Buck Tradition and Plan Your Day Your Way
Prepare yourself for some controversy. I’m going to talk about five traditions and expectations you should consider skipping when planning your wedding. These aren’t your usual “skip the bouquet toss and garter removal”. We are getting real about weddings and why we shouldn’t make decisions about our day for anyone but ourselves and our partner.
Invite Only Who YOU Want There
1.You don’t have to invite all your relatives. Yeah, I just said it. I wanted an intimate wedding with immediate family members and closest friends only. I have a huge extended family and the thought of them all showing up freaked me the hell out. Most of them I hadn’t seen or spoken to in over 10 years, so I decided not to invite all of my aunts and uncles or cousins. I invited only the ones I had closer relationships with. This is probably the hardest expectation that we bucked. I know some family members had hurt feelings, and while I hate that, my wedding was for me and my partner and no one else. Ultimately looking back, due to other family issues, we should have left out more family and had an event even smaller than 36 guests. But that’s a topic for another day.
2. Wedding ceremonies don’t have to be in the afternoon with a long reception that lasts hours into the night. Brunch weddings are on the rise and for good reason. They are fantastic. Can you say mimosa reception? Oh yes! This was my favorite tradition we skipped. Our ceremony was at 11 AM (looking back I would bump it to 1 PM so things aren’t so rushed in the morning) with a champagne brunch immediately following. We served two types of eggs benedict, fruit, paninis, and tomato basil soup with mimosas to drink. Not only does serving mimosas keep the bar costs lower than having a full bar, but it kept things mostly tame which is beneficial if you have concerns about family members and alcohol.
Same Gendered Wedding Party
3. It’s quite surprising that I even have to mention this one, but it’s a big one. Why are a bride and groom expected to have only their same gendered friends by their side on their wedding day? My husband had a female friend as a groomsmen. She dubbed herself a groomsmaid. She wore the same dress as the bridesmaids except it was in the same color as the other groomsmen’s suits. I’m so glad we included her in that way. It wouldn’t have felt right to not have her in the wedding since we did have a wedding party. Which brings me to my next point.
The Wedding Party
4. Skip it. I didn’t do this myself, but a friend of mine did, and looking back I would do the same. I have had the most fun at weddings that I wasn’t a bridesmaid, and even at the time that I chose to have bridesmaids, I felt super weird about it. I hated asking them to buy a dress, and overall, it really just didn’t feel right, but I wasn’t confident enough to skip this tradition. I say, if you think you’d rather not have a wedding party, go with your gut and skip it. I was an “honorary bridesmaid” for my friend who didn’t have a wedding party, and we still did a little bachelorette party. Her mom insisted on hosting a shower for her which I attended because I wanted to be there for her. I even did her make up for her the morning of the wedding. But it felt more relaxed than times I’ve been a bridesmaid.
5. After first getting engaged, I struggled immensely with whether we should have an intimate wedding or just a romantic elopement. We had a lot of major family drama, and I knew it would impact the wedding day. Ultimately, we decided on both options. A week before the wedding we eloped in a private ceremony with just the two of us. We spent zero money save for dinner afterwards and then spent the weekend at home in a newlywed bliss. Then came the wedding day. It was an intimate affair with only 36 guests. We were married on the campus where we met, in front of gorgeous floor to ceiling windows. The fireplace crackled at our reception. It was beautiful and our ceremony was the stuff of dreams, but like I feared, the family drama blew up in our newlywed faces at the very beginning of our reception. If you have major issues, like one of your families opposing your union, either do not invite them, or elope. Ultimately, I wanted my family with us to celebrate which is why we went ahead with the wedding too. It was a great day for my side of the family, but I still have mixed feelings about the day. Again, I say go with your gut. If eloping is nagging at you, maybe just do it? Have a brunch for the people who support and love you another time to celebrate.