When you think of a classic wedding, a few things probably immediately come to mind: a big, white dress; the song “Here Comes the Bride;” the tossing of the bouquet, and so on. While these traditional aspects are still pretty commonplace for most weddings, a lot of couples actually forego a number of them in order to personalize their big day. This was especially the case for many in 2018, according to The Knot‘s latest Real Weddings Study.
“Weddings in 2018 showcased more personality and attention to detail than ever before. Couples are rethinking conventional traditions and putting their own creative spins on long-standing wedding moments, like unity ceremonies and first dances,” said Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor in chief of The Knot. “Some couples are opting to embrace their cultural heritage, while others choose to pay homage to pop culture that plays a part in their shared story. Each wedding is a love story worth celebrating, and every detail is an opportunity to infuse personal style and sentiment.”
Take the unity ceremony, for example. Instead of skipping the ritual — which is a symbolic expression of two people coming together — couples are incorporating their personal history and cultural heritage. Sand and candles are being traded for things like a guacamole recipe from a grandparent, a local whiskey, or other things with a deeper meaning. Overall, The Knot found that one in five couples incorporate ethnic elements into their wedding, like a Chinese tea ceremony or the exchange of an Irish Claddagh ring.
SEE MORE: How to Save Thousands on Your Honeymoon
Modern couples are also putting their twist on their own wedding parties. Not only are pets more likely to be standing alongside the bride or groom when they said “I Do,” but so are mixed genders on both sides. According to The Knot, one in four brides opt to have both men and women in their party, while one in ten grooms are doing the same. Other traditions being redefined? The roles of flower girl and maid of honor. Couples will sometimes nominate their mothers or grandmothers for the positions.
That being said, there are definitely a variety of traditions that couples are ditching altogether. The most popular tradition that brides are getting rid of? Having official “sides” at the ceremony. The Knot‘s survey revealed that less than 1 in 10 couples stick to separating their guests (e.g. guests of the bride on the left and guests of the groom on the right).
Brides are also less likely to toss both their garters and bouquets. Only 33 percent of brides (down from 42 percent in 2016) participate in the garter toss, while 45 percent still throw their bouquet (down from 54 percent in 2016).
But brides and grooms still want their guests to have fun! In fact, modern couples are so determined for their family and friends to have fun that they’ll often craft their reception with guest experiences top of mind. The Knot found that one in four couples even hire custom guest entertainment, from offering up the services of a tattoo artist to hosting a cigar-rolling station.
As the study proves, trends come and go — but some traditions tend to stick. Regardless, modern couples aren’t afraid to mix the two.