The Random Writings of Rachel: Wedding Traditions We Skipped

Wedding Traditions We Skipped

I'm acting like such a typical girl these few days, thinking about our wedding. I thought I'd mention a few of the "have-tos" that we skipped. Either out of necessity or because we just didn't want to or because we didn't even know such traditions existed at the time.

 I love this photo.
Angel took it, it's his mom doing my hair, and his dad bothering us while getting ready in my Grandma and Grandpa's dining room.

--The groom seeing the bride before the wedding. We drove to the church together. With 4 other people in the same car. Cars were limited ya'll, we had to be practical.

--Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue. Technically, my wedding dress was new, and I'd had my shoes for about a year or so, so they were a little old. Besides that, too bad!

--My Dad walking me down the aisle. Not from lack of intent, we were just on different continents at the time.

--Garter/Garter Toss. That sounded really awkward to both of us...

--Bridesmaids/Groomsmen. Just an MOH for each of us.

--Ring Bearer. I'd seen too many ring bearers gone wrong, so I thought it was safer to avoid having one.

--Rented Tuxedos. Seemed inefficient to me. Angel bought a suit.

--A veil. I never ever pictured myself with a veil. If anything, it would have been a birdcage veil, but I went without.

--Unity Candle/Unity Sand. I like the theory more than the actual ceremony.

--Wedding favors. Something nice would have been outside the budget, and anything cheap that we saw wasn't worth it.

--First Dance. Or any dance for that matter. As far as I know, the church where we had our reception didn't allow dancing even if we had wanted it.

--Birdseed/Bubbles/etc. as the bride and groom left. I honestly don't really remember leaving, except I remember a lot of people helping us load the car with gifts and suitcases and I remember Angel being quite distressed at what a mess our car was. But there was no walking past a whole bunch of people throwing birdseed, jumping in the car and driving away.


And with all that I still think it was an exceptionally traditional wedding. I mean for me, anyways. I'm so grateful for all of the family members who put in a lot of time and effort to pull the whole thing together (In 9 weeks, Grandpa, not 3--which is the timeline he gives when telling the story), and for everyone who traveled a long way to share the day with us. Three years later, we're "still smiling"!

Did any of you break with tradition and skip any of the things others said you "had to" do? Or did you embrace every bit of tradition?


  1. Love this! I've always wanted to do a similar post about our wedding as well! (It's on my long, long list of ideas, so neatly and safely stored in my iPhone notes.) I felt like we also broke with tradition quite a bit - we saw each other before the wedding, we were actually married by a Judge, and it rained, so we ended up not even dancing at our reception (which I was slightly relieved for). Great post!

  2. I skipped the candle/sand too. Wasn't a fan. And I so agree on the favors. They are either cheap junk or cost too much!

  3. We skipped out on a lot of those things too.

    Our guys wore suits...renting tuxes seemed silly and our wedding was pretty casual. Justin is mortified by the garter tradition so we skipped that too. No unity candle/sand, and no birdseed/bubbles!

  4. The important part is that you are still smiling.

    We skipped all of it and eloped. I wasn't even going to have my parents there since Robert's family was all back in France but my sister talked me into telling my parents so they, along with my sister and one girlfriend were the only ones in attendance. We didn't want anyone there but had to have at least 2 witnesses. In the end I'm happy how it worked out. We were married in a hotel room by a justice of the peace. Our only out-of-pocket expenses were the marriage license, justice of the peace, some flowers for me and our gold bands. My Dad ended up paying for the hotel room which was where we spent our 1 day of honeymoon. I wore my sister's high school graduation dress.

    Turns out that not having any of the traditional elements that go along with a marriage doesn't affect how long the marriage will last. We are now on year 23.


  5. oh cute. We didn't do any of the things you didn't do either (well, except not see each other that day....because we got married at 9:30am lol) :P budget wedding ftw :D

    I love my wedding...........

