We’ve all been ingrained with the traditional dos and don’ts of a traditional American wedding. Since you’ve been engaged, I’m sure that even complete strangers have been giving you advice on what you should do on your wedding day. All of the rules, traditions and antiquated etiquette centered around weddings can be enough to make your head spin! Keep it all in perspective, though, this is a day to celebrate you and your husband-to-be. Ultimately, the celebration should reflect you and who you are as a couple. There are some rules that you definitely can (and should!) break in the pursuit of wedding-day happiness and here are a few.
1) You don’t have to wear white on your wedding day.
Over the past several seasons, there have been and endless parade of colored and even patterned wedding dresses coming down the runways at Bridal Fashion Week. You’re not confined to the white-ivory scale by the fashion world anymore, so if you want to wear a floral patterned gown, go for it! It’s all about what makes you feel like you’re glowing on your wedding day.
2) You don’t have to choose diamonds.
There are many reasons why a bride might not want a diamond engagement ring or wedding band, from cost, to social conscience, to personal preference. When Kate Middleton became engaged to Prince William, he gave her Princess Diana’s 18-carat blue sapphire ring, ushering in a new era for engagement jewelry. If you prefer a diamond-like look without the cost, a Moissanite stone could be an option for you. If you’d like a colored stone without having to sacrifice size for a fancy colored diamond, rubies, emeralds and sapphires of all colors have become wildly popular choices that you too, can choose. It’s a piece of jewelry that you’ll wear for the rest of your life, so follow your heart!
3) Not everyone gets a plus-one.
Traditionally, any guest over the age of eighteen gets a plus-one to your wedding festivities, so that they may bring a guest. With more and more brides and grooms taking on the responsibility of fully financing their own weddings, budget can be a concern. The easiest way to control your budget is to control your guest count, so the first group of people to be cut from the list are usually the plus-ones. It’s good form to invite spouses, live-in and long-time partners of your guests, but you don’t need to invite your cousin Kathy’s boyfriend of two months. This might ruffle some feathers, so be gentle, but firm. Your guests will still have a great time sans the plus ones, I promise!
4) You can see your future spouse before you meet at the altar.
It’s widely thought to be bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding, but there are several great reasons to do it anyway. If you have lots of family photos to take and don’t want to miss the bulk of your cocktail hour, you might want to consider a “first look” session. And, if you’re getting married at night, a first look would be the only way to get photos with your groom in natural daylight. The photographer will capture the moment of you and your groom seeing each other for the first time, in a private setting. It’s a deeply emotional event that produces some beautiful photos! This can also eliminate any anxiety about walking down the aisle, and you can keep your hair and makeup team on hand to fix you up before your ceremony.
5) You don’t have to have bride’s side and groom’s side seating.
A wedding is all about uniting two families through matrimony, so your guests should be more concerned about picking a seat than picking a side! Not fussing over whether cousin Kathy is sitting on your side of the aisle will eliminate some stress for you and your ushers. As an added bonus, having a more open ceremony seating plan can lend itself to a unique aisle design!
Whether you choose to stick to the wedding etiquette that brides and grooms before you have followed, or you and Ms. Emily Post just don’t see eye to eye, make sure you enjoy your wedding day and make it your own!