How Wedding Traditions Are Changing

Wedding traditions are among the few things that have remained constant in our society today.

TUT Staff

Wedding traditions are among the few things that have remained constant in our society today. To date, brides still adorn the cliché flowing white gown as a symbol of purity while gliding down the aisle to ‘Here Comes the Bride.’ The groom, in this case, will likely be in a crisp tuxedo, eager to unveil his soon-to-be wife. These quaint rituals are faithfully passed on from generation to generation, and young girls everywhere dream of being carried over the threshold by their dream husband. 

However, young couples are increasingly departing from tradition during their nuptials, compelled by shrinking economic freedom or the desire to do things differently. Social media has treated us to the sight of couples saying ‘I do’ in nothing more than jeans and sneakers or surrounded only by wild trees instead of smiling witnesses. Check out other ways lovebirds are breaking away from the traditional wedding mold.

1. A Bride Must Wear White

Most of us in the Western World can’t imagine a wedding without a blushing bride decked in all white. Who would dare appear in any other color than that universal symbol of all things pure and virtuous? 

Though we faithfully follow this trend, few of us know its origins. Queen Victoria is said to have started the lovely-bride-in-white trend almost 200 years ago during her marriage to Prince Albert. Since that 1840 ceremony, folks have esteemed white as an essential, and it is now de facto for every wedding. Few are aware that the real reason for the Queen donning white was to promote her nation’s lace industry, which was experiencing a slump then. 

Before the Queen’s nuptials, brides wore whatever color they desired, black being a trendy color. Today’s brides are getting back to this 19th-century trend and seeking to stand out often go for more daring colors with some opting for less traditional hues. For example, some brides opt for deep green or bright red, while others go for an eye-catching pattern. Some more reserved brides that break this tradition choose light neutral colored wedding dresses in shades like blush, champagne, nude, ivory, light gray, or pale blue. Anything goes as long as you can own it and feel comfortable in it.

2. Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a Sixpence Shoe

This bit of Old English poetry has turned into something of a dearly held superstition that has been adhered to for generations. It is considered good luck if the bride’s mother, or aunt, or godmother, hands her something (a piece of jewelry more often than not) just before she walks down the aisle. 

Others single out the ‘something blue’ part and make an effort to include a touch of blue somewhere in their ensemble—be it blue heels or a blue hairband. This can be extended to other members of the bridal party—blue half coats for the gents or blue gowns for the bridesmaids. Don’t be alarmed if you haven’t thought of this for your wedding. Some brides have overlooked this tradition and still gone on to have happy marriages.

3. Brides and Grooms Must Not See Each Other Until the Ceremony

Should you or should you not do a ‘first look’ for your wedding, that is the question. The long-standing tradition of husband and wife-to-be not being allowed to see each other till the bride glides down the aisle has become less popular. Having the bride and groom photoshoot during the first look before the ceremony is becoming very popular.

Should you join this bandwagon? Some couples claim this moment helps ease nerves but doesn’t ruin the emotions felt as the bride makes her entrance at the ceremony. It also allows couples to enjoy their cocktail hour since photos are already complete.

4. Receiving Line

What is a receiving line? It is that time in a wedding ceremony, usually at the end of the exchange of the vows, when the bride and groom get to greet their guests and thank them for coming. If married at a church, the receiving line takes place directly after the ceremony outside the church. However, it can also be held after the cocktail or at the end of the reception if you’re sure all your guests will still be around. The receiving line will ordinarily include the bride and groom’s parents standing in a particular order.

However, some couples are opting out of having a receiving line and instead making an appearance at each table at the reception. Regardless of which you choose, it’s an excellent time to say thank you and for spouses to introduce their new partner to new friends and relatives. 

5. Bouquet Toss

We’ve all attended weddings and remember the moment when the bride turned her back and tossed the flowers she had been cradling the entire day over her shoulder to a group of laughing single ladies. Tradition states the woman lucky enough to catch it will be the next to get married, so the superstition goes. There is even a particular song played for the occasion. While some take it as a humorous tradition, some single ladies may not be comfortable with being singled out and paraded in front of all the guests.

6. Weekend Weddings  

Similar to number one, this tradition has flip-flopped over time. In the early 1900s, weekday weddings were more common, and Saturday weekends were actually considered unlucky. Eventually, this changed to accommodate guests’ schedules. 

Most weddings today are held on weekends, specifically Saturday, and some even lasting an entire weekend. This comes with good reason. The majority of your invited guests should be available as they won’t be working. It also gives a chance to those traveling from far to make it.

However, this is changing once again. Many couples are opting for Friday or Sunday weddings as rates on venues tend to be cheaper. Some are even reverting to weekday weddings, Monday through Thursday. This can help keep the guest list small.

7. A Bride Must Wear a Veil

A veil has always stood as another symbol of a bride’s purity. Lifting the veil meant that she was giving up her body for the first time to her betrothed. Nowadays, though the symbolism remains, it is primarily considered an accessory, and may brides opt not to wear them. Though some brides may still wear a dramatic veil for emphasis, they tend not to wear it over their faces and instead as a hairpiece.

Keeping up with the Times

What was required of weddings decades ago may not be practical today for several reasons. Besides the fact that the world is quickly becoming a global village, the economic realities of today may render some of those rituals impractical. Regardless of how much invited or uninvited guests may grumble, the wedding day ultimately belongs to the bride and groom.