Let’s face it. For years, weddings have been steeped in tradition. For as long as any of us can remember, couples have unquestionably implemented these traditions into their wedding activities. Did you know that some of these wedding traditions go as far back as the Roman times?!?
We think it is time to explore how couples are embracing non-traditional wedding practices. Get inspired to celebrate your nuptials your unique way.
Couples are now seeking to create a unique experience for their guests that truly captures the couple’s authentic selves – individually and together. From alternative wedding cakes to hanging floral installations and ring bearing pets, many modern couples are tossing out the rule book, breaking with tradition and redefining what a modern wedding looks like.
A NON-TRADITIONAL WEDDING - FIND THE PERFECT BALANCE BETWEEN OLD AND NEW
The fact is, the 'traditional' wedding as we know it is no more. Today’s couples are cherry picking what they like, tossing what they don’t and creating new traditions from what might have been believed to be passing trends. Modern couples are borrowing from different cultures and other eras. Trends certainly don’t always become traditions. However, we have put together some noteworthy customs we are seeing that seem to have staying power. Here’s how today’s couples are creating their own playbooks to make their weddings their own.
NON-TRADITIONAL WEDDING PROPOSAL – THE RING
First comes the engagement and then comes the wedding.
The key to success for many modern couples is to establish an equal partnership for life. The historically patriarchal construct of marriage is now an antiquated institution. So if each party promises to engage as an equal partner in every aspect of the life you are creating together, shouldn’t you shop for your engagement ring together?
After all, the ring is a an ever-present symbol of your eternal love and devotion and the coming together of your two lives. Finally, do you really want to leave this enormous decision up to just one of you? Many couples today would rather not leave this up to chance.
The engagement ring should be your most sentimental piece of jewelry. Perhaps you want a cushion diamond because it is the same type of stone that your dad proposed to your mom with. But you won’t know for sure until you try it on. There are so many stones, metals, shapes and settings for engagement rings. Window shopping engagement rings is a great way to find out what really speaks to you. Consider your initial shopping trip a recon mission. Then you can decide together what is most important to you.
At this point, you can work with a local or online jeweler to select or build your own ring. Blue Nile is the world’s leading online diamond jeweler for engagement rings. They offer a large assortment of stones, settings and styles for you to pick from.
ALTERNATIVE WEDDING RING TRENDS
Here are a few of this year’s big engagement ring trends. Be mindful that this ring will be an accessory to every outfit you wear for the rest of your life. You shouldn’t choose a ring because it’s on trend right now. Choose a ring that is timeless AND reflects your personal style.
Are diamonds still a girl’s best friend? Millennials say NO. More and more millennials are choosing alternative engagement rings for a variety of ethical, financial and expressive reasons.
A diamond is said to be one of the most precious stones on earth. By pairing a diamond with gold, you are protecting yourself from demons and evil spirits. At least that is what tradition says. Unless you are hopelessly superstitious, do not feel obligated to choose a diamond. Couples are turning away from tradition, they are gravitating towards a pop of color.
A colored gemstone engagement ring has a personal touch and it stands out from the crowd. You may choose a colored gemstone as the center stone or as side stones. There are meanings and connotations behind each gem. Emeralds are believed to represent hope, and rubies represent love and passion, prosperity and protection. Other birthstones such as an opal are also popular for sentimental reasons.
Sapphires are having quite a moment in the spotlight thanks to the royal wedding. Prince William gave Kate Middleton his mother’s iconic sapphire engagement ring as a tribute to the late Princess Diana. Sapphires are beautiful gems that come in hues of all colors of the rainbow, most commonly blue, pink and yellow. Aquamarines, tanzanites and blue diamonds are other popular shades of blue showing up often in the colored gemstone movement.
RAW OR UNCUT STONES
These stones are a bit rough around the edges – literally! Raw or uncut stones retain their natural shape and texture creating a one-of-a-kind appearance. They aren’t cut into traditional, symmetrical shapes and may be left unpolished.
The solitaire cut engagement ring will forever be a classic but their versatility allows for a modern twist as well. From two-toned mixed metal bands to distinctive, artistic settings, there are many ways to make a traditional solitaire ring unique and modern.
Millennials aren’t just mixing metals. The mix & match trend is evident in wedding attire and décor too!
ECLECTIC WEDDING TABLE SETTING
Traditional table settings and decor were in step with the all-white wedding. White linens, white plates, silver place settings and crystal glassware were the standard. In recent decades, couples started to update the look by adding a charger or colored napkins. Today, creating an individual table is a perfect artistic expression of your new "coupledom". The eclectic wedding table setting has also grown in popularity due to the desire to create a more eco-friendly wedding celebration.