  6. I could write a book in response to this post!
    1. We did rice-throwing and I was picking that stuff out of my hair for days. When I took my gown off, it all fell out. Awful.
    2. We did unity sand and it's still sitting at my parents' house in my old room because you can't transport it far without messing it up.
    3. No ring-bearer.
    4. None of that old, new, borrowed, blue stuff either.
    5. We took pictures before the ceremony.
    In the end, it doesn't even matter. Married is married, right :) Sometimes I feel bad for the people who LIVE for their wedding day, because it really does go by so darn quickly! Happy Anniversary!

  7. i hate how you are *supposed* to do all these things in order to have a traditional wedding. i think a wedding should reflect the individual couple. since we eloped i have never really thought about how a real wedding might have turned out for us, but i'd like to think we would leave out all the typically traditional stuff.

  8. I intentionally skipped a lot of wedding traditions :P
    1. We saw each other before the wedding. We did our pictures beforehand to save time--still got the first impression pic though!
    2. Old/New/Borrowed/Blue--Kind of did this, but not in the traditional way. Dress was new, shoes were blue, and most of the stuff we used to decorate was either borrowed or old and full of memories :P
    3. Garter toss & throwing the bouquet
    4. I didn't know any kid who'd make a good ringbearer, so we skipped that one too!
    5. None of the men in my wedding wore tuxedos. It was button-downs, vests, and jeans for all the guys! Everyone told me I'd regret the jeans, but I don't--most of them liked it after they saw it!
    6. No veil for me either! Never really liked them that much, but with my hair and dress it would have just looked awful.
    7. The dress. I picked a short, asymetrical design, and it wasn't even from the wedding section of the store! Ha. Shortcuts to be unique and save money :P
    8. None of that unity stuff for us either.
    9. The wedding march. I just can't stand the song, personally. So our wedding party went down to "He's a Pirate" from Pirates of the Caribbean, and I went down to the Avengers theme. It was epic! The recessional was "Unstoppable" by Foxy Shazam, and all the bridesmaids and groomsmen danced back up the aisle. So fun :)
    10. The first dance. Yeah, we didn't even have a dance the only dancing was at the recessional.

  9. We skipped candles and sand too, and opted to serve communion instead. Still one of my favorite things about our wedding!

  10. We only didn't skip the ring bearer/flower girl because the youngest relatives we had were 12 so they were responsible enough to do it without being bribed with candy. I thought I had a fairly traditional wedding, but we skipped quite a few things or did them our own way. And my dress was white and black and technically a prom dress, so that's definitely not traditional.

  11. If I ever.......well I would skip it all, because I am, so not into that traditional stuff at all, I would not wear a wedding dress, no ruffles or any such things. It's fine for others but not for me. Thx for sharing Rachel.

  12. I love this. We had a pretty traditional wedding, with a lot of our personalities thrown in. We had a lot of compliments, but also a lot of "it was different." I'll take that as a compliment, thank you. You two are so cute!

  13. There are a few traditions that I would love to keep, but not all of them. It's good to be unique and make up your own rules, it's a once in a life time day, of course!

    Corinne x

  14. We skipped the majority of your typical wedding "traditions" too. We each only had 2 attendants (his brother and sister in law, and his best friend and his wife), we didn't do the garter toss (awkward!), no unity sand or candle, no dancing, no alcohol at the wedding, no bouquet toss (instead we played a game to figure out who at the reception had been married the longest and they won my bouquet - it was my great aunt, married for over 50 years!) birdseed/bubbles when we left the ring bearer or flower old/new/borrowed/blue thing...So yeah. It was a pretty bare-bones wedding but I figured nobody likes to sit through a 2 hour wedding anyway, right? It's all about the reception. We had really good food and a REALLY good cake, and that was it. :)

  15. We skipped some those traditions too... I think everyone should have the wedding that works for them!

  16. We didn't do the majority of your typical wedding stuff either. The only thing that was listed that we DID do was bridesmaids and a ring bearer. Granted, we planned our wedding in about 2 weeks, but even if we did have a "big fancy wedding" we would have skipped most of it anyway.

