Gone are the days of “But this is how it should be” or “This is what we always do” and can we just give an AMEN! While I extremely value tradition and the importance of a wedding ceremony’s staple pieces that make it just that – a wedding, there are so many “extras” that we have added on as a culture that aren’t necessary and might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Here are 5 wedding traditions that you CAN skip!
1. Hey, do me a favor
You can skip the wedding favors! Favors can add small intricate details and be a beautiful expression of the couple. For example, at my sister’s wedding in maple syrup country, they included small locally made maple syrup gifts for each guest with an adorable tag that says “Love is Sweet!”. How thoughtful! While favors add to the event, the majority, honestly, get left behind on the tables. Solely by accident, but still! Favors and costs of favors can add time and money to planning this event! (I would know, I helped my sister spend hours making tags, stamping, and tying them to maple syrup containers!) You can skip this part of a wedding completely OR I have known couples who have donated money to their favorite cause in lieu of spending money on favors and have included a sweet note at each guest’s plate about their donation. In the end, a guest is not going to leave your wedding thinking “Where was my mesh bag of color coordinated M&Ms?” and that is the most important thing to remember.
2. Forget Gendered Parties – Bridesmen and Groomswomen
Do you have a brother or guy friend that is extra close to you? Maybe the groom has a female cousin who he considers a best friend? GO WITH IT. There is no reason that women must stand next to the bride and men must stand next to the groom. In 2021, I think it is more clear than ever that friendships and relationships with people hold no boundaries (not even gendered ones) and you want the ones supporting you standing by your side no matter the gender! (And not awkwardly placed on the opposite party side just because they are that gender – when they might not know anyone!) Not only is this a step towards an amazing bachelor/bachelorette combination party, it is truly a way to get creative with outfits for the big day as well!
3. Hold the bar! – BYOB
Open bars are a great asset to a wedding! Especially based on the location! However, sometimes they can come with a HEAVY price tag and lots of red tape (if the location isn’t already ready to serve alcohol). You may have to deal with finding a bartender, buying the alcohol in bulk yourself, creating your own drink styles, and more. Here me on this – You can skip the open bar! Have guests BYOB! While this sounds weird, it actually can make the day fun! Provide a space for tables and guests to be able to put the drinks they bring on ice and they have their favorite drink ready for them to enjoy! A wedding I attended provided wine for each table and then gave the option on the invitation for guests to bring other drinks if they desired! It was very sweet!
4. Reception entrances
You’ve already had your shining moment of walking down the aisle (and back up once you’re married!) and maybe you are done with the whole entrance situation by this point. It’s widely popular for there to be a reception entrance where the entire wedding party is announced as they enter the reception space. You can skip the reception entrance! If you have a first look set of photos and all the family photos are done, you can mingle with your guests during cocktail hour and appetizers. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! While the reception does typically need a “oh, this is starting now” moment, that can easily be transitioned to with a welcome from the couple or prayer from a friend or family member. DJ’s are used to many different circumstances so just mention that you don’t want a reception entrance and I am sure they have plenty of ideas!
5. Cut the catering – get a food truck (or two!)!
With catering, like any part of a wedding, the costs can get higher and higher and might narrow down the menu or the plate options for guests. Get a local food truck (or two!) and your guests will have plenty of options to choose from! Maybe it’s your favorite local one that highlights where you as a couple spend a lot of time eating. If it’s me, I’m springing for the ice cream truck to come bring my guests a late night snack after an evening of partying and dancing!