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I’ve always found weddings interesting, because of their deep relationship with traditions, which is why it was important for us to talk about why some traditions are not really necessary and can hit the road. You (the people getting married) have the freedom to do what you want and when it comes to your wedding, there are no rules you must follow, except to make sure you and your other half are happy with what you decide to put into your celebration and not make choices out of obligations.

So what are wedding traditions? Where did they come from? Why do we do them? As far as I’ve read, most wedding traditions formed over the years from all over the world, in different time periods and beliefs! Some of these traditions date as far back as the Greeks and Romans. So, when you think about it, it can feel silly to think that your decisions today are being dictated by people who decided years ago that you “need” to do something on your wedding day for “good luck”, to “ward off evil spirits”, etc.

Photo Credit: Sharvis Ortega

Some traditions you’ve likely heard of include first dance, parent dances, throwing rice, something borrowed-blue-old-new, veils, your father walking you down the aisle, wearing a white dress, matching clothes for wedding attendants, wedding cake, having a bouquet, doing a bouquet and garter toss, and so much more. All of these traditions have old origins and you shouldn’t feel the need to follow them if you don’t want to. The traditions we follow often aren't even the original tradition and are modified or completely different versions of it! So, why stick to it if it’s mostly made up?

I firmly believe that every couple is unique – your story, history, and love are special and unlike anyone else, so some traditions just aren’t going to work for you and you shouldn’t feel like you need to follow it just because “that’s how it’s always been done.” It’s a beautiful notion that the world is always evolving, so maybe it’s time your ideas of what wedding traditions are should evolve, too.

One of the traditions we put a twist on for our wedding was the 1001 paper crane tradition. The act of folding 1000 cranes is said to be for good luck, to grant a wish, etc. The additional 1 crane is to add more good luck. The tradition I grew up knowing was that it was the bride’s responsibility to fold all of the cranes herself as a demonstration of her commitment and patience during her engagement. I found another tradition that said it used to be the responsibility of the father of the bride and he would present it to the couple during the wedding ceremony. We, as a couple, threw out both of those ideas and decided to fold the cranes with our closest friends and family as a project that harvested all of their love, happiness, and well-wishes for our union. It was symbolic of all their love and support for us over the years being carried into our wedding day and marriage. And while I’ve often seen these cranes made into beautiful flat works of art, framed and displayed at the wedding and later in the couples home, we opted to have most of the cranes strung and used as decor throughout our wedding. I could feel and see our family's love and hard work displayed at our wedding, and I loved that we chose to put a spin on this tradition in a way that felt meaningful to us.

My best friend (and owner of The Gay Agenda Collective herself), Zabrina and her wife Ipo decided to take the first dance tradition and make it their own by asking their wedding party (myself included) to do a choreographed dance alongside them. This was a fun way to take a sometimes awkward, weird first dance tradition and make it into something unique, memorable, and truly your own. It was an experience I will never forget participating in and a bonding experience since we all learned this very intricate dance choreography in the matter of a few days before the wedding!

The traditions you decide to change, replace, or make up don’t have to be elaborate or crazy. Here are just a few slight changes to some traditions you could try.

  • Instead of inviting only single women up for the bouquet toss and putting all your single girlfriends on blast, you could invite all of your single friends or even non-single friends to catch the bouquet in the name of love, or something not marriage related. Another idea is to NOT throw your very expensive and beautiful bouquet you probably really love.

  • Do a bouquet or garter scavenger hunt to make the challenge that much more fun!

  • I’m not a fan of cake, so if you’re not either, consider a dessert bar of the kinds of dessert you like, donuts, pastries, cookies, smores, etc. Or maybe you both love boba. Do a boba bar is as a fun twist.

  • Instead of waiting to see your partner at the altar, you could do a first look prior to the ceremony, get ready together, or even just do a private moment prior to the ceremony where you read your vows to one another.

  • Do a first look with your wedding party or your parents

  • Take a moment after the ceremony alone to read your vows privately

Photo Credit: Peter H Weddings

Non-traditional tea ceremony - maybe you want to incorporate a tea ceremony into your wedding because it is a traditional aspect of one or both of your cultures, or maybe having tea is special to you and your partner, or significant to the way you met, either way you don’t need to follow the tradition to the tee (or tea), but you can pick and choose aspects of the tradition that work for you.

  • Don’t wear white, if you love a certain color, go ahead and wear that instead! Wear a jumpsuit, two-piece outfit, go more casual or formal. Wear what makes you happy.

  • Instead of having a grand exit, you could have all your guests leave and do a last dance alone in the space with just you both and the photographer.

Don’t forget, you have the freedom to do what you want on your wedding day, so make up new traditions to pass down in your family. There are no limitations to and what you can do on your wedding day! Have fun with it and make it your own.

Other Artists Featured in this Post: The Singlers Photography Need some help sifting through the different traditions that you are wanting to include in your wedding? Letʻs have a chat and see how we can help make your dream day a reality

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