It's not hard to mix and match different colors, patterns and shapes while still having a look that is tied together. The possibilities are endless just as long as you are judicious. Group similar colors, layer shades of the same color, or select a common element or motif that ties together your dinnerware. Add consistency to your table setting with matching cloth napkins or coordinating silverware.
On the other hand, mixing and matching your table linens and napkins is another way to add visual interest to your table. Again, match them to your color palette if they are different patterns or stick to the same pattern if they are different colors.
Glasses can also be mixed and matched. Colored glassware is an unexpected touch that elevates any table. The transparency of glass gives you greater flexibility. Mixing shades and shapes not only adds whimsy but also helps your guests to know which one is their own!
Even candles are getting an upgrade from the standard white and ivory. Couples are using candles to add a splash of color. Statement candelabras with colored tapered candles, colored tea lights on tablescapes or peppered throughout the reception space add something unexpected to the setting.
THE WEDDING CAKE
In generations past, a white-iced three tier vanilla wedding cake was the singular option. I have childhood memories of my mother bringing back a slice of that snow white cake to slip under my pillow for dreams of future husbands! While a traditional wedding cake is still very popular, many couples are taking a different approach to this symbol of union. Wedding cakes are increasingly taking on different compositions.
We have even progressed beyond cupcakes and donut cakes to sweet and savory alternatives. The wow factor of the wedding cake is not lost, however. Sprawling dessert presentations, donut walls and cheese wheel cakes are all extremely impressive presentations.
The mille feuille cake is a popular lighter version. Mille-feuille means “a thousand layers”. This cake is made with many thin layers of filo pastry, filled with Chantilly cream and often topped with fruit or chocolate. Taking from French tradition is the Croquembouche tower which is a tall tower of cream filled choux pastry balls decorated with caramel.
MIX & MATCH BRIDAL PARTY ATTIRE
In early Roman times it was the bridesmaids’ job to form a protective shield as they walked the bride to the groom’s village. The bridesmaids were to protect the bride from any vindictive past lovers with malicious intent. The bridesmaids wore dresses similar to the bride to not only confuse her duped exes but also to outsmart evil spirits.
Today's couples are reality based and nixing this tradition. Bridesmaids are not "one size fits all" in body shape or personality. Brides have been taking this into consideration for awhile now so mixing and matching dresses is not a new trend. The key to pulling off a stunning individual look is to have one cohesive element whether it be color, fabric or dress length. Give bridesmaids a color palette and let them choose a style of dress they feel amazing in.
But why stop at bridesmaids dresses? Wedding parties are now choosing different accessories to suit their individual styles. Jewelry, shoes, hair pieces and other adornments are the perfect exclamation point to highlight each person's individual style!
MIX & MATCH GROOMSMEN ATTIRE
21st century wedding parties can have both genders on either side of the wedding party so there is no reason to limit creativity to ladies only, Let the men in on the mix and match fun! Megan Velez of Destination Weddings Travel Group says "We predict menswear to take center stage down the aisle, with a heavier focus on tailored fits and pops of color. Checkered patterns, floral prints, and refined polka dots are just a few styles popping up more and more."
A classic black tux will never go out of style but men too appreciate a fresh take that adds a layer of depth and dapper style. Some grooms opt for classic tailoring with a pop of color, others look undeniably sharp with coordinating hues of the same color with the other groomsmen. Neutral suits are a perfect and popular choice for a South Florida wedding. They not only compliment the bride and the setting but help beat the heat as well!
Adding a touch of personality is suitable for more than casual affairs. Print shirts under a solid suit, unique ties, vests and suspenders are all ways to highlight each groomsman's individual style while creating a cohesive look.
The Grooms Guide to Style by The Black Tux is a great resource to help you define your style and get a handle on the many elements of a tux and a suit that can be infused with a touch of individuality.
"Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue"
Some traditions will never go out of style. This Victorian rhyme is loaded with sentimentality. Couples use the rhyme as a way of honoring friends and family who have been a part of the couple's journey. Items with sentimental attachments are incorporated into the wedding details.
Wedding invitations should always be hand addressed and sent by postal mail. Thank you notes also call for pen, paper and a stamp to give a personal expression of appreciation for your loved ones.
Whether it's embracing singlehood for a little longer, choosing to express commitment beyond a marriage or featuring a first look shot rather than waiting to see each other at the ceremony, each relationship and each couple is unique. We wish to celebrate the MANY ways that modern couples are redefining tradition to truly make their special day their own.
Are you ready to plan your special day? Eggwhites Catering would like to celebrate with you! Call us at (305) 892-2066 for a complimentary consultation.
Here are a few more ways that relationship traditions are forming into something new!
Ann Jones writes for Eggwhites Special Event Catering, a Miami-based luxury catering company.