Virtually every part of your wedding ceremony and reception has deep roots in history. Whether it’s the tossing of the bouquet, your wedding bands, or even who pays for the wedding, these traditions have been established for the past hundreds and, sometimes, thousands of years. But that doesn't mean you can't do things your way. In fact, more and more couples are nixing some wedding traditions because, let's be honest, it's 2016 and some things do need to stay in the past.
We reached out to Diane Gottsman, national etiquette expert and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, to get her insight on which traditions it's OK to skip and what to do instead.
1. Asking the bride's father for her hand.
"There are some circumstances where a father’s approval may not be available, or as important to the couple or the relationship. Couples nowaydays are also marrying older and it may feel contrived to ask the dad when the couple are paying for the wedding themselves, have grown children, or it’s not a first marriage.
The tradition is to show respect for the family members so asking the mom, an uncle, a brother or the entire family would be a reasonable gesture."
2. The tossing of the bouquet and garter.
"Catching the garter is considered good luck, and catching the bouquet is superstitious for the next one to get married. Couples often don’t want to be as formal, or want to break from tradition and do something different than what was done in the past. Some [brides] don’t wear a garter or they may carry a small spray of flowers instead of a large boquet."
3. The bride has to wear a veil.
"Symbolically the veil was a sign of reverence and chastity. It is not poor etiquette to skip it, but it’s a formal gesture if the wedding is super conservative."
4. Parents should pay for the wedding.
"The tradition started because women didn’t normally work and were going from their parent’s home to their husband's home. Back in the day, the bride’s family was responsible for most of the expenses—the officiant, the music, the bride's dress, ceremony and reception—and the groom's family paid for the transportation, rehearsal dinner, and marriage license.
The tradition is long gone and often both parents do more than their part, splitting the costs or paying more than is expected. Some opt out or pay less – it’s a matter of what they and the couple can afford."
5. There should be a bridal table.
"Usually there is a table up front where the bride, groom, and wedding party sit at.
Nowadays, some couples choose to sit at a large table with their friends, or walk around and go from seat to seat at each table to spend time with their guests."
6. You can't see the groom before the wedding.
"It’s based on a superstition that it would be bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her gown. It’s not bad etiquette for a groom to see his bride. In fact, some couples spend the day together and meet up again at the front of the altar."