  17. I love a wedding full of originality and breaking of traditions! I'm sure it was so, so beautiful :)

  18. We didn't have a first dance or a unity candle. And we took pictures together before. But, I actually did the something old, new, borrowed, and blue. It was kinda fun to find the stuff and it all meant something... Old = my hubby's great-grandmother's brooch on my bouquet. New = my dress and jewelry. Borrowed = my mom's veil. Blue = my six pence holder. Oh, and I had a six pence in my shoe. That's another tradition that is usually just in Europe.

  19. That's what I love about weddings, you can do whatever the heck you want! We didn't do a garter toss either, so awkward, haha! And we didn't have a best man or MOH-- just our siblings in the "bridal party". I love looking back to your wedding day!

  20. I like this idea for a post. We also saw each other before the ceremony. We had a "reveal" with just the two of us so it was more special and then we were able to hang out together with our family and wedding party before the wedding. We also were able to get all our pictures done beforehand. I recommend that to anyone (they don't usually listen...but I try!). We decided to have my friends sing a song while we did the Lord's Supper instead of unity candle/sand.

  21. We were pretty similar!

    1. We saw each other before the ceremony. We had a "first look." Not only was it something that we wanted.. it was the best thing ever because all the portrait shots of us, shots of him, shots of me, wedding party, etc was all finished. That was great, so I could change after the ceremony and it wouldn't cut into time at the cocktail hour.

    2. I didn't have anyone walking me down the aisle. My dad died when I was 13 years, and I didn't want my mom too (long story, but I just wanted to do it on my own).

    3. We didn't do a garter toss. It just isn't our style at all.

    4. We didn't have a ring bearer, because there isn't any children in our family (on his side). There are children on my mom's side (my cousins have children, but all of them weren't invited).

    5. I didn't wear a veil either. Instead, I had a flower clip in my hair!

    6. We did a sand ceremony but it wasn't part of the ceremony. We did it just the two of us for pictures. I ended up spilling some of it on the floor.. Oops!

    7. We didn't do a first dance. We hate dancing. At my venue, since it was a mansion in the historic district, no dancing is allowed. I mean, I could've rented floors and a tent and a DJ for the outside... but that would cost extra thousands and we don't dance. Haha.

    8. We didn't do bubbles or birdseed either. It wasn't allowed even if we wanted it. I think sparklers would've been kind of cool though.

  22. Fun post! I didn't have a veil either. And we didn't do unity candle or sand. Jordan was against that from the start. Nothing wrong with it, but he just didn't want to do it.

  23. Hey I love the idea of breaking tradition and doing what works best for you! Awesome post :)

  24. You guys are definitely like us! We didn't do so many of this stuff. I mean our families planned our wedding in 6 weeks lol. It was either that or we didn't have one. We didn't care about all of that. We could have gotten married at city hall and it would have been fine. We didn't do the first dance, I didn't wear a veil. We only had a best man and a maid of honor and that's all I can think of for right now. LOL.

  25. We skipped a lot of the 'had-to's' as well!
    Veil - skipped
    Tuxedo - skipped , Pete is a relaxed guy so even though I wore a big wedding dress, he wore jeans and a nice natural hemp shirt :)
    Wedding car - skipped, we had a tractor pulling a flatbed wagon on which I sat on a couch, it was tough terrain!
    Not seeing eachother before the wedding; not a chance! We still had a braai at around 11 and around 1 I went to get dressed for the 2 oclock wedding!
    Love the uniqueness of making your own traditions :)

  26. What a great site Rachel! I luv weddings! I'm planning to 'redo' my wedding video next dress still fits...that should be interesting!

