4 Wedding Traditions You Can Skip
After reading a few bridal magazines, it can start to seem like the whole world is in agreement as to what makes a “perfect wedding.” Now that you and your partner are promising to share each other’s lives, you are poised at the top of a roller coaster that can carry you (and your wedding budget) quickly into uncharted territory. Before you get swept away, however, take a moment to think about what makes your relationship unique. There are almost certainly some wedding traditions you already know you want to embrace; give some thought, also, to those you may want to skip.
#1 The Rehearsal Dinner
While the meaning behind the rehearsal dinner–thanking the nearest and dearest for their contributions to the wedding–is a lovely gesture, for many couples it can become a stressful obligation. After all, you’ve just committed to wining and dining your friends and family the following night; sometimes hosting “another wedding” the night before your wedding just isn’t covered by your already-stretched budget.
If you can’t treat your guests to an elegant dinner two nights in a row, you have several choices. First, you can shrink your guest list. (Just make sure to do this before you’ve sent the invites!) Second, you can choose a less expensive venue. (Taco trucks, anyone?) Third, you can find another way to thank your guests.
For example, make it clear that you’re gathering everyone for dinner–not hosting it, necessarily–in order to get them all in one room to receive their thank-you presents. Then you can hand out heartfelt gifts like handwritten and personal thank-you letters, “good for one” certificates, and handmade works of art. Remember, a sincere and thoughtful gesture is worth more than the cost of a meal.
#2 Seating Arrangements
Who says a wedding has to have guests sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with people they barely know? Throw away your convoluted spreadsheet and imagine a wedding without seating charts. That way, you can save money by skipping place cards and place card holders, and you can also skip the drama that comes with Uncle Jimmy balking at his assigned seat.
If you want to go a step further, skip the seated dinner altogether. You’ll save the time and effort that would have gone into designing matching table centerpieces, and you can put it to use choosing delicious food stations instead. Let the mingling begin!
#3 Unity Ceremonies
Deciding between sand, roses, and candles can start to seem like you’re choosing prefabricated symbols of someone else’s relationship. If you don’t think your unique relationship is fully represented by pouring two bottles of sand into a third bottle (or if you’re afraid your unity candle will flicker out during a windy beach ceremony), just skip the “unity ceremony” altogether. After all, your wedding itself is the ultimate unity ceremony!
Talk with your officiant about creating a unique representation of your relationship. Don’t be afraid to explore playful possibilities you haven’t seen before.
#4 Special Eating Implements
When you’re neck-deep in wedding planning, matching champagne flutes and custom cake serving utensils can start to seem mandatory. But before you spend hundreds of dollars on an artisan-designed set that matches your “rustic peacock” theme, take a step back. Do you really see yourself using these items ever again?
For most couples, the flutes and cake servers gather dust in the back of a cabinet and aren’t even trotted out anymore after the first anniversary. Unless you inherited a special wedding set as a family heirloom, it may make more sense to put everyday items to use for the job. A little bit of ribbon tied around glass stems and silverware handles goes a long way.
Keep a sense of perspective as you plan your wedding. Remember, just because you saw things done a certain way in a magazine, or at the last five weddings you attended, it doesn’t mean you have to use the same traditions in your celebration. If every wedding were the same, things would get boring pretty quickly! Think of it this way: your guests are coming to your wedding to celebrate you and your partner, specifically. Don’t you owe it to them to create a ceremony that’s purely you?