More so than almost any other celebration, a wedding day is filled top to bottom with traditions dating as far back as ancient times. Some have been imbued with new meaning, taking on a more modern twist, while others carry on simply because of the special magic a tradition unique only to a wedding can hold. Some traditions, however, fail to resonate with all brides. If a common Western wedding tradition isn’t exactly your style, consider replacing it with one of these alternatives.
Wearing a Veil
This tradition from ancient Greek and Roman times was originally intended to protect the bride from evil spirits on her wedding day. While a wedding veil can be a beautiful bridal accessory, it is by no means the requirement it once was. If you aren’t looking to add another layer of flowing white to your wedding look but still want to give your hair a special touch, consider incorporating a jeweled hairclip or fresh flowers that match your bouquet.
Bouquet and Garter Toss
In medieval times, wedding guests were determined to catch, quite literally, a piece of the luck from the happy couple. An air of superstition still exists around the bouquet and garter toss, with the saying that those who catch them will be the next to marry. However, if singling out your single friends on the dance floor isn’t up your alley, you can go for an alternative tradition. Instead of a bouquet toss, a bride can pull flowers from their toss wedding bouquet and distribute them to close friends and family. You can also ask your DJ to lead an anniversary dance during which all of the couples hit the floor slowly trickling off as the DJ calls anniversary years, and the couple who has been married the longest receives the bouquet.
Let’s face it, not everyone likes cake! If you and your husband-to-be aren’t big on the traditional white frosted cake, there are so many other dessert options. For a colorful French twist, consider ordering a variety of macaron flavors, or for fans of ice cream, mini parfaits are a fun, unconventional treat. If there is a sweet treat you love, it can be turned into a wedding dessert, so explore all of your options before settling for a dessert you won’t enjoy.
Bride and Groom Cake Topper
If you do choose to go with a traditional wedding cake, it doesn’t mean you have to top it with a conventional mini bride and groom. Originating at the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the topper in the likeness of the bride and groom isn’t the only way to top a wedding cake. Thanks in part to the rise of online shops, you can easily find wedding cake toppers in just about any size, shape and design. Whether you want to nod to your favorite fandom or have your new last name in sparkly script, the choices for toppers are endless.
In Western wedding ceremonies, brides have typically worn white as a symbol of purity, but if you aren’t a fan of the color and are looking to do things a little bit differently, there are so many options available to you. Light gold and pale rose are two popular alternative wedding gown shades if you are looking for a subtle alternative, or you could add a brightly colored sash for a splash of color.
Father Walking the Bride Down the Aisle
The custom of the father of the bride accompanying her down the aisle is a tradition dating back to the time of arranged marriages. While those days are past, for many it is still a beautiful way for a daughter to honor her father on her wedding day. But if you are closer to another family member, such as a mother, sibling or grandparent, they can accompany you instead. You can even ask both of your parents to walk with you down the aisle, as is common in Jewish wedding traditions. It is a lovely way to share a special moment with both parents…and who couldn’t do with a bit of extra support in those wedding heels!
Toasts and Speeches
It is customary for the maid of honor and best man to offer a brief congratulatory toast during the reception, but you can always opt for more or less. For a more speech-heavy reception, you can create an open mic atmosphere, inviting any friends and family to step up and offer a few words or share a memory. But if the idea of listening to toasts doesn’t exactly warm your heart, you can do away with the tradition altogether, asking those who would give wedding toasts to share their love for you in a letter that you can treasure instead.
SEE MORE: Don’t Forget These Maid of Honor Duties
As you plan your wedding, it is important to remember that this is YOUR big day. If there is a tradition that doesn’t fit your style or personality, don’t go with the norm simply because that’s how you’ve always seen it done. Choosing to do something a little outside of the box will make the day more memorable and fun for your wedding guests, and make your day feel more, well, yours.