New Versions of Wedding Essentials

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Guy Writing Wedding VowsWeddings have accumulated a lot of weight of tradition over the last, oh, couple hundred years. You get married by a clergy member in a church, you honeymoon somewhere tropical, you register for china and flatware, et cetera, et cetera. But slowly, those “essential” wedding must-haves and must-dos are changing. The latest generation of wedding couples doesn’t feel obligated to do things the way they’ve always been done. Here are a few old-school wedding essentials and the way they’re being reinterpreted today.

The Officiant

Old-school: A pastor or priest comes with the wedding venue, whether he’s familiar with you as a couple or not. He requires you to go through wedding counseling with the church before he agrees to marry you and collects a modest fee for his services.

New Style: The couple picks their best (or funniest) friend to officiate. He or she gets ordained online, performs the ceremony, and has a couple of drinks as payment.

The Venue:

Old-school: Church, park, country club–those three are the only venues worth mentioning, unless you’re doing a simple ceremony at the Justice of the Peace. Wherever you get married must be elegant, over-decorated, and formal.

New Style: Anywhere the couple enjoys being is a potential wedding venue. It could be a theater, a bowling alley, or next to Jabba’s dais at Comic-Con. Decorations are optional, as is formal wear.

The Wedding Party

Old-School: The bride wears a snow-white dress (if she deserves to), the groom wears a tux. Bridesmaids wear matching dresses; groomsmen matching tuxes. The groom has a Best Man and the bride has a Maid of Honor.

New Style: The bride wears white, red, yellow, or any color of the rainbow that suits her. The bridesmaids wear whatever looks great and fits the theme. The groom can wear suspenders and a chambray shirt, jeans and cowboy boots, or whatever looks cool. the groom may very well have a Best Woman and the bride might pick her best bro to be the Man of Honor.

The Vows

Old-School: Say it with us, now “I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”

New Style: Instead of rote repetition of vows someone wrote ages ago, most couples are opting to write their own vows that have deep personal meaning. Sometimes they’ll include the have and to hold bit, but most of the time it’s more a statement of purpose for the rest of the marriage.

The Reception

Old-School: An elegant sit-down dinner served on white linen and fine china by crisply uniformed waiters. Just a champagne toast, a cake-cutting ceremony, and a few hours of dancing before the end of the night and then the reception is over.

New Style: The best party you’ve never had an excuse to throw before now. Do you want to have a potluck dinner, followed by bouncing on a bounce castle and playing carnival games until the food trucks show up at midnight? If you can imagine it, you can find someone online to put it together for you.

I guess what we’re trying to say here is that now more than ever, your wedding can be anything you and your partner want it to be. If you’re old-school, there’s no shame in it; but there’s also no reason to be tied down to tradition. Don’t be afraid to take a chance and make your big day exactly what you want it to be.


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