Written by Bethany, PA to Luke Granger Photography
When it comes to planning a wedding, couples often find that pretty much everyone they know suddenly decides to input their opinion on how you 'should' have your wedding day. You get friends getting bitchy when you say children aren't invited, Auntie Hilda harping on about how you really shouldn't be wearing white and Mum saying its crime that you have chosen not to invite your old dinner lady who she bumped into last week in Tesco.
"...but darling you were so close, you saw her every day"
Can you relate?
Well in the spirit of doing things your way, I thought I would discuss a few wedding traditions, whilst sharing how so many couples across the UK have broken different wedding traditions with fantastic results.
Breaking Wedding Traditions
Firstly, I would like to say that here at Luke Granger Photography our only wish for our couples is that they have an amazing wedding day. For some, that will take a traditional direction, whereas others will prefer a more modern approach to wedding planning. The main piece of advice to anyone planning a wedding; is to do what is right for you.
If that means letting the Mother of the Groom choose the flowers or some relatively menial decision, then allow it but don't for one minute give up your roles as Bride & Groom (or Bride & Bride/Groom & Groom for that matter) because you only get the opportunity to have your wedding day once.
Who Pays For A Wedding?
As much a I love Bridgerton, the idea of a bride's parents paying for everything (and giving the groom a dowry) is a wedding day tradition that is quite rightly outdated. We often speak with couples who have given control of an element of the day to their parents to take care of, leaving the couple to finance (and control) the rest of the wedding day. This is a fantastic solution as others can join in with the excitement of wedding planning without expectation or worse, taking over.
Recommendation - Discuss openly about arrangements early on to prevent any upset or confusion. "You said a while ago that you wanted to pay for our wedding car, I've seen one I love, maybe we could go and see it together?", always work together or join budgets if needed.
Living Together Before Marriage
Aunt Hilda may not agree, but in the UK living together before marriage is the most broken wedding tradition of all. The timeline of a relationship in general has changed so much across the last few generations; couples date for longer, have long engagements and often have mortgages (and often children) way before marriage is on the cards.
Living with someone before marriage is a great way of learning how compatible you are as a couple and whether you can actually tolerate each others flaws; you wouldn't buy a car without test driving it first would you?
Don't feel bad about breaking this wedding tradition if its not for you.
Wearing A White Wedding Dress
Fashion has changed so much over the years (Goodbye 80's puff sleeves), however I often wonder what our children will think of 00s wedding dresses. With so many beautiful fabrics available, many brides are choosing alternative wedding dress styles, some opting against the traditional white wedding dress.
Champagne and gold dresses are extremely popular right now but there are many full coloured or Boho style embroidered wedding dresses out there too.
An Overflowing Guest List
One of the bonus' of financing your own wedding is that you completely control the headcount and are under no obligation to invite people to your wedding that you don't know (or want). Concentrate on the people that bring enjoyment to your life; you may not see them often but when you do you value their time and therefore want to celebrate with them by your side.
It is now popular for wedding invitations to be sent to individuals without the extension of a plus one and many couples have chosen to have children free celebrations too. Modern life means that family dynamics can lead to large, extended families so don't feel bad for not inviting everyone. It's natural that not everyone will make the cut and most people will completely understand - if someone creates a fuss, its just proof they belonged on the no invite list all along!
Old, New, Borrowed & Blue
(& A Silver Sixpence in Your Shoe)
A popular wedding tradition, "Something Old, New, Borrowed & Blue", dates back to the Victorian days and is said to bring a Bride good luck but if you believe you make your own luck then what does it matter if you forget any of the elements.
The "Something Blue" is often chosen as a garter, a lace band worn around the brides thigh. During the wedding reception, the Groom would traditionally remove it before tossing it into a crowd of male guests, just like the bouquet toss. [Eek, I'm not sure how many Father of the Brides approve of this wedding tradition]
Walking Down The Aisle
There are so many reasons why the traditional 'giving away' father/daughter set up doesn't always suit and brides across the UK have found some fantastic alternative options. Being walked down the aisle by your children, a best friend or even your dogs are all popular choices or perhaps another family member who means a lot to you.
Alternatively, why not just walk down the aisle yourself? You are your own person and are making the choice to marry of your own accord so can make a fantastic entrance all on your own.
Who Belongs On The Top Table?
Traditionally, the top table would be made up of the happy couple, both of their parents, the Best Man & The Maid of Honour but that doesn't work for everyone.
Family dynamics seem to be a huge stress causing factor when it comes to planning a wedding so don't feel you have to follow this wedding tradition if it doesn't suit.
I'm sure everyone will agree, it is much better that guests are seated with loved ones and can enjoy the day without feeling any tension or awkwardness
Recommendation - Set up a top table just for the two of you so you can enjoy some time taking it all in together, you can enjoy your food without the expectation of keeping up conversation whilst being yourselves.
Alternative Wedding Cakes
Personally, I am a huge lover of cake so this is not a tradition I would completely cancel but a traditional fruit cake is not for me. A nice flavoured sponge or cupcakes are the now popular choices but some couples have taken alternative wedding cakes to a whole new level.
Doughnut towers, cookie stacks and cakesickles (yes that's a thing) are all popular choices for the sweet toothed couples, whereas there are also alternative wedding cakes for the savoury lovers too. Cheese platter wedding cakes are a huge trend and in Yorkshire, Pork Pie wedding cakes are very popular.
Can A Bride Say A Speech?
Hell yes she can! Traditionally, you would have had three speeches at a wedding: The Groom, The Best Man & The Father of the Bride. However, with many outspoken women in our world, many are taking the opportunity to make a speech of their own.
Whether its a short thank you and goodbye or a carefully articulated story of love, a Bride's wedding speech is great way to add some modern flare to a wedding day.
PS I fully intend to say a speech when Luke & I get married, not that he knows it yet.
Heading For Honeymoon
Logistically, heading straight off on your honeymoon on the night of the wedding must be a bit of a nightmare, which is probably why most couples no longer follow this wedding tradition. Back in the day, couples would change into their 'going away outfits' at the end of the evening reception and head off to the airport for their honeymoon. Now most choose a hotel stay nearby or at their wedding venue, followed by a flight a few days later.
At least you don't have to wait two weeks to open all your wedding presents!
Breaking Wedding Traditions
Whether you choose to include traditional elements within your wedding or not is entirely up to you, but I hope you have enjoyed reading about some alternative options. Every wedding seems to attract the unwanted opinions of many and although on some occasions you may want to take some of these suggestions on board, you shouldn't compromise your wedding day. If you aren't too bothered what type of car you arrive in then maybe let your Dad choose his favourite, if you can't decide on roses or peonies because you love them both equally, then ask the opinion of your bridesmaids but don't go making choices just to keep your parents happy.
We speak with married couples on a regular basis, many of whom have regrets about their day, it can be so heartbreaking to hear that they were disappointed. There is the classic tale of "my uncle said he could do our photography for free and we didn't have the heart to say no" or "my mum's friend made our cake, it was rock hard and the Best Man actually found a cat hair in his slice"
Although sometimes breaking traditions or not going with someones suggestion may feel awkward, anyone who loves you will completely understand that you just want it to be your special day (they might be mad for a while, but they will get over it eventually)
Although exciting, the wedding planning process can be stressful, here at Luke Granger Photography we have made a great checklist to help couples make sure they have everything needed for an amazing wedding. It's broken down into categories so you can select all the elements that apply to your day.