Last week, Vogue came out with a “top 10 wedding rules to break” list, and the list left a lot to be desired, to say the least. I think the desire I was longing for was the desire to read about things that my brides can really do without on their wedding day. Let me preface by saying that everyone is free to their own opinions, so I appreciate the perspective of this particular Vogue writer, but I thought it might be helpful to offer my professional experience on this topic based on what I see everyday.
As a wedding planner for the last 8 years, I have seen my fair share of traditions stemming from different cultural, regional, religious, generational, and family traditions. I’ve also seen trends come in and out, and I’ve heard countless numbers of etiquette inspired “rules” that are definitely not valid today, some that I’m not even sure have ever been real etiquette “rules.” With so many different opinions, personalities, and people involved in planning a wedding, I try to treat my brides as individuals and try not to generalize what NEEDS to be included in any event.
While some things are a matter of fact, like saying your vows, there’s not much that I believe needs to be done by any book, such as what those vows contain. Although it is true that I believe Emily Post is outdated, and rules are certainly made to be broken, there are some things that are a part of a wedding for a reason and I would never discourage my brides from them, if they do in fact want to preserve those traditions.
In reading the Vogue list, I have to tell you, it read more as a list of options for those that are on a budget or those who are faced with obstacles needing a few more alternative options for the topics at hand. Not having an elaborate honeymoon, no problem, and if I were not able to have one due to work schedule or funds, that would make perfect sense. But after planning a wedding for a year, I don’t want to sit in a hotel room playing board games with my husband in Metairie, LA.
Not having something old, new, borrowed and blue – no problem. If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it. If you don’t want to throw the bouquet and garter because you’re the last in your group to get married, that’s cool. And if you don’t want your bridal party to have dresses that match, that’s amazing!!! Do it, don’t do it …it’s fine.
But having someone carry around a sign asking for money is like driving under the interstate in New Orleans. Begging at your reception can be somewhat tacky! In the south, we have the money dance, which is similar, but in a more traditional way so that it doesn’t seem so much like you are begging. But even down south, some of the couples, and their parents, are finding that they believe it’s asking for too much to ask your guests for cash on your wedding day. Up North, cash is the norm, but they do that automatically. Not registering and expecting guests to know that you will “hit them up” on the wedding day is just silly.
I was very sad that a bride having her father walk her down the aisle is something we should do without. What did my dad ever do to me that I would “X” him out of that luxury? Personally, my dad hit the jackpot with me. He has already walked me down the aisle, and God willing, he’ll get that chance again. But seriously, if my sister and I would have decided not to have him walk us down, he would have been devastated. It’s definitely each person’s decision, but I don’t think that we should throw the dads away just to be different.
Some of the best wedding ceremonies that I’ve witnessed have been those that were traditional, and some actually included moms walking the bride down, or grandparents, or siblings. As a matter of fact, my own sister-in-law walked herself to the aisle, and my brother met her and walked her the rest of the way. That was perfect, for them! There was a rhyme and a reason. It wasn’t just to be different.
My problem with breaking tradition is that some people are trying so hard to be different and trendy that they end up missing out on some really sweet moments. Being “different” is becoming the new trend, so essentially you are just becoming basic rather than unique. If you and your dad are good, then be good and don’t make an issue where there is no issue. I am a firm believer that the wedding is all about the couple and, in most cases, I will advise that they do what makes them happy and that they shouldn’t worry about everyone else. But when it comes to Daddies (or moms, etc), some of them dream of this moment just like we do, don’t be that girl that’s trying so hard to do your own thing that you end up making a mistake.
By far, the worst piece of advice was that you should not hire a professional photographer. This writer feels that people will take enough pictures on their phones so you should be good to go! And if you don’t want to worry about “Likes” on your Facebook, just go ahead and put disposable cameras around the room. Great suggestion – that’s not old school at all. I can imagine the butt shots and drunk escapades you’d gather from those cameras. Fun, for sure, but the everlasting, wall portrait photographs of my special day, no thank you!
I’d love to put together an album of pictures that guests take at a wedding. I had a client that was a producer, so his guests certainly had some great shots, but that is not the norm. Because I didn’t have access to one full wedding captured only via the “average” wedding guests, I decided to pull a few shots from recent clients via their social media so you can see how good your wedding day can look without a professional photographer. Again, these pictures are pulled only from guests that posted on Facebook – not by any vendors that may have access to special features, filters, angles, etc.
Looks professional enough to blow up and frame, right? How ridiculous is it is that while some brides are trying to go unplugged so their guests can enjoy the wedding, Vogue is suggesting that we just have our guests work that day and capture all the love on their Samsung? After all, being a photographer is just that easy, right?
Incidentally, my last unsupported “I don’t” was the rings! Seriously? I’m as independent and “new-aged” as the next person, but no jewelry? NO WAY!! The only reason to turn away jewelry is if you cannot afford it. And that is totally fine. Love is definitely the most important thing, and God knows I would accept a ring pop if I were lucky enough to marry the love of my life. But second to love is the ring! To decide not to have a ring just “because” makes no sense to me. And no, I am not getting a tattoo (another one of the Vogue suggestions.) I have always been in love with love, but I’m also a realist and tattoo is not in my realistic plan. Besides, I’ve never been one to turn down a diamond ring unfortunately!
At the end of the day, I feel there are many things we can do without at a wedding if you so choose, such as the bouquet and garter toss, the suggestion that the bride’s family should pay for everything, having a wedding cake, having your bridesmaids wear the same dress, and many more. But at the end of the day, it is each person’s decision what they do and don’t want. Trends come and go, but when you take the love of everyone other than yourself out of your wedding and you take out the opportunity to capture the memories, you should probably just elope alone and pray you have a really good memory for the rest of your life!
To read my suggestions on the list of trends that are going out of style, stay tuned. And to read the full Vogue article, Click Here!