Spring is here, and you know what that means: Wedding season is upon us. If you're planning your nuptials and realize that more conventional standards aren't really your style, there are plenty of alternatives to common wedding traditions to choose from. That's the beautiful thing about weddings: You can choose what makes you happiest and best suits your personality.
In recent years, brides-to-be are getting more daring when it comes to nixing wedding traditions. In an article in Huffington Post, Sara Margulis, cofounder of registry site Honeyfund, says that Millennials in particular have changed the wedding game, wanting something simpler and on a more realistic budget. Some traditions — such as wearing a veil, the bride's family's responsibility for footing the bill, and giving out wedding favors — have even been deemed outdated by many.
This doesn't mean these are things you should shy away from, of course; weddings are about personal choices, and your special day should be a reflection of you and your partner. That being said, if you feel like you keep hitting dead ends in your wedding planning and want try a different take on the event, don't feel pressured into sticking with convention. There are countless ideas for how you can switch things up — here are some other options for common wedding traditions.
1. Try A Different Gemstone
We've always known diamonds to be the jewel of choice for the ring; but there are so many options out there. Millennials have been opting for other gems (or forgoing the ring altogether) for any of a number of reasons — whether it's wanting to save money for other big life expenses (house, kids, etc.), or simply because there are so many stones other than diamonds that are simply gorgeous. If you're not a very traditional person (me!), then maybe a diamond isn't for you. My now-fiance slipped a rose quartz and aquamarine ring on my finger, and it's absolutely perfect.
2. Nix Wedding Presents
Gift-giving during weddings really started as early as 3,000 BC with the tradition of a bride price or dowry, but it's undergone many changes since then. Notably, in the 1920s, department stores invented the gift registry, and things have never been the same since. In more recent years, gifts like kitchenware and linens have become pointless, since more couples are living together before marriage and already have these things by the time they tie the knot. Whether you don't really need anything or just don't want to go the wedding present route, though, what are some other options?
For one, you could ask your guests to donate to a charity instead. They were going to spend money either way — why not put it toward a good cause? Another option is to ask them to help fund your wedding or honeymoon, and that's where sites like Honeyfund comes in. Think of it as crowdsourcing for your wedding! With the newer trend of preferring experiences over things, asking guests to help send you on a wonderful trip might be the perfect alternative to physical gifts.
3. Forgo The Bridal Party
If you want 10 wedding attendants, do it. Heck, give each of them a puppy to hold. But if choosing attendants is stressing you out, your budget doesn't allow for it, or you just plain old don't want to, then don't. This is another trend for Millennials: not having bridesmaids at the wedding. Pinterest is even seeing a huge increase in searches for wedding ideas that don't include attendants, so there's really no need to feel weird about wanting to keep things small.
4. Create Your Own Menu
Traditional catering can be outstandingly delicious. But for some soon-to-be-newlyweds, they're turned off by the options (or lack thereof, in some cases), as well as the hefty price tag. If you want another avenue, food truck weddings are growing in popularity, for all the right reasons. Depending on what you find in your area, they can provide great flexibility in options — falafel, pizza, tacos, grilled cheese — and they can do it for a fraction of the cost of your typical catering service. (Guys, tacos. TACOS.) Hiring a culinary school to cater your wedding is another option a lot of people aren't even aware of. Traditional catering isn't the only way to go, folks. Feel free to think outside the box!
5. Be A Savvy Shopper With Your Wedding Dress
Bridal shops are obviously a go-to when you start shopping for a gown, but for the non-traditional person, that may not be the first stop you want to make. This isn't to say you can't find a unique dress at a wedding shop or boutique — but if you're on the hunt for something... different... why not consider pre-worn wedding regalia or renting a gown?
Another idea? Don't shop specifically for wedding dresses at all. There is an infinite number of dresses out there that weren't technically designed for weddings, but still look wedding-y; and what's more, there's nothing that says anyone even has to wear dress in the first place. Skirts! Suits! Jumpsuits! Separates! Just think of all the options!
The point is this: Wear whatever you feel like a star in, and know that you can make the rules.
6. Swap The Open Bar For A Signature Drink
Everyone loves an open bar, and it's a common staple at weddings, but not all newlyweds want to go down that road. If you really want to personalize your wedding, why not craft your own signature drink? As Brides.com suggests, get creative with a cocktail and give it a special name. Even though it obviously doesn't provide the variety of an open bar, it's one more way to make your wedding uniquely you instead of going with tradition.
7. Switch Up The Bouquet Toss
Many brides are doing away with the custom of tossing the bouquet to a crowd of single women — something that a 2013 CBS News report pointed out. There are so many creative things that can take its place. How about inviting all of the ladies — single, taken, whatever — to the floor for a girls-only dance? A flower ceremony is another, wonderfully un-gendered idea, where you call the special people in your life to the floor and hand each of them a flower and thank them for being there for you. Or, if you really just want to throw something (because why not?), go for something that matches your theme. For instance, if you have a winter wedding, why not toss out small, decorative snowflakes? Best idea ever, yes?