their large herds in the dust and opting instead to let their friends enjoy the day as guests. As a planner, I love this because you and your SO get to relax and focus on each other rather than a large crowd all getting ready in the same space.” – Ashley Lachney, Owner of Alston Mayger Events
Elope if you want to!
“Between the budget-busting potential and the pressure to “please” everyone, there are plenty of reasons why you might not want a traditional wedding. So break tradition and elope if you want to! When it's just you and your boo, or a super-cozy VIP guest list, you're able to craft a thoughtfully-curated event full of authenticity, meaning, and connection—without the stress of having to meet anyone’s expectations. We love elopements because you can invite who you want (or not!), you have the freedom to be your authentic selves, and you can keep things as simple (and affordable) as you’d like. After all, a debt-free wedding is an awesome way to start out married life!” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide
Skip the wedding party introductions.
“No more large wedding party introductions! It's torture corralling and lining up the wedding party, and it can take up around 10-15 min of your precious reception time! No one is missing out on your bridesmaid “fishing out” a groomsman… Just skip right to your introduction as newlyweds to your guests!” – Stephanie Sadowski, SRS Events
Don’t wait for your first look to be while you walk down the aisle.
“I'm always pro-first look! Although the tradition of seeing each other for the first time at the aisle, it doesn't make sense. Given that the tradition was created so the groom could not run away, there's no need to keep it. Plus, if you do a first look, you get to enjoy the cocktail hour!” – Melanie Levin, Owner of LuckEleven Events
No more cake cutting.
“We love doing non-traditional weddings and helping clients to celebrate how they want to celebrate! However, a few traditions I could do without are the cake cutting and the garter toss. Only cut the cake if it truly means something to you and you really want the photos. Otherwise, it's not really interesting to guests. Just let your guests party, dance and have fun without interrupting that with long-held traditions.” – Kari Dirksen, CEO + Lead Planner, Feathered Arrow Events
Say goodbye to white wedding gowns.
“I can't wait to start seeing more brides opting for a colored gown versus the traditional white dress. The tradition of a white dress represents purity, but with cultures and traditions changing all the time I think it should be widely accepted for brides to wear any color of gown (or suit!) like many do in other cultures.” – Melanie Levin, Owner of LuckEleven Events
End the tacky garter toss.
“The number one tradition I think couples should skip is the garter toss! The garter toss is dated and should absolutely be skipped. It tends to be tacky and no one is interested in watching that. I've seen grooms opt-out of tossing a garter, and instead, take a shot with all the single men! I can assure you that no one snuck out of that one!” – Nora Sheils, Founder or Bridal Bliss and Co-Founder of Rock Paper Coin
Don’t feel like only your father can walk you down the aisle.
“Brides don't have to only have their father walk them down the aisle. Consider both parents escorting you down, or other special members of your family. They'll be honored and touched and it'll be a memory you'll never forget!” – Melissa Wilmot, CEO and Founder, WedBrilliant
Ditch the receiving line.
“As a photographer, I do everything in my power to ensure that my couple gets to enjoy their party as much as possible. I never steal away my couple for photos when they're clearly enjoying their cocktail happy hour. And, I'll make myself a bodyguard for fun standing in the way of any bossy aunt trying to pull couples away from dancing.
One wedding tradition that makes me sad is watching a couple engage in a post-ceremony receiving line when they could be off having a private and romantic moment together. You will have ample opportunity to say hello and thank your guests throughout the night. Or, save it for your thank you card later to come. As a vendor, my perspective is that your guests are there for you. You are not there for your guests.” – Claire Eliza, wedding photographer and Editor-in-Chief of Bridal Musings
A diamond wedding ring isn’t the only option.
“Don’t feel pressured to have a diamond wedding band and engagement ring. You’ll save a ton of money that you’ll be able to put towards your wedding, an amazing honeymoon, or really whatever you’d like to. Plus, they’re typically more sustainable because it can be challenging to find a diamond that is ethically sound.” – Lisette Gatliff, Lisette OC Photography
Feel free to move your first dance to earlier in the day.
“Your first dance does not have to be after dinner or late into the night! As a photographer, I love when my couples do their first dance separate from the full-party-dancing portion of the night. Opening up your cocktail hour or reception dinner with your first dance, when it's still light out, will often make your photos even more spectacular with that golden hour light.” – Claire Eliza, wedding photographer and Editor-in-Chief of Bridal Musings
Dealing with wedding planning stress? Anxiety begone! Get loads of wellness advice & expert tips from our Planning section.
These tips were gathered with help from Be Inspired PR, a PR + Social Media Agency for wedding, wellness & lifestyle clients. With over 10+ years of experience, we’re here to take our clients to the next level! Find oodles of stylish wedding inspiration on their Instagram & Pinterest.