  27. Happy three years! :) I really liked reading through all of these... I'm not married yet, but if I did get married, I do think I would skip some of the traditions. I've been thinking about skipping the bridesmaids/groomsmen one like you and just having one person for each of us... I think I would ideally like a small wedding, but I was looking over my Christmas card list this year and realized that okay, maybe it can't be small... especially if those people bring a +1 too! Anyway, I don't think it would happen anytime soon, so I've got time! :)

  28. All that matters is life AFTER the wedding! And the beauty is doing different things, right? I planned my wedding and I really wanted to do some of the traditions from my home country. We mixed traditions from my background with American traditions, we did it ALL at our wedding! Nice post, I enjoyed reading it!

  29. We're skipping nearly everything you did. In fact, could I borrow this list? I may steal some of this stuff to explain to people what I'm not doing and why!

  30. We skipped a lot of these traditions also. We are still just as married...right? :)

  31. We also skipped the garter toss....something about having my new husband go up in my dress to get it in front of my grandparents/parents just didn't sit right with me ;-)
    what a fun post idea!

  32. We were pretty conventional with most of our wedding, but my husband had one of his best female friends stand up with him!

  33. I love that you do your own thing! Congrats!

  34. Oh yes. Many many of these. We saw each other before the wedding (mostly for pictures), I didn't try and find the whole something borrowed/blue/old/new (I just did what I had to do to afford an inexpensive wedding!), didn't have a ringbearer/flower girl, and I didn't wear a veil. I don't see the need to always do a wedding a certain way. It's way more fun to be a little 'you' and a little unique.

  35. We skipped the unity candle, and I even wanted to do it, but I completely forgot about it in the chaos of planning. That's okay though, the day was so beautiful, I don't mind.

    I love that picture by the way, his parents look so sweet!

  36. I love that you broke some rules, so to speak! We had a destination wedding, so that in and of itself was non-traditional, although they are definitely more prevalent nowadays. What I loved about our wedding is that my dad not only walked me down the aisle (along with my mom), but he also married us. I love being able to say that. We wrote our own vows vs. having him go through the traditional vows - I loved that, too.
    Thanks for sharing - love hearing what others have done!

  37. For whatever reason my computer at work (Korean computer) will not let me access your blog! Even through bloglovin. So for now, I'm on my phone!!love this post though. We didn't do the garter toss ordeal. Also felt like that was awkward. We didn't have a lot of the traditons as we had a destination wedding in the Dominican!! We had our pastor fly in, but other then that just about everything was non traditional!!!

  38. Kevin and I did not do a unity candle, a ring barer, a flower girl, garter or bouquet toss, and we saw each other before the wedding. Other than that I would say we were traditional.

  39. My husband and I did things differently for our wedding. We had our siblings as our wedding party, my two brothers stood on my side, and my husbands brother and sister stood on his side. I had flower boys instead of flower girls and my mom walked me down the isle. We did everything the way we wanted, not how it was expected.

  40. Wow, 9 weeks is such a short time to plan a wedding! You did well! :)

    We did the whole no seeing the bride/groom before the wedding - and it was so hard not communicating with hubby for a day before, I missed him! We had a small bridal party too, and didn't do that weird garter toss....but we kept with the rest of the traditions. We had guests blowing bubbles as we came out of the church, it made for beautiful photos! :)

    Away From Blue

  41. Sounds like you had a wonderful wedding! :) There was nothing traditional about ours. We planned it in a week. Haha.

  42. Weddings are wonderful with or without traditions followed :) I also had no veil, and nothing blue. The garter toss made me feel so awkward and I wasn't wearing one so that didn't happen. We had no flower girls or ring bearers because there are no kids in our family. We didn't have 'just married' or anything written on the car as we drove away because we initially wanted to use Malcolm's car but it was filthy and he was embarrassed to drive his new wife off in a dirty car, so at the last minute we decided to use the car I had arrived in and swapped cars around the corner. We had flower petals thrown, and quite a few got down my dress. And cake crumbs too.