When it comes to planning a wedding, much goes into consideration—including the wedding day traditions that come along with the ceremony and reception.
For years, it's always been customary for the bride to wear white, with a veil covering her face and for the father of the bride to give the woman away (as well as foot the bill). However, as time has passed, things have been changing and the matrimony customs of the past don't necessarily work for the contemporary couple.
We caught up with Victoria Nee-Lartey, wedding coordinator and founder of Victorious Events NYC, to get her insight on popular activities that come along with the nuptials—and how the modern couple can revamp them to reflect their own contemporary vibe.
1. Toss out the bouquet toss
Traditional wedding games like tossing the bridal bouquet and removing the garter belt are being done less "in favor of more dancing time."
"They ultimately just want to have a big party with their family and friends," says Nee-Lartey.
2. Keep your bridal party intimate
"Couples are shying away from large bridal parties and opting for a small group of friends to stand by their side as they exchange vows," says Nee-Lartey. "Large bridal parties have their own set of logistics that can be difficult to navigate, including booking hair appointments, makeup schedules, fittings, clothing pick up and drop offs, and stretch limos. Keeping it intimate will save you time, money, and frustration."
3. Socialize guests with social media
A growing tradition among soon-to-be newlyweds is using social media during the big day with hashtags and filters. "Snapchat is a big trend on the rise with weddings this year," Nee-Lartey says. "Couples are creating custom geofilters—location based overlays—specifically for their wedding day to tie in their theme for branding purposes."
And this is a new spin on tying the knot that Nee-Lartey loves. "The branding of weddings is quickly becoming one of my favorite trends. It helps to create a cohesive theme throughout all of your wedding-related events and builds the momentum for your big day. Everything from your color palette to your fonts, logo, and texture combinations will be consistent and add to your overall guest experience," she says.
4. Ask guests to check their cell phones at the ceremony
While social media is on the rise for the reception, asking guests to limit the use of their cellphones during the ceremony is also becoming a growing request.
"Limiting guests interaction with their cell phones during the nuptials is on the rise," says the expert. "You've hired a professional photographer to take capture your guests' faces, not a sea of cell phones."
5. Hire a professional planner
Nee-Lartey has noticed fewer DIY projects, saying, "Today's bride is working full time and as much as they would like to spend all day browsing through Pinterest, they simply don't have that luxury."
Instead, they're hiring the "professionals that can realize their vision ... Instead of saying, 'How can I afford a planner?' they are now saying, 'How can I afford not to?'"
6. Focus on the guest experience
The wedding may be a big deal for the bride and groom, but it's also time for the guests to have fun. And according to Nee-Lartey, more couples are putting more emphasis on the "guest experience."
"They are booking performers—singers, dancers, bands, acrobats, live painters—all for the sake of giving their guests a night they'll never forget," she said. "They are also embracing technology and opting for out of the box elements such as digital dance floors and animated monograms."
7. Find music that speaks to you
"When it comes to ceremony music, couples are choosing songs that speak to their relationship rather than the traditional bridal chorus of 'Here Comes the Bride' or a wedding march of classical music," she says. "They want their guests to reminisce along with them to songs that are romantic, fun, and sentimental."
8. Don't forget to keep some of the classics
While there may be a few changes here and there, when it comes to the style of decor or the overall look and feel of the occasion, it's always good to keep some of the classic concepts.
Nee-Lartey says the "concept of the classic white dress" will never go away and "out of all the formalities during the reception, the first dance as a married couple will always be a staple."