There is a beautiful balance of implementing a tradition into your wedding to appease your parents and grandparents, while putting a modern twist on it to make it your own. From the cocktail hour to bridal shower, to wedding gowns, here are a few of our favorite modern spins on timeless traditions.
Bridal showers have always been planned for and hosted by women. Add some cucumber sandwiches, a bowl of punch, and a 2-4pm time frame, and you’ve met the mark of the traditional bridal shower. To keep the fun of the event, but to allow your better half to be part of it, consider hosting a joint shower, where both of you can attend, mingle with loved ones, and be showered in gifts. You are going to go home and retell the event to them anyway, better they are just there to enjoy it themselves.
Take it a notch further and welcome men to attend the shower. When looking at your guest list, you will notice which men it will make sense to invite, for example your bridesmaid who is dating one of your fiancé’s friends. That guy is a shoo-in!
Adjust the décor of the shower to be more gender balanced and have fun with it! Have your caterer create “His” and “Hers” stations featuring each of your own favorite foods. Or create a version of each of your favorite cocktails. Being a smaller event than the wedding, this is a great opportunity to make small details count.
Couples who have had separate homes or have lived together prior to the wedding find making a traditional wedding registry a bit cumbersome and repetitive. Already owning most of the items needed for home use, the registry becomes somewhat of a waste. But guests will be looking for something as a hint in what to gift for your wedding, so you can’t leave them hanging. If you are taking a honeymoon after the wedding, pair up with a honeymoon registry company, like Honeyfund, and allow your guests to gift you experiences on your honeymoon (massage, ocean-front dinner, excursions, etc.). This is an exception modern spin on a timeless tradition that could make your honeymoon unforgettable.
You can also take your registry in a more charitable route and request that donations be made to a local charity you both care about. Or ask guests to bring their favorite childhood book so that you can make a donation to a local children’s hospital/library. When in doubt, and when you don’t need another waffle maker, always find a way you can give back.
When it comes to wedding gowns – two is always better than one. And brides are catching on quick as we are seeing more and more weddings feature a formal gown at the ceremony and a completely different gown worn at the reception that is more casual in style. This allows a bride to keep with tradition during the ceremony, where a train, long veil, or sleeves may be appropriate, but then switch up the look later to be a better fit for dancing, mingling, and the sendoff.
STAND ON YOUR GOOD SIDE
Tradition states that the bride and her ladies should stand on the left side of the altar and the groom and the groomsmen should be on the right. Back when the tradition was started, this formality was set in place so that the groom could easily wield a sword with his right hand while at the altar (cue awkward loss of words moment here). So, unless you feel the need to have a sword present at your wedding, there is really no reason that either of you needs to feel obligated to stand on a certain side or another. Stand on your good side, or whichever side makes you feel most comfortable. This is such an easy modern spin on a timeless tradition.
PRE-CEREMONY COCKTAIL HOUR
If your ceremony and reception are being hosted at the same location, then you have the ability to toss tradition aside and host a cocktail hour before the ceremony. Hosting this the hour before the ceremony provides you and your guests a few things: Late guests that would have been awkwardly disrupting the ceremony now won’t be late after all. If the ceremony is outside, your guests will all have a refreshment in hand to keep them cooled off. And if dinner is being hosted late, then having small bites at the cocktail hour will keep guests fulfilled. Your personal benefit is that if your morning schedule is running late, you can simply extend the cocktail hour until you are ready (don’t be too late though). If you would have hosted the cocktail hour after the ceremony you likely wouldn’t have been in attendance anyway, so you aren’t missing out on anything going the non-traditional route.
A FLASHY EXIT
Sending off the newlyweds was a fun past time, but that was when receptions were only a few hours long and ended well before midnight. Some of the send-off images you see online aren’t as glorious in person as they seem in the photo. If you are wanting the traditional, guest-filled exit photo, you’ll likely have to do it after dinner when the majority of your guests are still in attendance. Because once you’ve cut the cake, danced your first dance, and let the bouquet fly, you’ll turn around to realize a lot of your guests have left. Not that they don’t love you, but wedding days are long and tiring. So, either stage it to get the photo or forego the whole thing – chances are you aren’t going to print and display that photo anyway. Maybe not so much a modern spin on a timeless tradition, as a final dead end to an era.
TAKE A MINI-MOON
The tradition that a couple immediately leaves the reception to depart on a honeymoon has long been set. And it is a hard one to break, because at the end of all of that wedding planning you both certainly deserve some relaxation! In recent years the pandemic caused a lot of couples to hit pause on their honeymoon travel, creating a whole new trend in honeymoon planning, called a “mini-moon”. Instead of going off the grid for a week following the wedding, you instead take a few days break, then save money and go on a more elaborate trip later. Typically, a mini-moon is to a destination that is closer to home so that it’s easier to travel to, more affordable, and less PTO. Then, when the time is right, whether it be in 6 months or on your 1-year anniversary of the wedding, you take your real honeymoon, the adventure you’ve always wanted to take together.
We hope that you will be creative with the modern spins on timeless traditions at your wedding. Who knows, you might start an entirely new tradition!
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