Today’s weddings are seeing many brides break traditions and incorporating their own styles. And who can blame them – sometimes, traditional dresses, songs and rituals don’t meet the needs of brides- and grooms-to-be.
“For me, planning a wedding has been more about choosing the traditions and rituals that suit my fiancé and I rather than following certain rules,” says Amanda Ryder, a bride-to-be from Tillsonburg, Ont.
Dana Culver, a bride-to-be from Jarvis, Ont., feels the same way and is breaking a few traditions herself.
“We have decided to do pictures in the afternoon, around 2:30 p.m., then hold the ceremony at 5 p.m., with dinner to follow,” she says. Dana and her husband-to-be, Adam Vokes, have chosen to hold the ceremony and reception in the same hall, rather than in a church or different venue. This means the bride and groom will see each other before the ceremony. “We also thought it would be more personal to meet before, so the first time he sees me in my dress it will be just the two of us, rather than 200 people staring at us.”
Neither bride-to-be plans on walking down the aisle to Wagner’s bridal march, but rather, they will choose a song that means more to them. One tradition Ryder won’t break is her father walking her down the aisle. “I think it’s a moment that most fathers assume will happen when they have a daughter, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Over the past few years, many brides have broken away from traditional bridal parties. Choosing attendants of different genders is quite common, and sometimes, brides choose to have two maids of honour, like Ryder has: “They are both close friends and I couldn’t choose, so they will share the responsibility,” she says.
As far as bridesmaids dresses, it’s becoming more and more common to dress your maids in different styles of dress, just as both Ryder and Culver plan to do.
“My bridesmaids will be wearing the same colour, but I am allowing them to pick their own styles so they will be comfortable and more likely to wear the dress again,” Culver says.
Ryder has given her bridesmaid’s similar guidelines; also hoping her girls will get another use of the dress.
“I have six bridesmaids in total and each one chose her own. I only asked that they all went with the same material, colour and length to bring the look together,” she says. “Also, I think it would have been hard to find one style that flattered everyone. I don’t have a problem with the brides going with bridesmaid dresses that are different shades or styles as long as they complement each other and there’s something to help distinguish the girls from the other guests.”
While the bridesmaids’ dresses may be different, both Culver and Ryder are sticking to the traditional white gown and veil themselves. “Personally, I don’t think I’d want to try different colours or a short dress only because it’s just not my style,” Ryder says.
Ultimately, the traditions you choose to include in your wedding should be up to you and your groom. “I think that if a tradition doesn’t work for a bride, then she shouldn’t have to include it,” Ryder says. “A wedding should reflect the style and personality of the couple.”