Some Traditions That Can Change

I try to be a positive person, but if I’m being completely honest, I’m not always that way. And while I love being a celebrant there are a few things about weddings I would like to see change.

Occasionally a couple will ask me to leave out the ‘obey’ part in the wedding vows, to which I reply, “I’ve never said that in my life, and never will.” We all laugh in relief, and are happy to be on the same page.

There a few other traditions I’m not particularly fond of. The other big one is what is known as the ‘objection statement’ – you know, that part you’ve heard (probably in the movies) that goes something like: ‘if anyone here knows any reason why these two should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace.’ That’s another one I can guarantee you’ll never hear me say.

But those are easy. There are some other wedding traditions that are good for some couples, but don’t fit for others. Here are a few I wouldn’t mind letting go or changing.

Your wedding dress has to be white. No, no it doesn’t. Queen Victoria started that tradition but we’re in the 21ste century. Speaking of white dresses, who made the rule that only the bride can wear white. That, too, is just silly. Wear whatever color or colors you wish!

Beautiful bride in black.

Aisle runners. Please don’t use them outdoors, it’s a recipe for disaster. If you use it indoors it can work, but is often very awkward to roll out. If not completely flat and preferably solidly attached to the floor, it can also trip anyone walking on it. On the grass I can almost guarantee it will trip someone.

Bridesmaids for the bride, groomsmen for the groom. I like the idea of having the people who mean the most to you stand by you. For many women it could be a brother or male friend, and for a man it could be a sister or female friend – why must your sibling stand with your partner and not with you? If you have a same-sex couple the point becomes ever more clear. Would two women only have women attendants or two men only have men – no! They will have whoever they wish standing by them. So should we all!

Bouquet toss. This can cause anxiety for your guests, because it makes a statement that single women are longing to be married and hope to be next. Many women don’t want to be married or aren’t ready.  There’s a lot of great things you can do with a bouquet – preserve it, remove the flowers and give them to people in token of appreciation, leave it on the grave of a loved one, or just take it home. Or throw it but give it new meaning – say whoever catches it has good luck for year! There, problem solved.

The garter ritual, complete with the stripper song, with all your guests watching, can be a little embarrassing, in fact, I’m embarrassed watching the performance but then again, I’m easily embarrassed. Some folks have a terrific time with it, and they’re probably better sports than I am.

The couple not seeing one another before the ceremony. Ok, I’m fine with this, too, but you can see each other if you want to, and the ‘first look’ photo is a nice moment. Beyond a photo op, seeing one another before the ceremony can help calm the nerves and take away at least some of the anxiety. Plus if you take some of your photos before the ceremony you might actually get to go to cocktail hour and enjoy being with your guests!

Spending more time with loved ones? Now that’s a great tradition to establish.


Thank you Lisa Rhinehart –  for use of your beautiful photography!

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