Updating Wedding Traditions
Planning a wedding can mean navigating a minefield of rules and traditions. Some you may love, and others may make you both cringe. If you prefer a more relaxed affair. A big day that doesn’t follow all the historic rules. Our guide is just what you need. A chance for you to consider wedding traditions that are to be avoided completely, or updating wedding traditions to reflect your personal tastes and personalities. Events director Jess Randall has all the advice:
‘Every wedding I plan is entirely personal to the couple, and for some the formalities of the big day are a great comfort as they know what to expect at each stage. For others, it is simply too stuffy and they are looking to include wedding traditions reinvented’
says Jess Randall of the Taylor Lynn Corporation
‘Having planned hundreds of weddings over the last 30 years, I know that some traditions and wedding etiquette can be avoided or reinterpreted without losing the special feeling of the day.’
1- Speeches by the best man!
Firstly, a tradition that many of our couples now miss out completely. Some have the bride and groom speaking instead. Others look for something fun and creative, or have a short film shown which has lovely comments from friends and family instead. It avoids anyone getting nervous about speaking, and all those terrible jokes. Importantly though, it fulfils the point in the wedding breakfast when a speech may traditionally be used.
2- Top table
Lots of brides and grooms choose to either have a solo table. With this format, they can spend a few moments in a hectic day together. Others choose to forget a top table idea all together and sit with their families during the meal, then change tables at each course. This is ideal if you are dealing with step families, families with divorced parents etc. and means that nobody is offended at not receiving a top table invite.
3- Wedding breakfast
A combination of cost saving and need for something new means that many bridal couples are having just one party in the evening and missing out a small celebration after the ceremony. Some couples are choosing to be married mid-afternoon. This is followed by a vintage afternoon tea instead of a big, formal wedding breakfast. They then spend their budget on a superb party in the evening. It’s elegant, fun and still brings together the people that matter on the big day, so nobody feels that they have missed out. Couples updating wedding traditions to make the day more personal can also choose ideas such as personalised menus (with your favourite foods), wedding brunches, BBQs or gorgeous picnic receptions. The ideas are endless!
4- Three tiered fruit wedding cake
Updating wedding traditions can be seen most clearly in the choice of wedding cake. Cake designers have transformed the wedding market. Many couples now prefer towers of bright cupcakes or miniature parcels as their wedding cake. It’s fun and quirky, often cheaper, but looks stylish! The fruit based cake has been replaced by sponges of all flavour, with the tradition of saving layers of cake for your children’s christening being a thing of the past. The cake is now more about a lovely photo moment and a sweet treat for guests. Others forget a cake completely . Couples are choosing an array of lovely pudds after the meal or selections of miniature cakes and desserts being served instead.
5 – Evening buffet
This is a thing of the past! My clients are preferring a selection of food vendors positioned around the room or using outside spaces. All offering quality duck spring rolls, fish and chips, crepes, hot donuts, kebabs and Asian food. It means that there is something to suit all palates. Plus, it avoids queuing at buffet stations. It seems to work as the food is fresh, hot and tasty. A style that suits everyone attending.
6 – Almond wedding favours
Wedding favours vary. From the bride and groom making a charitable donation instead, to offering personalised gifts such as vintage bottles filled with liqueur. Even packets of seeds at one eco-friendly wedding! In the modern world, people find it hard to tell you exactly what the almond favour tradition meant. Importantly, they all seem happy that the tradition is acknowledged with a modern interpretation.
7 – Reading out telegrams!
Importantly, this used to be a key wedding tradition. It is now either missed completely, or is replaced by a screen with shows social media posts about the bride and groom, SKYPE messages from family and friends abroad and the like. Modern technology has moved this tradition to a completely new level. Guests can still hear and see what others feel about the big day, but in a less formal and more relevant way. Social distancing has also introduced us to the world of Zoom. A great way for family to connect with you on the big day and send best wishes, without being in the room.
8 – Traditional Wedding cars
All couples want to arrive at the ceremony in style but the ‘how’ has changed quite a bit. Gone are the vintage Rolls Royces or horse and cart. My couples have used everything from replica Batmobiles to Noddy Cars, bicycle’s (made for two of course), sports cars and Hackney carriages to arrive at their big day.
9 – First Dance
This is often avoided! When updating wedding traditions for their special day, many couples simply miss this out of the big day. In spite of the fact that guests seem to appreciate that it can be an embarrassing moment for the couple, so don’t object, it is a tradition in desperate need of refreshment! Now is less about the formal arrangements of the bride and groom dancing, joined by the parents etc.. It is more about fun. Couples often go to dance class to prepare a surprise dance for guests, or have dance tutors on hand to teak the guests a specific dance that everyone can join in. Nobody seems to mind the shift in emphasis. They are too busy enjoying themselves.
10 – Wedding List
With many couples already living together, or having homes of their own, a wedding list of household items can end up being a bit pointless. Some brides and grooms simply say ‘no gifts’ . They would rather people just spend the money on being a part of the big day. Likewise, some ask for a charitable donation to be made. Many couples now ask for gift cards for specific stores, so that they can shop around for what they need. Travel vouchers towards a honeymoon break are popular. It means that anyone can purchase a gift and you are not obliged to spend £5 on a teaspoon. It also means that the couple receive gifts that are useful and therefore appreciated, not heading for the e-bay account!
Finally, if you enjoyed our advice for updating wedding traditions, check out this link for more: WEDDING TRADITIONS