WEDDING TRADITIONS; YAY OR NAY?
Hello, you utterly beautiful married-couples-to-be!
With wedding season fully under way now, you’ll find that a lot of my features will be rooted in real life, all those little things that happen on wedding days that make me perk up and think: “I wonder how many other brides or grooms are in the same boat.”
Some of you will have read some of my posts over the past months. For those of you haven’t, I’m not the one who talks about the pretty, I leave that in the enormously talented wedding stylists of the team (you couldn’t be in better hands). I’m all about all things operational, wedding day logistics and, often, all of that’s tied in with the emotional side of wedmin. All those challenges you’re suddenly facing that you really, really hadn’t expected to.
I had an all-afternoon planning meeting with one of my May couples yesterday, and we got on to the topic of traditions. What wedding traditions are there? Which, if any, do you have to stick to? How can you make them work for you?
We all know the saying “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” But do you know why it’s traditional to cut the cake? Why do brides tend to wear white? Where did the first dance stem from and do you have to have it as part of your day? Why is it supposed to be bad luck to spend the night before the wedding with your bride/groom-to-be?
I won’t decipher the stories and myths behind traditions today (but if you’d like me to let me know and I can do that in another feature). What I would like to do is talk about how you feel about traditions and if/how to make them part of your day.
I worked with a totally wonderful couple a few weeks back. They weren’t going to do the first dance – it just really wasn’t ‘them’, not one bit. They were going to cut the cake, though, and the bride was planning on tossing the bouquet. So far, so planned and on the wedding day schedule.
So after a delectable wedding breakfast, oodles of speeches-induced laughter and general bonhomie, all guests filed out into the reception area where the cake was waiting, dazzling in all its beauty and carted into the perfect ‘cake cutting spot’ by yours truly. Tadah!
Let me backtrack a little. Having been part of dozens and dozens of wedding days, one of my best bits of advice is to get any formal elements done and dusted as soon as possible. There comes a time in the day where your guests just want to relax and no longer want to be told where to stand or what to do. I’m sure you felt the same at the odd wedding reception you ‘guested’ at.
And let’s face it, it’ll be the same for you two. You’ll just want to dance, kibitz, drink and relish the last hours of the day you have worked so hard to create for months on end.
But let me make that a little more graspable with an example: if you want to stick to a traditional timeline of cake cutting and first dance, do them together. You’ll get all your guests’ attention for the cutting of the cake; you’ll keep them tuned for your first dance and, even better, you have them all right where you want them to be, by the dance floor to start the evening party. If you want to toss the bouquet, make it a triple and build that in between the cake cutting and first dance. Or do it at the very end of the evening (just note that your photographer will be likely to have left by then so you won’t have it captured by a pro).
And precisely where am I going with this?
Following my very own advice, I asked the bride whether she was still happy to stick to the planned timeline and do the double take of cake cutting and bouquet toss pretty sharpishly while we still had the chance to get their guests’ attention. And d’you know what? She thought for a moment, sighed and told me that she really just wanted to relax now, that she’d prefer to give the bouquet to someone particular anyway and did she absolutely have to cut the cake? I couldn’t have loved her more right then and there. I think I may have told her that I loved her and given her a mahoosive hug. Don’t judge me!
You see, there’s no written rule anywhere that says you’re not married unless you smoosh some cake into each other’s faces or have shuffled onto each other’s toes for a first dance. There’s also no proof that you’ll have to endure years of bad luck if you decide to spend the night before your wedding together or can’t find something borrowed.
It’s not that I’m against traditions, not one bit. Mr b&g and I incorporated quite a few of them into our day but we cherry picked the ones that worked for us and, more importantly, the ones that meant something to us.
What my bride needed right at that moment was the reassurance that no, she didn’t have to do what neither she nor her husband felt like doing, and I was delighted to be the person to do that. And I’m pretty darn sure they had a better evening for it. Why would you spend precious time sticking to traditions that just don’t work for you?
So my message to all of you gorgeous girls and boys is to make it your own. Get to know the traditions that are out there and what the meanings behind them are. Use the ones you like and those that work for you and the flow of your day. Ignore the ones that just don’t mean a thing to you but at the same time don’t be afraid to use traditions from other cultures that you love.
And if, on the day, things change and there’s something you no longer feel works for you, just skip it.
If anyone tells you off, just blame me and tell them “Mrs b&g said it was ok.”
Now go and wedmin the pants off your wedding day, safe in the knowledge that you don’t have to endure months of nightmares at the thought of having to impress your guests with your shuffling wedding waltz.
Toodles and love,
— Mrs b&g