Let me first start by saying there are so many wedding traditions! They vary from culture to culture, religion to religion, and even state to state! With America being the melting pot that it is, it is hard to know which traditions you should use and which ones you should skip. You will for sure be asked if you are including various ‘wedding traditions’ in your wedding by friends and family throughout the planning process.
For example, while planning our wedding, my (now) mother-in-law asked if we would be doing the Chair Dance at our wedding (the Hora). I explained that we would not as neither their family or my family are Jewish. My mother-in-law had not attended many weddings and did not realize this was a Jewish tradition. Don’t be surprised if you get asked about a tradition that you are not familiar with or is part of other cultures. This is an effect of that great American melting pot of cultures.
In honor of the many wedding traditions throughout the country, I am starting a blog series looking at different wedding traditions! But before we really dive into these traditions, I wanted to leave you with a few pieces of advise/knowledge.
If you do not like the history of a wedding tradition, that does not mean you cannot use it!
Warning: the history/origins of most of the wedding traditions are rooted in sexism and women being seen as property. For example, the honeymoon was originally a time where a man would steal a woman from a neighboring town and go into hiding for a moon cycle. This was to prevent her from being taken back from the village and to give her time to accept him as her husband. But now, honeymoons are an amazing time for newly weds to enjoy time together while they are high as a kite off their love! Just because a tradition has an icky past does not mean that the meaning of the tradition has not changed over time. So, don’t let the history of these things put a bad taste in your mouth if it was something you were excited about doing!
You can borrow wedding traditions from other cultures!
Remember how I told my mother-in-law we would not be doing a Hora? Well, that did not stop me from borrowing from the Jewish processional and recessional for my wedding. The internet is a wonderful thing and you can research all kinds of wedding traditions and tradition alternatives. You can truly make your wedding day fit you and your future spouse’s relationship and values. If you are going to borrow from other cultures, do your research and borrow from the traditions mindfully.
For example: The breaking 0f the glass at a Jewish wedding symbolically means “as this glass shatters, so may our marriage never break”. Oh man, that is some pretty cool symbolism right there. Let’s do that in our wedding! But wait, the breaking of the glass also symbolizes the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem and recalling the pain and loss suffered by the Jewish people. Oh, just kidding. Maybe we don’t want to include that in our wedding because it carries such a heavy and diverse meaning to the Jewish people.
(Side Note: I realized that I just talked about Jewish weddings a lot. I swear, I know about traditions from other cultures too! Jewish weddings are just one of my favorites!)
Follow your heart!
That’s what I always do. (Sorry, I could not resist that Napoleon Dynamite quote.)
On a serious note, you do not have to do any tradition you do not want to on your wedding day. No matter who is telling you otherwise. And on the flip side: you can do any tradition/alternative you want! The only opinions that matter are yours and your future spouse’s. Do you want to wear a grey dress? Do it! Want to skip the mother-son dance? Go for it! Want your dad to give you away? You do you! Want to do a First Look? It’s your day!
Couples are always asking me, “Isn’t this what is normal?” But really, they are asking, “Can I do it differently?” My answer is always to follow your heart. You two know what feels right for you. Always do that! You only get one wedding day, so make sure you make it amazing for you and your future spouse.
Now that I have you all fired up, are you ready to learn about these wedding traditions? Good! I will be unpacking one tradition a month on the blog. I will include the history of the tradition and some fun alternatives! So be sure to check back in often!
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