When it comes to weddings, there are a couple of rules and traditions you have to follow, no matter how modern you want your day to be.
Certain wording in your vows is one of them (because, the law). And, although this one's not enforced by the legal eagles, we also think having FUN should be another totally mandatory, non-negotiable wedding rule. Beyond that, though, you're pretty much free to pick and choose the wedding traditions you want to follow - and the ones you definitely don't. Here are seven to get you started, let us know in the comments which ones you're planning to ditch on your own big day!
You have to wear a big white princess dress
Of course, wear one if you want to - after all, unless you're planning to chuck in your day job and become a bridal model, when will you get to otherwise? - but the days of brides being buried under metres of tulle against their will are long gone. If you’re not feeling the princess thing, opt for a different colour, a shorter length or even all-over sequins, like Hailey's stunning gold gown above (see more from her showstopping Sydney wedding in the winter issue of Bride, on sale June 9).
You must carry a bouquet (and it must be made of flowers)
Sure, we love floral bouquets as much as the next person (probably more than them actually), but they're not for everyone - especially if your husband-to-be will be forced to mainline antihistamines just to get through the ceremony. Some brides are going completely bouquet-free, while others are swapping traditional posies for lanterns, balloons, pin wheels or paper flowers. We found this one on Pinterest made from book pages, silk flowers and buttons - perfect for a rustic DIY wedding.
Your groom can't see you until the ceremony
There's a reason why 'first look' photo sessions (where the bride reveals her gown to the groom privately before the ceremony) have become so popular: not just because you get some super-cute snaps out of it, but because they give you and your man a quiet moment together before the chaos of the ceremony and reception. And while your groom may have already had a sneak peek at your dress, we guarantee you'll still get the necessary "ooh"s and "ahh"s from your guests as you walk down the aisle. Win-win!
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Your dad has to give you away
Traditional ceremonies involve the bride being ‘given away’ by her father, but these days more and more brides are choosing to do things a little differently. Sure, your dad's pretty rad, but why not be accompanied by both parents, a close friend, your groom – or be fiercely independent (#GirlBoss) and just walk on your own? However you choose to make your entry, make sure it’s meaningful to you.
Guests have to entertain themselves between the ceremony and reception
Yes, your wedding is about you and your groom, but that doesn't mean you can disappear for hours between your ceremony and reception for a photo session to rival Annie Leibovitz's Vogue shoots without providing some kind of entertainment for your guests. If you’ve got outdoor space (and the weather's on your side), lawn games like croquet, bocce and giant Jenga are all crowd-pleasers - and, importantly, can be managed with a cocktail or canapé in hand. Some friendly competition, good food and a drink or two is a sure fire way to get the celebrations started on the right foot.
You need to have a sit-down, three-course meal
Now that everyone's a foodie, dry old chicken and fish just isn't going to cut it, so give your guests something they can really enjoy (and Instagram). Buffet-style dining and share menus are both big at the moment, featuring dishes hot and cold, simple and complex, from all different cultures. It might not be what you think of as 'wedding food', but if done well, it’s bound to make everyone happy. If you like the idea of a set menu, why not choose foods that are inspired by you as a couple? Think: dishes that mirror your first date, favourite restaurant or the theme of the wedding – the possibilities are endless.
There has to be some sort of cake
So. Many. Options. If your nan's not 'politely suggesting' (read: forcing) you to have a fruit cake and you're tired of the standard mud or sponge choices but still want something sweet, there's croquembouches, doughnut towers, cupcake stands or dessert bars. For non-sweet tooths, cheese 'cakes' - wheels of cheese stacked on top of each other - are also a thing now. A very delicious thing.
Your guests must sign a guest book
Really, you know who came to your wedding (we hope!) so you don’t need all your guests to sign a book, but it is nice to have some kind of memento to look back on. This is where you go DIY - set up a table with a canvas painting of a tree and ink pads, then have guests use their thumbprints to make the 'leaves'. Another idea is to hang some string across a wall, with everyone’s name pegged up on a piece of card. Leave a Polaroid camera beneath for guests to take a photo of themselves and attach it to their card – much more fun than having to leave the d-floor and think of something to write in a traditional guest book!
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