Some are a bit old-fashioned and even a little bit daggy, but they definitely aren't going anywhere.
Having a traditional day isn't for everyone, but we reckon it would be pretty hard to pull off a wedding that didn't include at least one tradition of some sort. And yes, some traditions are on the way out, but some are definitely here to stay. Incorporating elements of tradition into your nuptials is really easy, and in fact you're probably already doing it without realising. It doesn't have to be as straight-laced as wearing a white dress or having a wedding cake (a Medieval tradition that originally involved wheat bread being thrown at the bride) - it could be wearing a piece of jewellery that's been in your family for decades or giving a nod to your cultural heritage by smashing plates or having a hand-binding ceremony. But if the world of wedding traditions was like high school, we've found six that would definitely be the popular kids. One of these beauties is sure to pop up at pretty much every wedding, so we have a question for you: which one are you going to do?
Having something old and something new
An oldie but a goodie, making sure a bride had ‘something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’ on her big day is a tradition that was meant to bring together her old and new lives, plus give good luck to the happy couple by borrowing something from a family member or friend who was already married. There’s also a line about wearing a silver sixpence in the bride’s shoe. This tradition is super easy to tailor however you like. Ticking off the ‘something new’ is a cinch – that’s what your dress is for. To have the ‘something blue’ covered, a blue dress could be the go-to option for bold brides. For something more subtle, a piece of blue ribbon could be sewn into the lining of your frock, or embrace a blue hue with your shoes, lingerie or accessories. Having something borrowed is easy enough – just ask [insert relative or friend with great style here] if you can wear that piece you’ve long had your eye on. Embracing this tradition isn’t just about having fun, it's also a way to remember someone who is no longer with you or can’t attend the big day, making it a beautiful way of acknowledging those most important to you.
Wearing a veil
Excuse us for a moment while we pop on our historian hats, because we’re about to deliver a (quick) history lesson. In Ancient Rome, a bride wearing a veil was an absolute necessity because it was meant to protect her against evil spirits and bad karma. In other cultures, a veil was a sign of modesty. Wearing one on your big day is another tradition that can be done pretty much any way you like. Some brides find they don’t feel ‘bridey’ enough without a veil, and we’ll always have a soft spot for a groom lifting his bride’s veil when the celebrant declares it’s time to kiss the bride, but we also know that having a cathedral-length veil or wearing it over their face isn’t for everyone. The good news? There's more than just one type of veil and, even better, there are even more ways of wearing them. Longer veils can be pinned under chignons or at the crown of your head, or worn with floral wreaths or metallic crowns. Vintage-inspired birds-nest veils rest jauntily to one side of your head and can cover just your eyes.
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Throwing the bouquet
The bouquet toss is a tradition that divides opinion. For some, it’s the part of the reception where you get to flex your muscles and tustle (or elbow) your way to the title of ‘Next One Down The Aisle’. Others see the bouquet toss as a tradition where single ladies are named and shamed, dragged on to the d-floor and made to compete over a posie. If the bride and guests don’t take it too seriously though, it can be fun. Think teaming your bouquet throw with a tongue-in-cheek soundtrack – our favourites are Kelis’ "Milkshake" or Nelly Furtado’s "Maneater". For brides not wanting to surrender their bouquets, florists can provide a ‘toss’ bouquet or can arrange your posie so some stems can be removed and passed out. Another sweet alternative to a traditional bouquet toss is giving the bouquet to the mother of the bride or the couple that’s been married for the longest time.
Keeping the dress under wraps
Ever heard of the saying that the groom can’t see the dress before the big day because it’s bad luck? Of course you have, because it’s a tradition that’s been around longer than Madonna. Originally intended for families who arranged their children’s marriages – it was done so the bride or groom wouldn’t run away from one another – it’s still common for brides to keep what they’re wearing a secret from their partner. Whether you choose to surprise your bae because you want to see their jaw drop or you’re a bit superstitious is totally up to you. Of course, the first time your beau sees you doesn’t have to be at the altar. Enter the ‘first look’ photo sessions, a quiet moment between the soon-to-be newlyweds where the bride reveals her dress to her main squeeze. It’s a trend that’s become super popular, not just because of the super-cute snaps (cue those candid shots you just can’t fake) but also because it gives the couple time together before the ceremony and reception. You won’t miss out on the “ooh”s and “ahh”s either, because your dress will still be a surprise for your guests.
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Being walked down the aisle
To kick this one off with a disclaimer, we know the concept of a bride being ‘given away’ by her father or another male relative has its roots in an outdated concept of a woman being the property of her family. And even though that’s an ideal that’s been thrown out the window, seeing a bride being walked down the aisle can still bring on all the feels. If you do choose to be walked down the aisle, it doesn’t necessarily have to be by your father, either. Having your mother, sibling, godparent or someone else by your side will have the tears flowing too. Can’t decide on just one person to walk with you? Have two. Either way, we recommend having tissues handy or wearing waterproof mascara. That’s not to say you can’t be an #independentwoman and walk yourself down the aisle, because that’s equally as awesome.
The first dance
Oh come on, who doesn't love a chance to cut shapes? From a formal fox trot or choreographed spectacle to a simple shuffle, a couple's first dance at their reception traditionally opens the d-floor to the other guests. The style of dance is totally up to you, as is how long you want to dance for. If you're a stickler for etiquette, the first dance should happen five to 10 minutes after you've polished off the main course. It would then be followed by the wedding party dance, then a father/daughter or mother/son dance. For couples who want to put on a show, slip into the shoes you'll be wearing on the night, make for the closest dance studio and have an instructor get you up to speed on ball-changes and box-steps.
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