Navigating wedding etiquette is difficult enough as it is, but when you throw technology and social media...
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By Maria Yeonhee Ji
The royal wedding was a probably the most publicised example of how modern brides are breaking time-old traditions to make the ceremony more representative of who they are and what they stand for. From superstitions originating in pre-empirical science eras to traditions that are steeped in patriarchal values that no longer make that much sense to preserve, to traditions that have stood the test of time for no clear reason, traditions of all kinds are being swept aside so that couples can have a more authentic, modern wedding. Here are five of the big ones that brides have been breaking this year.
Image by Love is a Big Deal (blog thumbnail image by Marie Marry Me)
The tradition of the bride not being seen by the groom until the ceremony is a tradition that stems from the days of old when women were exchanged in a transaction between two families. The betrothed couple were not allowed to see each other, possibly to prevent the man from changing his mind if he saw the prospective bride prior to the day. Though some couples still like this tradition to be upheld on the wedding day due to the element of surprise and excitement, many are also opting out. Being together before the wedding day gives the opportunity to calm nerves, spend more time together away from the crowds on one of the most significant days of their lives, and also do a pre-ceremony or first look photoshoot where everyone looks their very best and don’t have the pressures of attending to guests.
Image by We Choose The Moon Photography
While having your father walk you down the aisle can be a sweet way of including him in this ceremony, it is still a tradition that originates from periods when women were ‘given away’ from one man to another. And not all people getting married have fathers or just one father figure who played an important role in their life. More brides this year than ever walked down the aisle by themselves, in a bold decision that is definitely underpinned by feminist undertones of expressing female autonomy in the decision to spend the rest of their lives with their chosen partner. If Meghan can walk down half the aisle herself, in a royal ceremony that had the pressure of centuries of traditions hanging over it, then breaking this tradition should be a cakewalk for the rest of us.
Image by Perspectives Photo + Cinema
While old-school wedding photos always show a bride and groom flanked by a row of bridesmaids and groomsmen respectively, the tradition of having gendered wedding parties is one that brides this year are increasingly willing to break. If the people in the wedding party are meant to be your nearest and dearest - those who have supported you and your partner throughout your lives - then why eliminate all your male/female friends from consideration just based on gender (not to mention your non gender-conforming friends!)? There are many ways you can still maintain aesthetic cohesion among the numerous members of your wedding party, so show your best friends how important they are by inviting them to have a significant role on your big day irrespective of their gender.
Image by Kyra Boyer Photography
Some brides and/or grooms are doing away with the tradition of having bridesmaids and groomsmen altogether. There are so many reasons as to why this is an appealing option: you don’t have to publicly select and showcase your closest friends (thereby potentially ruffling many feathers); it’s considerably less expensive for both you and the would-be bridal party; it removes a lot of logistical planning and group coordinating required for the wedding; and all eyes will be on you and your partner for the big day.
Image by Eileen Meny Photography
There’s nothing wrong with being traditional in your fashion choices, but more brides are embracing a bit more fun and creativity when it comes to their wedding day outfits. No longer limited to the tradition of the long white dress, and with an increasing number of haute couture bridal ateliers releasing short styles in their collections, the hemlines have been getting shorter and shorter on the wedding day as well as other days of the year. Not to mention colourful wedding dresses, and tailored jumpsuits or bridal pants. You can read more about alternatives to the long white gown here.