Not So Traditional? Not To Worry!

Do you consider yourself a non-traditional couple?  If so, you may be questioning if you really need to follow all of the wedding customs like wearing a veil, not seeing each other before the wedding, or wearing boutonnieres and corsages.  While it is completely up to you if you decide to skip these traditions, you might be suprised how these types of details makes it "feel" like a wedding.  Where do these traditions come from anyway? Boutonnieres Traditionally, the flower was placed in the button hole of the man’s suit or tuxedo. However, these days, most bouts are pinned directly to the man’s lapel, a long standing trend that aging French women still scoff at. Alternatives: Pocket Sqaures, non-floral boutonnieres such as feathers, fabric, twine etc. Bridal Bouquet The bridal bouquet today is anything from lilies to roses or orchids or a combination or many beautiful exotic or ordinary flowers.  The use of flowers in a bridal bouquet started off as a way to symbolize fertility and everlasting love.  Before flowers, many brides carried bouquet of garlic, herbs and grain to ward off evil spirits.

Ceremony Seating, Why on the Left? Have you ever wondered why the bride’s family is seated on the left side of the church and the groom’s side is seated on the right? The tradition stems from medieval times when men wore swords on their right side. It is said they needed that side free in order to draw their sword and protect his bride. Alternative: Open seating for guests to sit where they please, except for reserved seating.


The Veil The Tradition: The introduction of the veil came into  Europe during the time of the Crusades.  In early weddings the bride was  bargained for through her father. Covered in a veil, she was revealed  to her husband after the ceremony.  Brides also wore orange blossom  wreaths in the hair on top of the veil, which is where the tiara could  have originated from.  Veils were used as a symbol of virginity and  purity for brides given to their mates. Alternative: If the idea of wearing a veil doesn't appeal to you, consider an alternative such as not covering your face, or skipping one altogether.  Photo Courtesy of

Happy Planning! ___________________________________________________________

Additional Resources for Non-Traditional Weddings: Non-Traditional Wedding Venues The Nontraditional Wedding

Wedding Traditions from Around the World

Just as the ceremony, a wedding reception often follows family, religious, or cultural traditions.  Here are a few interesting tidbits on the origin of some of the most well-known wedding traditions.  Some of them may surprise you! Best Man Originated from the German Goths, the tradition of a best  man was introduced to aid a man in the search of his bride who needed to travel  to neighboring countries for long distances and time, to seek out his beloved.  The groom was given the right to sought out the best man on hand to accompany  and safeguard his search.  “Best” at  those times of course meant a brave warrior able to undertake beasts and bad  weather. The best man would continue to be by the groom’s side and would be the  sole protector of the ring. The role of the best man then evolved into a deeper  nature where he would be standing focused and well-armed during the wedding  ceremony in case of any threats. Mostly, the danger would be in the case where  the bride’s family would attempt to seize the bride by force and recapture her  back into their kingdom. The best man would continue to respect his duties and  stand outside the newlywed’s home and shelter their protection.

Handfasting Handfasting is an age old tradition practiced by the Celtics. It’s a custom of performing trial marriage ceremonies similar to betrothal or today’s engagement period. It involved couples publicly declaring their intention of marrying. These days, it is still being practiced by Pagans, Neo-pagans, Wiccans and romantic couples.

Champagne Toast A toast is a ritual in which a drink is taken as an expression of honor or goodwill. The term may be applied to the person or thing so honored, the drink taken, or the verbal expression accompanying the drink. Thus, a person could be "the toast of the evening," for whom someone "proposes a toast" to congratulate and for whom a third person "toasts" in agreement ( First Dance The custom of a "First Dance" harkens back to ancient times when the "Bride Kidnapper" would show off his "hunting" skills by parading his "stolen" bride around, in front of his warrior friends, so they could see how well he had done. The feasting would begin immediately after this display. Today, the "First Dance" still traditionally marks the beginning of the reception. (

Wishing Tree A wonderful Dutch tradition is the “wedding wish tree,” in which paper leaves are signed by the attendees along with personal messages, and are attached to a branch next to the bride and groom’s table in place of a guest book.

Money Dance Originating all the way back to the early 1900's, the money dance is said to have started in Poland, where it was called Pani Mloda and accompanied by a specific song. The idea of the money dance was to pin the money to the brides' veil as a way to personally give the happy couple their best wishes and one last wedding present. In a large wedding party, this was often the only time that the guests had any one-on-one time with the bride. It was the Italians that later replaced pinning the money onto the veil with placing it into a purse. Tossing the Bouquet It's a suspenseful moment when the single women gather behind the bride for the bouquet toss, to see who will be the next to get married. To get the blossoms to the wallflowers, she stands on a balcony, the top of a staircase, or a chair, her back to the crowd. Breaking Tradition Save your bridal bouquet and throw a special "fortune bouquet" composed of a dozen or so small clusters of flowers bound together with a ribbon that you untie before you throw. Each mini bouquet is bundled with a different romantic fortune. (

Wedding Favors In older traditions, the bride and groom were believed to be lucky. By the 19th  century, when wedding favors had reached the middle and lower social classes,  favors were given as a way for the bride and groom to spread their luck and the  blessings of their marriage to each of their guests. The new couple often  distributed favors by hand to each person at the wedding as a way to share the  blessing of their love.

Guest Book The wedding guest book was once a necessity. In days of old, everyone who attended a wedding was considered a witness and was required to sign the marriage document. Today, even though the legal requirements for witnesses have changed, the concept of a guest book remains as a wonderful remembrance for the wedding couple. (

Throwing Rice Tossing rice is a custom from the ancient world that has long been popular in the United States. Everyone, even young children, can gleefully participate in the post-ceremony practice that symbolizes the showering of abundance and fertility on the bride and groom. If you don't want to use rice, you can borrow other ideas from around the world. In France people throw wheat, a symbol of bounty, after the ceremony. Italians rain candy and sugared nuts over couples, for sweetness in marriage. (

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