Wedding traditions – for better or for worse?

Tradition is a funny thing. Some love it, some don’t, and in this day and age most would agree that people should be able to have their wedding exactly how they want it rather than feeling pressured into doing things a certain way. So, with that in mind, here are a few wedding traditions that could be up for debate.

Should the bride always stand on the left? Legend has it that the bride stood to the left in case  the groom needed to grab his sword quickly with his right hand. As this is quite an unlikely occurrence nowadays, you can probably stand where you like, risk free.

Should the bride wear white? Yes, if she wants to…but that goes for any other colour or outfit too.

Does the bride have to have a bouquet? This tradition dates back to the 15th century, when allegedly, brides would carry flowers to mask their body odour. Luckily, today, this practical approach is not the only option open so a bride can carry fresh, dried or silk flowers as they wish – or no flowers at all.

Do you have to have a bridal party? According to Roman law, 10 witnesses were required at a wedding which might explain the evolution of the bridal party. Today, only 2 witnesses are required so if you don’t want to choose or don’t want to bow under the weight of others’ expectations, then don’t.

Do you have to get matching rings? The short answer is no. In fact, you don’t have to have rings at all if you don’t want to. Likewise, you can have any music you fancy. The only thing that matters here is that you do what you want.

Do friends and families have to sit on different sides of the room? Well, not unless you want them to in the traditional way, but if you fancy a more informal do, you can let guests from both parties sit where they like.

Does the bride’s father have to give permission? He doesn’t have to and what would the couple do if he said no! However, some people see this gesture as a sign of respect. If it’s a tradition you’d like to keep then fine, but it isn’t actually necessary.

Does the bride’s family pay? Once upon a time, the bride’s family paid for the wedding because the groom was expected to buy the house and support his wife from then on. Yes – times have changed. Likewise, giving the bride away refers back to when she was considered to be property passing from father to husband so if you’re not comfortable with the idea then you don’t have to do it. Or if you like the idea of walking together (and that doesn’t just have to mean the father) then the phrasing of ‘Who brings this woman…’ could be modernised in some way.