Gracefully Omitting Typical Wedding Traditions
Gracefully omitting typical wedding traditions at my wedding.
I am having what I intend to be an informal wedding, although it is in typical form–white dress, catered reception. For a variety of reasons, I don’t want to do several typical wedding traditions at my wedding. I want my reception to be more like an unstructured party than a cookie-cutter wedding reception. How can I gracefully omit such things as being “given away,” the receiving line, the formal introductions of the bridal party at the reception, tossing the bouquet, the garter, etc.. I’m not really sure how to handle it–do I just skip them and ignore it, or are there some specific steps I can follow so it is clear that it is supposed to be happening this way. For example, how should we handle our “entrance” to the reception–just wander in? Also, for the entertainment, I want something fun yet different from the usual DJ or wedding band, but I am at a loss for ideas.
Wedding traditions are not for everyone. Some couples dislike the history behind them and others find them unnecessary. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of written material on ways that couples can gracefully omit wedding traditions.
We faced similar difficulties with the planning of our own wedding, but couldn’t find a source on how to handle our concerns. You actually have quite a few options in omitting wedding traditions, but you’ll have to decide which of these options you are most comfortable with.
I’ll start with the wedding tradition of “being given away”. It’s getting more and more common for couples to omit or change this tradition to suit their tastes. Historically speaking, the “bride was given away” to the groom by her father…this was to denote the transfer of ownership from her father to the groom. Obviously, not many brides today appreciate the history behind the tradition…which is why this wedding tradition has turned into a showing of support. The words are even starting to change: from “Who gives this bride away” to “Who supports the union between bride and groom”.
Of course,the history behind the tradition may be enough to make you decide that you don’t want it at your wedding. If you do decide not to have this tradition…you may run into a few people (including your father) that don’t understand. The only option I’ve found that works is to explain the history behind the tradition as well as why it makes you uncomfortable. Not knowing whether you’d like to omit the tradition totally or turn it into a show of support, I’ll give you ideas for both.
You can omit the “walking down the aisle” with your father…and simply have him stand when the officiant/priest/judge asks “Who supports this couple” and reply “I do” or “her family does”.
Another option is to have various family members (on both sides) stand and give their support in the same way. All of your guests can also reply “We do” to the question. If you’d still like your father (or other important person) to walk down the aisle with you…he/she can do so and return to his or her seat. Or you can walk down the aisle by yourself and ignore the tradition entirely.
Another option which is becoming more popular is to walk down the aisle with your partner as it shows “two people walking towards one future”.
The absence of a receiving line should be noted as most guests do expect one. The only time you might want to ignore this advice is if you are having the wedding and reception at the same location. The easiest way to inform guests that there will be no receiving line is to have your priest/judge/officiant mention where the reception is and that the bride and groom will greet the guests there. It’s also a good idea for the newly married couple to stay out of sight once the wedding is over as guests will linger to talk regardless of a receiving line or not.
If the reception is meant to be informal…your entrance to reception can be handled without fanfare. The same goes for the formal introductions of bridal party. A lot of the time, the couple and wedding party will choose to wear their “wedding” clothing at the reception. If you choose to do this…your guests will know not only when the couple has arrived, but also the wedding party. Formal introductions are often used to let guests know who the members of the wedding party are…as they most likely know who the bride and groom are already.
At an informal reception, this tradition can be omitted if the couple introduces members of the wedding party themselves…as needed. If the best man will be giving a speech…he needs no formal introduction. Another option is to have each member of the wedding party give a speech of some sort…you’ll be able to introduce each person before their speech is given.
Wedding traditions such as the bouquet toss and garter toss can be ignored as well. Or you can inform your guests that they will be replaced by another wedding tradition. Speaking from experience…these two won’t be missed until after the reception. The only time anyone has mentioned them to me is after they’ve gone to a wedding that contained these wedding traditions. Most of the time they say “You know, I never even realized that you didn’t have a bouquet toss at your wedding”…and I tell them the history behind the wedding traditions at which point we both shrug our shoulders.
If you’re interested in learning about the history of wedding traditions…I did find a few pages on the web that may be of interest. The first is simply called Wedding Traditions and is quite extensive in the sense that it contains many traditions commonly found at a wedding. The History of Tradition includes some of the same as well as traditions from around the globe. Profiles photography studio also has a site that contains wedding traditions. Last but not least…if your’e looking for wedding traditions to replace those that you feel uncomfortable with…Wed Net’s Romantic Ideas with a Romantic History should serve you well.
Onto the entertainment aspect of your question…bands and DJs are the most common entertainment at a wedding. If you’d like to try something different try thinking of entertainment in the sense that it can be non-wedding related. The most unique entertainment of this type that I’ve personally heard of was a drama teacher having her students put on a play for the guests.
Other options might include hiring a clown, magician, ventriloquist or comedian. This of course depends on the couple’s tastes and styles as well as those of your guests. If you’re thinking more along the lines of music…a dj or band is probably one of the best ways to go, but there are other options.
You can hire a soloist, instrumentalist or even a barbershop quartet if you choose. It all depends on what you are looking for. There are so many different bands…from country to classical…as well as DJ’s that your options truly are unlimited when looking for music.
If you do decide to go with a band or DJ… Entertainment-25 Entertainment Tips will give you some solid tips. Use your imagination and you’ll surely come up with more entertainment options than the normal expected wedding traditions. No matter what you decide, local colleges and high schools are often a source for entertainers that charge less for their services.