Wedding Rules That Were Made to Be Broken

You don't need to stick to these traditions.

Elderly relatives may say otherwise, but these so-called wedding rules do not need to be followed.

Photo: Laurie Bailey Photography

For most people, strict rules of etiquette are not a huge part of their everyday life. Social standards and politeness, of course, but generally we deal with the kind of behavior you learn through common sense, not a book. Yet when a couple gets engaged, they are suddenly thrown into a world of rules they very well may not have heard before. Sometimes these are true issues of etiquette, like not inviting someone without including their spouse. However, there are other aspects that are touted as musts, when they are really old-fashioned customs and traditions that may not apply to everyone getting married. Elderly relatives may say otherwise, but the below so-called rules do not need to be followed.

- Matching bridesmaids. Assuming you’re not concerned about confusing evil spirits, which is where the tradition comes from, there’s no need to put your bridesmaids into matching gowns. You don’t even have to have a bridal party!

- The bride’s family pays. First of all, not every wedding has a bride, so it would be a little difficult to have her family pay in that case! Nowadays, both families will often offer to contribute, or the engaged couple will simply pay for the whole event themselves. There are no rules.

- Guests sit on the side of whom they know. Weddings are supposed to bring families together, so why not use the ceremony to blend the sides? Also, sweethearts frequently share friends, making it tough for close pals to choose a side anyway. 

- Traditional music. You can pick whatever song you’d like for when you walk down the aisle, so don't feel the need to use Pachelbel's "Canon in D" unless it's the tune you truly desire.  

- Escorted by your father. Not everyone has a good relationship with their dad, or even has one at all. You can honor your mother by having her on your arm during the processional, ask a close friend or sibling, or even just walk down the aisle alone!

- White bridal gown. Your wedding-day ensemble (which doesn’t have to be a dress) can be whatever hue you choose, though most brides who don't go with white still stick to a soft pastel or metallic palette. 

- Bouquet and garter toss. If you love the classic traditions, by all means partake in them! However, if it’s not your thing, you shouldn’t feel like you need to include certain traditions. 

For more ideas, learn what guests shouldn't wear, find out how to have an adults-only wedding, and gather ideas for a non-traditional wedding processional song.