Now that we’ve officially entered wedding season, many couples may be gearing up to get hitched. And, while planning their nuptials, people will have to decide which traditions they'll follow and which they'll forgo.
1. "Not a rule per se, but the idea that the bride has to wear white, cream, ivory, etc., to every wedding-related event leading up to the big day. If she wants to, great! It’s hard enough to find one white dress/outfit that you feel good in (especially during the colder months), let alone a whole slew of them for the engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette, and so on. I’d love to see a bride show up to her rehearsal dinner in something unexpected like hot pink or chartreuse."
2. "I would say do what you want; it’s your money. Normalize child-free weddings, normalize setting boundaries on guests, etc. If you are paying for it, you get to decide."
3. "Let's make it more normal to have bridal parties with friends, regardless of gender."
4. "You don’t need a huge bridal party! Especially if you’re just adding them out of obligation. All of the couple’s siblings don’t need to be packed in at the altar. They’ll be just fine as guests. I cannot tell you how stressful it is for the two or three members of the bridal party who are actually helping with everything to have to make up the slack for the members that don’t really want to be there. Have the wedding party YOU want — not the party you feel like you have to have."
5. "I'm getting married on Nov. 2, 2024. One thing we decided to do was, to hell with seating charts. We're going to have a sign that pretty much says, 'We're all family now. Sit wherever.'"
6. "Having your parents pay for the wedding, either the bride or the groom or both. We paid for our wedding with a couple thousand bucks. It turned out great, and we did it ourselves. Also, one wedding tradition — registries — should go the way of the buffalo."
7. "The father, or any family member for that matter, 'giving away' the bride. It’s sexist and creepy, and it makes it seem like a woman is something men can own."
8. "Bouquet toss, especially when you are forcing and calling out who is single and making them participate. Maybe they don’t want to get married, or maybe the thought of actually catching the bouquet and being embarrassed in front of your friends and family doesn’t sound like fun to them."
9. "Having so many parties leading up to the wedding. I never had an engagement party, a rehearsal dinner, a bachelorette/bachelor party, or even a honeymoon at that. I had a small ceremony and a dinner afterwards and was very happy with it. It’s so expensive and will only get more expensive with inflation. To me there is nothing special about having huge parties and then having your wedding day. Seems exhausting, honestly."
10. "Any of it, really. 'Tradition' should not dictate how you plan your special day, unless that’s what you want. Definitely don’t be pressured into a white or white-adjacent dress if that’s not what you’d feel best in. Don’t like cake? Serve a pie or cookies! Would rather not have alcohol there? Don’t. People can either deal with it or not be there. And anything that’s rooted in patriarchy? Go ahead and throw that right out the window if you want."
12. "Tux rentals. Don't force your groomsmen to spend hundreds of dollars on a tuxedo that they will wear one time and have to return. For the cost of a tux rental, you can buy a pretty nice suit that the person will then get to keep. If you do black suits, someone might already have a black suit and be able to just wear that. Then, all you have to do is wear matching shirts and ties."
13. "Do what you and your partner want. Don't allow family to control what you decide to do just because they are helping financially. Weddings aren't just for weekends. If a specific date is important to you, if people want to truly support your union, they will make it."
14. "Elaborate paper save-the-date invitations. It’s wasteful, people aren’t going to keep them anyway, and they’re stupid expensive for paper. We sent out save the dates on vintage postcards and then did all the follow-up/RSVP through the wedding website and email!"
15. "The rule that weddings have to be insanely expensive. Expensive weddings are good for people with unlimited budgets, but most people who are not TV or movie characters do not have an unlimited budget. Being a wedding guest also should not cost an arm and a leg."
16. "Bride's family pays for the wedding. There are two people in the relationship, so why? If you have parents paying for it, it should be a shared cost. Realistically, I think the bride and groom should pay for their own wedding. Either way, the cost shouldn't fall on a single party."
17. "Honestly, the idea of having bridesmaids really rubs me the wrong way. I can't help but feel like it's super cliquey. A wedding shouldn't involve a popularity contest."
18. "In my family, you get married in a church. If you don't, then you aren't 'really married.' Why does being married in a church matter? PS — guess that means I'm not really married, because I didn't get married in a church. And yes, I am the only one in my family that didn't get married in a church."
19. "When people find it so offensive when guests wear white. I don't remember what anyone was wearing on my wedding day besides myself, my husband, and my kids. I wouldn't have cared a bit if someone had worn white."
20. "The clinking of the glasses/kiss thing. Let the couple have their evening without having to stop every 10 seconds to perform for you."
21. "The obligation of inviting people who you don’t normally spend time with, or who have never even met your significant other!"
22. "Not sure if it counts since it's not specifically a wedding thing, but the groom asking any sort of permission or approval from the bride's father (or other family if the father isn't alive/in the picture — but asking the father definitely annoys me the most). The bride is her own independent person and should be able to make decisions for herself, and also, her response is more important than any other. I would personally be immeasurably offended if my hypothetical fiancé asked my father for permission, to the point that it would mean an immediate no from me to the proposal and maybe even lead to a breakup completely."
23. "Not really a tradition, but the idea that how you dress up can’t upstage the bride. I’m not gonna wear white or show a bunch of skin, but I’m gonna look GOOD. Don’t you want your guests and bridesmaids to look fabulous? If I ever have a wedding, my girlfriends better serve me runway looks. Give me high fashion! I want drama! And if the bride has a problem with my great sense of style, then maybe she should have tried harder."
24. "Not including the moms. For my wedding, I had both my parents walk me down the aisle."
26. "Taking alllllll the pictures after the ceremony. It is really rude to make people wait hours because of not letting your spouse see you — 'bad luck' and all that. I love the new 'first look' tradition being done in private and, also, getting to knock out a few pictures."
27. "The smashing of the cake in each other’s faces. This is rude and uncivilized behavior. Not to mention that it ruins the bride’s makeup and has the potential to ruin their beautiful bride and groom outfits. So childish!"
28. "The idea that you are entitled to a 'perfect' day. Perfection is unrealistic. Try to aim for fun and memorable instead. Something is probably not going to go exactly as you wanted it to, and unless it’s something major, letting it slide with grace and humor will serve you better than tantrums and crying."
Which wedding rules do you think couples should ditch in 2023? Share with us in the comments below!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.