Wedding Day Traditions
Rules...Are They Made to Be Broken?
Many brides-to-be are unfamiliar with the traditional wedding rules and expectations of previous generations. Unless you’ve been to a plethora of weddings recently, you may not be either. The great thing about rules is they are made to be broken. Here are some key wedding traditions, and you can decide to follow them or make your own rules on your wedding day.
Wearing A White Dress
Traditionally brides wear a white dress. This tradition originated from the concept of the bride saving herself for her husband. However, these days the brides get to make rules too, and you could wear a bold, eye popping color, a white pantsuit, or whatever you most desire. In addition, the guests do not wear white because they do not want to upstage the bride on her special day. This is not a hard and fast rule, however, and we recently shot a wedding where the bride and groom wore emerald green and the bridal party wore white, so this is not a hard and fast rule, and can be played with. A nontraditional color scheme can be a fun way to make your wedding even more unique and memorable.
The Groom Does Not See The Bride Before The Ceremony
Traditionally, the groom never saw the bride before she walks down the aisle. However, in recent years, the first look has become very popular for the bride and groom to do a photo session before the ceremony. We recommend a first look session if the bride and groom are open to it; it is an opportunity for the bride and groom to have some intimate, loving moments where they are both looking their best before all the celebrating begins. We find that brides and grooms are often very happy and grateful that they took the first look photographs. However, there is a tradition where the groom does not see the bride first, and that is completely understandable and up to you. This tradition is originally based on when marriages were arranged and the bride and groom didn’t see each other until her wedding day.
At the wedding ceremony, traditionally the wedding guests are separated so they sit on the side of either the bride or groom, depending on who they are related to or to whom they have a stronger relationship. Despite this tradition, some people have chosen to mix it up and have the guests sit wherever they choose. These days, some older couples who have known their friends for a long time together prefer the more mixed approach. Depending on your preference and station in life, you have the flexibility to decide which seating arrangement feels authentic to you both.
The Bride's Father Walks Her Down The Aisle
This tradition is based on a time when women were essentially seen as property and the bride’s father was symbolically "giving" her to her husband. In addition, the bride's family paid the groom a sum of money, called a dowry, to marry their daughter. Fortunately, our society has progressed and the dowry is a thing of the past. For whatever reason, perhaps the bride's father is unable to walk her down the aisle. Perhaps the bride was raised by a single mom and would like her mom or a sibling to walk her down the aisle. Nowadays, some brides even choose to walk themselves down the aisle. Some fathers have always looked forward to walking their daughter down the aisle. Whatever your particular situation, brides can now choose how they want to walk down the aisle on their wedding day.
Historically, the best man, the father of the bride, and the groom make speeches at the reception. However, these days the mother of the bride and/or groom, the bridesmaids, and/or the maid of honor often choose to speak as well. A smart idea is to review your expectations with anyone who is going to speak at the reception. You may want to ensure the content of the speeches is also appropriate for grandparents, in-laws, and other guests to hear. Many a bride and groom have been surprised by some unconventional speeches from untrained or socially anxious speakers, so we recommend giving your speakers a general guideline for what you want and don’t want them to include.
Paying For The Wedding
Traditionally, the bride's parents foot the bill for the wedding. This tradition is based on arranged marriages, when parents would pay a dowry to the groom for marrying the bride. However, this is no longer the case in much of the world. Sometimes the bride's parents will contribute financially to the wedding, but not pay for the entire day. Sometimes the groom's parents will contribute financially to the wedding. And sometimes the bride and groom pay for the wedding themselves or decide on a combination of these options. Depending on your life circumstances and the type of wedding you desire, you can now decide which option is best for you. In addition, traditionally the groom's parents pay for the engagement party and/or the rehearsal dinner. Some modern couples pay for these celebrations themselves or sometimes both sets of parents contribute to the celebrations. Whatever you decide, there is no right or wrong approach.
Who Walks Down The Aisle?
In conventional ceremonies, the groomsmen and bridesmaids are paired up and walk down the aisle as twosomes while music plays in the background. When they reach the officiant at the front, the bridesmaids are lined up to the left of the bride and the groomsmen stand to the right of the groom. When the bride walks down the aisle with her father as music place. Sometimes, people choose to have a young boy as a ring bearer walk down the aisle carrying the wedding rings on a satin pillow or some other decorative tray. Once he reaches the end of the aisle, the Maid of Honor and Best Man take the rings to give to the couple during the ceremony. In addition, people can have a flower girl, usually a young relative of the bride or a family friend's daughter, and she will walk down the aisle tossing rose petals before the bride begins her procession. You can choose who you want to walk down the aisle and how many people you want in your wedding party. Some people have chosen to only have one or two bridesmaids or groomsmen and or none at all. Once again, you now have the freedom to tailor your wedding to your particular life!