Bucking wedding tradition? You're not alone! Brides and grooms in 2022 are ditching standard wedding customs left and right. In reality, you'd be surprised how few wedding traditions are actually still considered ‘standard etiquette'.
From not doing a first look to having the bride's family pay for the wedding, there are plenty of wedding traditions and etiquette practices that are no longer considered standard. Yes, you can walk down the aisle together. Absolutely, you can have your best guy friend be your ‘Man of Honor'.
Weddings have evolved over the years. We're sharing which customs our expert wedding pros deem ‘outdated expectations' and which stay as standard etiquette.
Mix up the wedding party genders—or nix them entirely!
“We love that couples are now opting to include their ride-or-die BFFs in their wedding party regardless of gender identity or expression. Forget sticking to the traditional “bridesmaids” and “groomsmen” roles and embrace a gender-neutral “I Do Crew”! From Men of Honor to bridesmates, anything goes when it comes to your wedding entourage. And this applies to the bach parties, too.
However, if the thought of wedding party attire and logistics makes your head spin, don't have one! Make a statement by standing solo with your partner at the ceremony. You can even ask your VIP guests to wear your wedding colors as a symbol of their special place in your hearts. Or just opt for a Dog of Honor and Best Pup!” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide
Change up your dress code.
“When it comes to your wedding, you can observe some traditions or you can throw them out the window and do it your way. From venues to vows, over the last couple of years people have found more ways to get married their own way. One thing that continues to evolve is the dress code.
If you want to have a big black-tie wedding in a classic tuxedo, go for it. Want to get married in the backyard in a casual blue suit with no tie? Go for it. If you want to get creative and mix up all the suit and accessory colors of you and your wedding party for a colorful lineup, go for it. When it’s your day, it’s your rules, so have fun with it.” – Matt Ramirez, SVP of Marketing, Generation Tux
Walk down the aisle with your mother, father figure, sister, etc.
“Traditionalism does not have to be the standard but one of my favorite wedding trends is seeing a bride walk down the aisle with her father! Family dynamics have changed a bit. So, brides (and grooms) can be walked down by their mother, sibling, father figure, or close friend. Walking a bride or groom down the aisle symbolizes them getting ready to start their own family. It's a tradition, I'd like to see stick around even if there is a little twist on it!” – Taylor Brione Ballard, CWP, Experiences By Taylor Brione
Throw out the standard wedding timeline.
“Don't feel the need to abide by the standard template timeline! Are you a morning person? Take advantage of that golden hour sunrise for your ceremony! Want to end the night early so you can steal away your spouse for a romantic night alone? Go for it! Want to have your ceremony privately, on another day, and just have a free-for-all reception party on your wedding day. That's cool, too! Planning to cut the cake and kick off that first dance before dinner to get photos in better light? Your photographer will thank you! You do not have to include all the standard to-dos on your wedding day in any particular order.” – Claire Eliza, Editor-in-Chief of Bridal Musings
No need to save the top layer of your cake.
“Instead, order a replica of your wedding cake for the first anniversary. Over the years, we’ve had fewer and fewer couples save the top tier of their wedding cake. Instead of continuing that tradition, newlyweds are ordering a replica of their wedding cake.” – Randi Smith, Sugar Euphoria
Take a latermoon.
“It used to be that you got married, woke up the next day with your newly-minted spouse, and immediately jetted off to your honeymoon. But nowadays, it's all about the latermoon! Weddings are expensive enough, so don't hesitate to wait a few months—or even years—to enjoy that post-wedding getaway.” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide
Have a variety of desserts, not just the cake.
“It was a long-held tradition that every guest should have a slice of wedding cake. But, that idea has become less popular over the years. Couples are opting to provide their guests with a variety of sweet treats, including the wedding cake.” – Randi Smith, Sugar Euphoria
Choosing an alternative date or season.
“We're all about the rise of the winter wedding. And, receiving an invite for a Wednesday night wedding? Hardly a surprise these days. With the immense number of rescheduled weddings due to Covid, couples have had to get creative with their calendars when booking wedding venues. Not only are peak wedding dates and seasons limited, but they're expensive, too! We're all about choosing an alternative date to the standard Saturday wedding to save a buck or two. Just don't be surprised if you get fewer RSVP yeses. (And in fact, fewer yeses means even more room in your wedding budget!)” – Claire Eliza, Editor-in-Chief of Bridal Musings
Standard etiquette: cover the food and drinks for your guests.
“I always tell clients, follow tradition or don't follow tradition, it's your day! However, there are some etiquette practices that still ring true. As the couple, always provide food and drinks or alcohol for the night. Don't make your guests pay for anything, it's proper etiquette to provide it since you are hosting. If you can't afford a full bar, pare it down to beer and wine only. But, never host a cash bar, in my opinion.” – Kari Dirksen, CEO + Lead Planner, Feathered Arrow Events
Still in style: the first dance.
“This tradition, where the couple dances their first dance as spouses, in front of their friends and family, will be a tradition that lives on! While they may get creative on the dance floor, first dances will still be relevant!” – Vanessa Hicks, Vanessa Hicks Photography
Trending once again: paper invitations.
“After all this time…long live the paper invitation! I'm a sucker for the experience. So, the practice of sending a guest something physical to open is still high on my list of etiquette norms. Long live the paper invitation! There are so many ways to personalize this part of your wedding. It's the first impression that guests have of your event. The weight of the paper, and whether or not it includes details like foil, letter pressing, and envelope liner, or other textures all are little touches that can have a big impact on your recipients.” – Ashley Lachney, Owner of Alston Mayger Events
Ditching the old and looking to start new wedding traditions? Here are 11 unique wedding customs you may have never seen before.
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.