Playing dress up as a little girl, sometimes I’d picture my wedding. I would wear a beautiful dress, hold a giant bouquet and get married in an abandoned warehouse. Well, that last part came about in the past few years.
My grandmother couldn’t fathom why my husband and I were getting married in an old factory attached to a brewery rather than a church, but in this, the age of the internet, I need a more aesthetically pleasing setting for photos, Mimi.
Couples getting married today do a lot of things differently. Dresses come in champagne, blush and light blue. Brides are walking down the aisle with both parents or by themselves. Food trucks are competing with traditional caterers. Sparkler exits are taking over so we don’t blow up any more innocent birds by throwing rice.
My husband and I ditched quite a few wedding norms for our big day. My dress was blush, hold the veil—veils have multiple symbolic meanings, and I didn’t agree with them. My bridal party included two dudes who have been my best friends since middle school, and I called them bridesmen. I didn’t toss the bouquet because I paid way too much for that s*** to give it away, and there was no garter toss because the idea of my husband crawling up my skirt in public horrified us both. We didn’t even do a first dance, because, well, we had spent enough time being stared at during our vows. We danced later while everyone else was on the floor so we could enjoy the moment without an audience.
I’m no scholar—just a girl with a Pinterest account over here—but I wondered throughout my wedding planning when all this changed. These traditions used to go unquestioned, and for most people, they held significant meaning. But I wonder if social media like Instagram and Pinterest, which lets us see all the unique touches other couples put on their weddings, have made couples today question how each part of their wedding reflects them. Maybe some traditions are losing favor, but other equally meaningful ones are being invented.
We toyed with the idea of a first look for months. The idea of not seeing each other until the ceremony was romantic, but as two people who hate being the center of attention, my husband and I wondered if those few minutes together beforehand might calm us. Ultimately, we decided against it because we had always imagined not seeing our spouse until that big reveal moment. But it taught us to really consider the pros and cons of each seemingly automatic part of a wedding—to do away with the traditions that didn’t suit us and use that time for something we would remember and cherish.
Katie is a freelance writer who lives in Jacksonville with her husband, Zack, and two extremely needy dogs. Outside of work you’ll find her listening to true crime podcasts, looking for excuses to go to Target or ordering Mexican food for the third time this week.