Weddings are rich with tradition. In fact, many of the customs which a bride and groom may include in their own wedding are there because it “is the way things have always been done”, rather than because they specifically want those elements as part of their special day. Take a look at this look into some of the most common wedding traditions, as we answer the question: should they be kept or discarded?
1. White Wedding Gowns.
This custom does not date as far back as many people think. It was Queen Victoria who started the craze for white bridal gowns. Before her marriage to Prince Albert, most brides simply wore their best dress or a new gown in their favorite color. The white wedding gown has taken on many connotations, especially as a symbol of the purity of the bride. There is a trend these days moving away from white (or ivory) gowns in favor of wedding dresses with either a little color or made entirely in a color like red. So as to the question of whether this tradition should be kept or discarded, the answer is to wear a traditional white wedding gown with classic pearl wedding jewelry only if you really want to. If you want to wear a red dress for your wedding day, by all means do it!
Did you know that the original purpose of bridesmaids was to dress in clothing similar to that of the bride’s to confuse the evil spirits who were believed to be drawn to brides? And bridesmaids today think they have it bad; at least all they have to ward off is unwanted advances from drunken groomsmen! Today the custom of having a bridal party has evolved into choosing to spend your wedding surrounded by your best girlfriends for support and to make the wedding planning process more fun along the way. Who doesn’t want her best friends around on one of the most exciting days of her life? Bridesmaids are a definite tradition to keep. Abuse of bridesmaids, however, is something that is definitely out, so remember to treat them like your friends, not your personal servants.
3. Wedding Gifts. When there is a wedding in the works,
there are sure to be lots of presents involved. There are bridal shower gifts, wedding presents, gifts from the bride and groom to one another, gifts from the bride and groom to their parents, groomsmen and bridesmaid gifts, and even wedding favors to thank the guests for coming. Whew! Are all these gifts really necessary? Well, it depends. For a young couple just starting out, the answer is yes, the gift giving traditions surrounding weddings are wonderful. The shower and wedding presents are designed to help the newlyweds set up their first home, and the gifts which they give to their parents and bridal party to show appreciation are definitely important. Besides, what bride doesn’t want to receive a some special pearl wedding jewelry from her father or fiance right before the ceremony? That said, when the couple has been married before, some of the gift giving customs have to go. A shower is a no-no for the second time bride, and lavish wedding gifts are also unnecessary when the bride and groom are merging two complete households.
4. Garter Toss.
The garter toss started out because of an old superstition that said grabbing a piece of the bride’s clothing would bring some of her good fortune to the bearer. After a while, brides tired of having their gowns ripped apart by their guests, and started tossing their garters to the crowd instead. The groom got in on the act to prevent any over eager luck-seekers from trying to go under the bridal gown to retrieve the lucky garter themselves. These days, however, the garter toss has turned into nothing more than a tacky moment in what should be an elegant day. The point is no longer about catching the garter for luck, but rather in seeing how far the groom can push the borders of good taste. For that reason, the garter toss belongs on the scrap heap of wedding traditions!
So, what other traditions do you think are worthy of keeping or ditching? The dollar dance, the rehearsal dinner, or maybe the traditional marriage vows? Let the debating begin!