5 Wedding Traditions You Shouldn't Feel Guilty About Skipping

Woo Hoo! You're engaged! Now you get to start planning your wedding (which is awesome!), although figuring out where to start can be difficult and overwhelming. You might start thinking about the weddings you've been to in years past. Most likely though, the bulk of your wedding attendee experience took place when you were a kid. Therefore, you've probably attended a bunch of super traditional weddings. Ceremony in a church, reception two hours later, eat your chicken/beef/fish, dance a little, cut the cake, bye bye.

By no means is there anything wrong with this format, having a traditional wedding does not make your love for one another any less special. But I know when I started planning our wedding, I wanted to throw a PARTY. I did not want to follow the super traditional wedding format, and if you feel the same way, this post is for YOU!

1. Save the Dates

No, I am not suggesting you skip save the dates (although if you don't care about them, skip em!). When you get engaged you want to tell everyone! Sending out save the dates is a way to do that and get a little instant gratification. Most of the plans you are making won't come to fruition for a year or more, but you get to send these bad boys out much sooner.

When I started looking for save the dates I knew two things: 1. I did not want them to say 'Save the Date'. To me that seemed too traditional, I wanted something that had the same message, but without that tired phrase. I opted for a coaster that said 'FREE DRINKS (and we're getting married)', they were a hit! 2. I didn't want to have our photo on it. We actually never even got engagement photos, another tradition I suppose we broke, so it was never really an option anyway. I opted for a simple design that incorporated the wedding colors. Choosing something with the wedding colors, or some artwork that fits the theme gives your future guests a peek at what you are planning!

There are so many options for wording and artwork, I would recommend checking out www.weddingpaperdivas.com or www.minted.com. If you register at Macy's, you'll probably get a Wedding Paper Divas coupon, but both sites are always running sales. Watch out for black friday sales even!

Here is the coaster design we ordered from Wedding Paper Divas

2. The Wedding Cake

Again, am I telling you to not have a wedding cake? Hell no! That would be insane. But does it have to be a cake? No way! There are so many other options for dessert, if you don't want a plain old three tiered white frosting cake, don't!

I knew from the jump I did not want a wedding cake. I personally don't really like cake and you know what? It's my day! So we eat what I like (This makes me sound like a crazy person but hey, it's true). Some of my favorite options I found for cake alternatives were

  • A rice crispy cake
  • Waffles with a toppings bar
  • Cakepops
  • Tiered cheesecake with strawberries on top
  • Cheese!

Basically any dessert you can think of, make it mini and put it on a tiered stand, BOOM! instant unique and awesome wedding 'cake'.

We followed this model with a tower of mini donuts (because of our love of donuts, who doesn't love donuts?) and they. were. AMAZING! We threw a cake topper on it and called it a day. They were a hit, everyone loved them and the best part about a dessert like that is that people can grab one or two at their leisure.

Here are some other wedding cake alternatives (that are still cakes but the decorations are super unique)-

Just do what feels right, don't go to a bakery and choose between a white or chocolate cake because that's what you think of when you think wedding cake. If you really love chocolate covered pretzels, ditch the cake format all together and have a chocolate covered pretzel bar with different kinds of chocolate and toppings. This may be a bit messy at a formal wedding, but you get where I'm going right?

3. Flowers

Again, when planning your wedding think about what your style is. Are you super girly and your wedding is going to be an over-the-top romantic fairytale? You go girl, get ALL THE FLOWERS. However, if you're thinking of something more minimal, if you're on a budget, or if you really just don't care about flowers; skip em.

Personally I had super simple bouquets for my bridesmaids and I, and those were the only flowers at the wedding. Our centerpieces had some small succulents in them, which my mom put together on the cheap. Succulents are a great alternative if big flowers aren't really your speed, and you can give them out at the end of the night if you want.

(succulents are all the rage right now)

Another great alternative to real flowers are paper flowers. There are so many tutorials on pinterest on how to make different types of flowers out of all types of papers. Whether you put them on a stem and in a bouquet, or make a flower wall (my personal favorite) there are so many possibilities. You get to choose the size, color, shape; and they're always in season! Faux flowers or silk flowers are another solid option, but be careful how you use them. In an arrangement on a table they may look tacky but on something hanging on the wall or in a crafted piece like a flower covered letter, it will look fine. I made my alter using fake flowers and from a distance no one can tell the difference. I think the keys are using them on something people won't be looking at up close, and somewhere people wouldn't expect you to use actual flowers aka on a styrofoam letter that you glued 1,493 flowers to.

If just bouquets seems like too many flowers to you, think about other options for them! The trend I've seen most recently is the brooch bouquets. These bad boys are heavy, but really beautiful, especially if you have some family heirlooms to add a personal touch. I'll be honest with you here is where I had to do a quick Pinterest search because, I wasn't sure what other bouquet alternatives people had come up with. There were so many non-flower bouquets! Here are some pretty unique ones:

4. Processional Music

So this is one I didn't even know I wanted to be non-traditional about. In all the time I spent choosing the first dance song, the dinner playlist, etc. I always just figured I'd use the traditional wedding march. Early on we had chosen a unique recessional song by a band we both really like, so I don't know why I never considered the former. In the end my DJ told me he needed to know what processional song(s) were going to play and once I decided to research popular "non-traditional" processional songs, I was hooked. I ended up going with 'Moon River' a song that Audrey Hepburn sings in Breakfast at Tiffany's, one of my favorite movies. I also had unique songs for the parents and the wedding party to walk to. Such a small thing adds a very personal touch to the ceremony.

5. Reception Traditions/Games

Once the ceremony is over, the party really begins. There are some formalities to a reception you don't want to skip; toasts, dinner, cake cutting. But certain parts of the reception you should not feel bad about ditching. The garter toss, or even the bouquet toss for that matter, if they aren't important to you- don't do them! Nobody (except maybe your single thirty something year old cousin) is going to be upset they weren't corralled onto the dance floor so you could throw a fake bouquet at them while single ladies plays. As for the garter, I just preferred to not have my new husband go creepily up my dress in front of every person I know.

Doing something you don't really care about throws off the vibe of the night. So if you don't want to do a dollar dance, or play the shoe game (whatever that is), please please don't do it. The reception flies by, you don't have any time to waste on activities you're doing because you think you have to. That being said if there is something you want to have at the reception that is unconventional, DO IT. We had a piñata shaped like a cake, filled with tiny bottles of booze. Pretty great right? The other idea I had for our reception was 'cham-pong', I wanted to have a beer pong table with wide mouth champagne glasses. This one we did not end up doing but I stand by it still! If you have an outdoor wedding, have corn hole or giant jenga. There are so many fun things you could add for every part of a traditional reception you might want to take away.

The entire reason for adding or subtracting from a 'traditional' reception is to make the wedding fit YOU. It's your wedding and the guests should see every detail and think WOW, this is so YOU. So have fun, ditch what you want, add what you want, and make it YOU!