David and I set a rule very early on in our wedding planning: we will not do anything for tradition's sake. We are including elements that personally mean something to us or that we choose to do, but we also have the right to throw a tradition out if we dislike it, have no personal connection to it, or just plain don't care.

This rule can get kinda complicated - almost everything in weddings is a tradition, and there are so many elements that are expected. Instead of just doing all these expected things, we question everything. For example, instead of just picking out a bridal party as soon as we were engaged, we actually sat down and asked ourselves, "Do we want a bridal party? What would having a bridal party mean to us?" We decided that we do, indeed, want a bridal party - there are certainly very important people in our lives that we would like to honor... plus, I want fin pictures of my friends by my side! - but, there are some other things that we've questioned and decided against.

Some wedding traditions have origins that I don't particularly like, thus I have no desire to honor them. Others just aren't "us" while still others just don't seem to have much of a meaningful origin at all. Sometimes, traditions really do just become so because when "everyone is doing it", our society begins to expect it.

(hahaha. We nixed the bouquet toss because I've found it tends to make the "singled out" single girls feel awkward.)

Here's a list of some of the things we've decided to keep, ones we've nixed, and others we're unsure about. I've included quoted text from this site on wedding traditions' origins and my own personal reasons to keep it or lose it.

Traditions to keep.

[1] The Bridal party
"Early Brides and Bridesmaids wore similar dresses in order to confuse evil spirits."
like I said, we want to honor our friends and would love to have them celebrate with us by our sides. I'm not worried about evil spirits coming to steal my bridal soul, but I do think that the pictures sure look nice when my girls are all dressed beautifully and to coordinate!

[2] The Toast
"It is said that this tradition first began in France, where bread would be placed in the bottom of two drinking glasses for the newlyweds. They would then drink as fast as they could to be the first person to get to the toast. According to legend, the winner would rule their household!"
I had no idea the origin of the "toast" was so literal, but we do want the chance to hear advice, jokes, and kind words from those closest to us. We will probably have the traditional Maid of Honor and Best Man toasts and possibly a few more.

[3] Wearing a veil
"When marriages were arranged by family members, the newlyweds very rarely were allowed to see one another. Family members exchanging a dowry were afraid that if the Groom didn't like the appearance of the Bride's face, he might refuse to marry her. This is why the Father of the Bride "gave the Bride away" to the Groom at the actual wedding ceremony. Only after lifting her veil just prior to the ceremony did the Groom see the Bride's face for the first time!"
David has certainly seen my face before, and I'm not going to hide it on my wedding day. I will, however, wear a long veil for the ceremony and change into a bird cage veil for the reception. Again, they make such great photo-ops, and I think veils look so romantic and "bridal". I was originally going to go without a long veil and purchased my birdcage intending to wear it all day, but when I went to my first fitting and the bridal consultant put a beautiful cathedral-length veil on me, I just had to have it!

[4] Something old, new, borrowed, and blue
"Something Old: This tradition symbolized the sense of continuity while making the transition from a single person to that of a married couple. Something New: This tradition symbolized that marriage represented a transition to adulthood. Something Borrowed: This tradition symbolized the popular belief that by borrowing something from a happily married couple, good fortune would follow the newlyweds. Something Blue: In ancient Israel, blue was the border color of the Bride's dress, symbolizing purity, constancy and fidelity."
I love the idea that being a bride has so much symbolism. I especially love the idea of honoring another married couple and taking one some of their success with my something borrowed.

Traditions we're doing without.

[1] The bouquet toss
"it was believed that a Bride was especially lucky on her wedding day. Guests would sometimes tear at her dress for a souvenir piece of good luck to take home. The Bride's tossing of her bouquet grew from her desire to offer a good luck souvenir, and prevent guests from bothering her (and her dress!) during her reception."
also mentioned above. It seems that most people are forced into partaking in this tradition nowadays. I really don't think anyone will miss it. I'm considering gifting my bouquet (if I even have one) to my mom, someone who's been married the longest, or something like that. Now, people may want to take pictures with the bride and get some time with her, but I think they pretty much leave her dress alone.

[2] The garter toss
"Brides originally tossed a garter, rather than a bouquet, at a wedding reception. In the 14th century, this custom changed after Brides became tired of fighting off drunken men who tried to remove the garter themselves! According to one legend, the garter toss in England evolved from an earlier tradition of "flinging the stocking". On their wedding night, guests would follow the Bride and Groom to their bedroom, wait until they undressed, steal their stockings, and then "fling" them at the couple! The first person to hit the Bride or Groom on the head would supposedly be the next person to marry."
This one was the first tradition to go. I don't even understand why people still partake in this tradition at all. Personally, I don't want my husband removing my undergarments and flinging the to a crowd in front of anyone, especially my family and close friends. I think that the origin and what the tradition has become is quite lewd, and doesn't fit us or our wedding at all. I'm not even going to wear a garter. Again, I really don't think many people will miss it.

[3] The tiered wedding cake, cake smash, etc.
"Also during the days of the Roman empire, wedding cakes were baked of wheat or barley. At the reception, they were traditionally broken over the head of the new Bride by the Groom as a symbol of her fertility. Guests would then scramble for pieces of the cake, and take them home for good luck. It later became a tradition to place many small cakes on top of each other as high as possible. The newlyweds would then try to exchange a kiss over the top of the tower of cakes without knocking them down. During the reign of King Charles II of England, the baker added icing, and the modern style of wedding cake was born. It is unclear when the tradition of the newlyweds smashing wedding cake into each other's face first began, and uncertain if such marriages are consummated later that day or evening!"
As you know, we're having a cake and pie buffet instead of a traditional wedding cake. We may cut the cake - because it's a great photo-op - but, we will not smash the cake in each other's faces. In fact, this is something David is adamant about. He hates the cake smash. Also, I'm pretty sure I'm okay not evoking any kind of breaking of the cake that could symbol a good luck charm of my fertility for my guests to take with them.

Traditions I haven't decided on.

[1] The bouquet.
"Wedding bouquets were originally made of such strong herbs as thyme and garlic, which were meant to frighten away evil spirits, and to cover the stench emitting from people who had not bathed recently!"
I'm not huge on flowers, and I'm certainly not worried about too many people being unbathed at my wedding. I think I would like to have something pretty to keep my hands occupied and to hold in pictures, but I'm not sure if a bouquet of flowers is that thing.

[2] Money Dance.
"According to one custom, when arranged marriages were common, the Groom collected a dowry only after his marriage was consummated. The money dance insured that the couple would have some money before they left their wedding reception. According to another wedding tradition, the people of the village gave gifts of pottery, livestock, and garden plants to the newlyweds because the Bride and Groom had no money to acquire these items until they had children, after which a dowry was exchanged."
Some find this tradition tacky, but all the weddings I've been to have included a money dance and people have loved it! I do really think this is a great way to raise money for our honeymoon (I've heard stories of the money dance covering a couple's entire honeymoon expenses!), but David does not like me dancing with other people - he sees it as an intimate act that is to be taken seriously.

I'm sure there are many more traditions that will arise and we will question as our planning progresses. Are there any traditions that you are nixing from your wedding? What about ones you just can't live without? Are you adding any other traditions because they're meaningful to you?

1 comment:

  1. wow. Your research is very interesting. We aren't doing a bouquet/garter toss, no cake, no money dance (I feel similar to your FI).