7 Outdated Wedding Rules To Ditch — And What To Do Instead


Even though planning a modern wedding allows for plenty of opportunities to think outside the box, many weddings still feel heavily weighed down by outdated traditions that just don't make any sense today. But Modern Rebel, an alternative event planning company, is helping couples throw out some outdated wedding ideas in favor of modern, inclusive celebrations.

"The way to make weddings more inclusive is to throw out any idea you have of what a wedding should be," Ainsley Blattel, VP and lead planner, and Amy Shackelford, CEO and founder of Modern Rebel, tell Bustle. "We take a 'no assumptions' approach to the planning process, which means we ask our couples how they identify and how they want their love party to look."

There are a lots of problematic aspects of traditional wedding, from a female perspective — because women have traditionally been objectified by the wedding process — right down to the language used.

"One of the biggest changes we’ve seen modern couples change is the language used during ceremony," Blattel and Shackelford say. "So many wedding 'traditions' stem from the time when women were literally property, so a lot of the language is framed around the transfer of ownership of the woman involved. It’s 2018 — women aren’t down for that." Instead, more and more couples are embracing the personalization of weddings — finding ways to make the day more inclusive by throwing out the old rule book.

They also point out that the other side of the inclusivity coin has to do with the wedding industry — which is often dominated by white, cis, and Christian-leaning vendors. Modern Rebel tries to balance this by sourcing more diverse vendors who can bring other views and ideas to the wedding planning process.

Here are some outdated trends to ditch — and how to have a more inclusive party instead.


The Bride Does All The Work

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

When you're planning your wedding, don't be afraid to ask friends for help — and it's totally acceptable to expect (and ask) your partner to split the task with you. "Wedding planning is becoming more of a collaboration between both partners instead of being something the bride is expected to handle solo," Blattel and Shackelford say. "The mindset of 'she does all the planning and just tells him when to show up' is (thankfully!) gone."

Instead, more couples are approaching the event as a team and taking equal responsibly in the planning.


It's All About The Couple


Although it may be "your" day, modern weddings are a little bit less narcissistic these days. If you want to give your wedding a more modern feel, think about how you can make the day as much about your guests as it as about you. "There’s also been a shift in focus from 'me' to 'us'," Blattel and Shackelford say. "While a marriage is between just two people, love parties bring all of the couple’s family, friends, and loved ones into one space for a magical night of celebration, and we’re noticing more people putting the focus on how to make their party a better experience for their communities."


Pitting Single Women Against Each Other


There are some really negative images of women painted at weddings — that they're all desperate to get married — so it's nice to hear that some couples are moving away from that. If there are any traditions that make you uncomfortable, you can feel free to throw them right out the window. "For reception, we’re seeing less bouquet and garter tosses," Blattel and Shackelford say. "Making a spectacle of all the single women in the room is not top of many couples’ priority lists, and thankfully neither is sexually objectifying the woman by publicly removing an article of her clothing and tossing it to a crowd of guys lined up eagerly waiting. We’re not sorry to see those go."


Archaic Language


Some of the language during the ceremony is getting swapped out for a more modern interpretation of marriage. "For ceremony, people are ditching 'you may now kiss the bride' and 'I pronounce you husband and wife' for things like 'you may now seal your vows with a kiss' or 'I pronounce you married'," Blattel and Shackelford say. You can update the language however you like — so don't feel like you need to stick to the script.


The Father Giveaway


The idea of the father giving away the bride is one of the creepiest wedding traditions, like you're being passed from your dad to the man he is now allowing you to have sex with. Luckily, this is changing. "People are more likely to walk down the aisle with BOTH parents these days — including the groom!" Blattel and Shackelford say. "Most guys don’t start ceremony standing at the altar waiting for what’s essentially a 'woman delivery' — they’re taking a moment in the spotlight to stand with their parents or partner as they enter into a new stage of their relationship." It's a more solid ground to start building your relationship on. So feel free to get both parents involved, ask someone else entirely, or walk down the aisle and give yourself away.


The Bride And Groom Language


Some people want to ditch the "bride" and "groom" terminology altogether. "To be more inclusive ourselves, we revamped our forms earlier this year, allowing each person to pick what word feels best for them, whether it’s 'bride' or 'groom' or 'individual A/B' or 'wedding femme' or 'swiffe' (a legit way one of our rebels identified recently, playing off “broom” as a combo of bride and groom because they didn’t really feel comfortable with either term)," Blattel and Shackelford say. "We also always ask for pronouns! Even with some of our straight cis couples, we’ve had plenty of women who don’t feel like a 'bride' because of all the baggage that comes with it." Feel free to get inventive.


Weddings Only Benefiting The Couple

andrii kobryn/Fotolia

Modern weddings aren't just a way for couples to get a new KitchenAid or more money in the honeymoon fund, so think about how and where you're putting your money. Do the vendors your using match your values? Could you ask for donations instead of gifts? "More than just wanting a kickass party for their people, couples want their weddings to give back!" Blattel and Shackelford say. More and more, millennials are wanting to put their money into companies that share their values, rather than just blowing it all on a big day.

Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking — but, ultimately, it's your day. You don't need to feel beholden to outdated traditions that make you uncomfortable or don't chime with your values. Instead, feel free to throw out the rule book and start from scratch.