Wedding day traditions make for good jumping off points, but don’t feel pressured to follow any formulas on your big day. If you’re reviewing your wedding plans and something seems a bit out of place, feel free to ditch it - even if it’s the status quo. This is your big day, so everything should go according to your plans, not someone else's.
Here are a few wedding day traditions you don’t have to follow (if you don’t want to).
Wait for the ceremony to do a first look
First looks can be even more emotional if they happen before you and your partner are standing in front of a crowd at your ceremony. If it feels right, sneak away to a quiet location and stage a first look photoshoot for when you first set eyes on each other. This will give you a chance to really bask in each other’s beauty and there’s nothin’ wrong with that.
Make a “bride’s side” and “groom’s side” at the ceremony
Unless you’re sticking strictly to tradition, there’s no need to separate your guests. Following this wedding day tradition and picking sides can be especially tough for friends who have equally strong relationships to both members of the happy couple – so don’t make ‘em choose. Plus, by not asking them to choose sides you’ll get ‘em mixing and mingling from the get-go.
Have an even ratio of bridesmaids to groomsmen
That’s right! Your sides don’t need to be perfectly matched on your big day. No, it won’t look wonky in photos if your S.O. is flanked by four friends and you’ve only got two by your side. Those spots should be reserved for the best of the best, so don’t feel pressured to add or subtract just to make the number match. The processional and recessional will all be A-OK no matter how many people are in your wedding party. Hey, you can even have zero, if that’s your style.
Wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue
This wedding day tradition comes from the 1800’s, so, honestly, it’s a bit dated. If your idea of the perfect bridal ensemble is an all-white ensemble fresh off the Kleinfeld racks, follow your heart. You don’t need something old, something borrowed or something blue to transform you into the most beautiful blushing bride in town.
Be given away
Most brides are lead down the aisle by a family member or close friend, but not everyone goes that route. If you are an independent gal you may not want anyone by your side as you make your way to the altar. If this is the case, channel your inner Tyra or Naomi, make that aisle your catwalk.
Write your own vows
No, we’re not giving you the green light to full-on plagiarize someone else's vows, but you don’t need to pen your own wedding vows from start to finish. In fact, there are plenty of templates out there that’ll make writing your own a cinch (seriously, it’s basically mad libs). Not all of us were born with the gift of eloquence, so don’t feel bad doing it, either – your S.O. is probably already well aware that you’re no modern day Shakespeare.
Stick to one outfit
Variety is the spice of life, my friends. If one wedding dress or tuxedo just isn’t doing it for you, feel free to switch things up between your ceremony and reception. Tip: you’ll probably want to trade in any super high heels for a more comfortable pair of dancing shoes, too. Bride’s don’t need blisters.
Have a receiving line
While this wedding day tradition may have made it into many etiquette books, receiving lines are not mandatory at every wedding. Sure, it’s an efficient way to greet guests, but you can always mix and mingle during the cocktail hour, dinner and reception.
Have a bouquet and/or garter toss
Don’t like the idea of blaring a cringe-worthy song like “I’m Too Sexy” and tossing petals and lingerie into the arms of your pals? That’s perfectly fine. Foregoing the bouquet toss and/or garter toss won’t ruin your reception. Bonus: if you skip it, you can save your bridal bouquet and garter as souvenirs from your big day.
Have a first dance
Yep, you heard me, you don’t need to have a first dance. If you and your partner can’t decide on a song, or would rather steer clear of the spotlight, you don’t need to christen that dance floor with a waltz. Skipping this wedding day tradition and letting your guests shimmy and shake right at the get-go may make your reception even more memorable.