Wedding expectations and etiquette have undergone a pretty big evolution in the past few decades as couples have diverted from tradition to do things their own way. Following their lead, here are 10 wedding rules that can be broken. Or, at the very least, given a modern twist.
Parents control the guest list
Back in the days when a couple’s parents almost always footed the bill for the wedding, this earned them more of a say over who scored an invitation. The issue was, this could sometimes mean a day filled with third cousins at the expense of their own mates and colleagues. These days, however, things have changed. Most couples pay for at least a chunk of their own wedding, ensuring they get far more control over the guest list. Even if they don’t, modern mores mean they get to set the criteria for who gets invited, and also the final say on issues such as whether single guests can bring a ‘plus one’.
The venue is in the bride’s home town
Another steadfast tradition has long insisted that couples get married in the bride’s home town, usually because her parents were probably footing the lion’s share of the bill. These days, however, couples can – and do – get married anywhere they like, as seen by the growing popularity of destination weddings, both in and out of Australia. Many couples are also choosing locations with special meaning, say the place they met or the city where they got engaged.
Couples register for household goods
Registering for wedding gifts traditionally meant household linens, kitchen appliances and, of course, a nice dinner service. And while some couples still welcome the chance to kit out their homes, others already have all the domestic goods they need, courtesy of the fact they may have married later in life or lived together first. This has sparked the rise of alternative wedding registries, such as honeymoon lists, charity lists, and experience lists. It’s also becoming more acceptable to ask for money or vouchers, perhaps using a wishing well at the reception.
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The bride wears white
It might still be the norm, but few people these days believe the bride has to wear white. Or even ivory or cream for that matter. Modern women are instead adding a touch of vibrancy to their wedding ensembles with coloured sashes, corsages, or hemlines. Others are taking it even further and choosing a gown that is blue, red, green, pink … the list goes on. Basically, if you can imagine a colour, someone has worn it down the aisle.
The groom wears a tailcoat
When the majority of grooms wore a suit to work every day, they needed to up the ante for their wedding, so a morning suit was the norm. These days, however, some grooms choose to be more casual in their wedding outfits, injecting a little personality with everything from colourful shirts and unusual ties to quirky shoes and pop-culture driven cufflinks. It’s a lovely way to let their personality shine through on a day that is as much their’s as the bride’s.
The bride’s dad walks her down the aisle
The idea that the bride’s father ‘gives her away’ and passes her into the safekeeping of her groom is a little old fashioned and, with ever more complex family setups these days, it’s not always clear who should have that honour. Instead, it’s really about who the bride wants. It could still be her father, but also her mother, her stepfather, her brother or even both parents. She could also choose to walk in with a friend, a bridesmaid, or all by herself. After all, she doesn’t really need any help to make that short walk towards her future, so anything goes these days.
The bridal party roles are set in stone
Once upon a time, couples had single-sex wedding parties with equal numbers. But those days of having to match are long gone, and modern couples can choose whoever they like. For starters, males of honour and best women are becoming more common, and couples can also have as many bridesmaids and groomsmen as they like, even if one side has more than the other. They may also mix up the head table in deciding who sits where, whether it’s deciding they want just a sweethearts table or choosing to include their own parents as well.
Weddings follow a set structure
With a traditional timeline that incorporated the ceremony, the wedding photos, the receiving line, the sit down dinner, the speeches, the first dance, the cake cutting and more, it’s a wonder couples ever had time to mingle with their wedding guests. Thankfully, modern celebrations are far more relaxed, and couples can choose which traditions and rituals they want to include, and which they would rather forego. This gives them more time to actually enjoy the day so if, for example, you want to have the photos before the ceremony so you can move straight into spending time with guests, go for it.
Wedding cakes are white with three tiers
Once upon a time, the iconic wedding cake was constructed from three tiers of rich fruit cake covered in white royal icing and finished off with a bride and groom topper. Modern couples, however, have far more choice – if they choose to have one at all. These days, cakes can have different shapes, colours, and flavours, or be made from individual cupcakes or desserts. Other options include ice cream cakes, cheesecakes, chocolate cakes, cake pops, or macaroon towers, while those who prefer savoury goodies might choose a tower of cheese wheels, served with crackers and fruit. One thing they still have in common though, is they all taste as good as they look.
Wedding decorations are floral
Flowers used to be one of the biggest items on the wedding budget, and they still play an important role in the wedding. However, today’s couples are thinking outside the square and coming up with other fresh ways to accessorise their weddings. Think colourful bunting, pom pom garlands, paper lanterns, birdcages, candles, and painted wedding signs … basically anything that reflects the theme and character of the wedding and their personality.
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