Breaking with Wedding Tradition

Breaking with wedding tradition: How the modern wedding has torn up the rule book

Flower man at a wedding - breaking with wedding tradition
Having a flower boy is one way of breaking with wedding tradition!

Most folk of a certain age, or fans of musical theatre, are likely to be familiar with the 1934 Cole Porter song ‘Anything Goes’.

In recent years those two words have become ever more applicable to weddings. As the traditional nuclear family has morphed into something much more fluid there’s been a blurring of traditional gender roles at weddings and a breaking with wedding tradition.

We’re all familiar with the traditional wedding party lineup of the bride and bridegroom, a best man and groomsmen, bridesmaids and flower girls. Along with one set of parents per member of the couple, a number of friends and a smattering of sisters, cousins, uncles and aunts these were the core ingredients of the ages-old wedding set-up.

Yet, as this 2008 article from The Guardian,’Why grooms want a best girl’, points out, one growing trend is to have a best woman instead of a best man. It seems this move started when chaps realised there was nothing to stop them having multiple ‘Best Men’ at their wedding. From there, men with close female friends started to ask themselves ‘Why a best man? Why not a woman?’

The then director of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners commented that, once the realisation dawned on couples that anything goes at a modern wedding, they began to play around with the male/female roles at weddings in effort to break with convention and to be different.

So if you want Groomswomen instead of Groomsmen and a Best Woman instead of a Best Man there’s nothing to stop you. This way you create a wedding that reflects you and what is important to you, not what tradition dictates. Do it. Be brave. Get yourselves breaking with wedding tradition.

Giving up the giving away: or at least changing the game

The whole ‘giving the bride away’ thing dates from the days when women didn’t exist in their own right. They were their father’s property until they married and became their husband’s. Nice.

These days many brides opt to do something different – for a number of reasons:

  • Feminism – many women don’t feel, and rightly so, that they are someone’s property to be handed over. But instead of dumping this section of the ceremony you can be creative with it and turn it into something more meaningful and one that reflects your choices.
  • There is no father – divorce, death and disappearance from a life – all sound reasons for doing it different. In such circumstances a bride often chooses her mum to walk done the aisle with her.
  • The bride wants to incorporate both her parents into this part of the ceremony. Because being given away presents a super opportunity to give thanks to your parents. It nods to the tradition without following it blindly.

This article from The Spruce, ‘Traditions and Alternatives to Giving Away the Bride’ offers some suggested wordings to fit any of the above scenarios.

Give the older generation a leading role in proceedings

In a society where worship of youth seems to be all-consuming a heart-warming trend of late is that of asking grandma to be a bridesmaid. What a wonderful, family-friendly move this is. Back in May 2015, when Caroline Quinn tied the knot, her bridesmaids included her grandma.

“What a way to celebrate a special relationship. “Who doesn’t want her best friend standing beside her on her wedding day? Not to mention all of my friends love my nana as well.  So we all had a great time planning and spending time together”

I can’t think of a better way to honour and celebrate the special role a grandmother plays in a child’s life than that!

Grandma-Bridesmaids- changing wedding traditions
Image courtesy of Sweet Water Portaits.Com


What do you think? Are you planning to break with tradition and have a Best Woman or have your mum give you away?

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