I am a strong believer in making your wedding all about you as a couple, down to the smallest detail. So, you may have guessed that I do not believe in following traditions that don’t mean anything to you. Make your wedding unique. Make it about your love and the things that are important to you. Follow those traditions that are important to you and nix the ones that are not. As Carrie Bradshaw said in Sex and the City II, “Take tradition and decorate it your own way.” So make your wedding tell the story of you.
Weddings are full of traditions from “something old, new, borrowed, and blue” to caring a new bride over the threshold. Almost every aspect of a wedding is a tradition from somewhere, and yet we don’t ever really think about these traditions. Most wedding guests couldn’t tell you why the bride wears white. Most brides don’t know what it means for their dad to give them away. It would also be a safe bet that the majority of grooms don’t know why they are cutting the cake as a couple, or why the wedding has cake at all…other than that it is a tasty dessert. So why do we continue to carry on these traditions?
Marriage, or the pairing of woman and man as a couple, goes back to ancient times when men used to steal their wives. Can you imagine? A man with a club steals you and then you are his wife! Creepy! Then came the days of bartering, when the husband received goats and other goods in exchange for marrying his wife. I wonder how many goats Brett would have received to marry me! Luckily, those marriage traditions have long since fallen by the wayside and love has become the deciding factor for marriage. The ceremony and reception were created to celebrate the new couple and the love they have for each other. I doubt the village had a party when a woman was captured by her husband-to-be or when two goats and a chicken were exchanged, but now that marriage is an act of love and commitment between two people, there is a reason to party!
We blindly follow traditions throughout the entire wedding process. I am not saying that this is necessarily a bad thing. It is lovely to say the same vows that your ancestors have said for generations. It is sweet to carry your great grandmother’s handkerchief on your wedding day. But, the traditions mean a lot more if you understand why you are doing them. The wedding day rituals are more meaningful when you are deciding to include them in your day for a reason. Understanding the significance of these traditions also helps you make those tough decisions. Many times, as brides, we feel like we have to follow the traditions. We feel like guests will miss the cake cutting or the bouquet toss. But once you understand the meaning behind the action, it is easier to let that tradition go if it is outdated or doesn’t hold value with what you believe. It can also reaffirm that you do want to practice the tradition if it resonates with you and your beliefs. Redecorate tradition and your wedding will tell the story of your love and lives together.