I seem to have been chatting a lot recently to various clients, colleagues and friends about the topic of wedding traditions and, more specifically, the fact that wedding traditions (and in fact weddings in general) as we knew them are changing. It's not really a surprise - we live in a 'connected' world - both geographically and virtually with social media. It's easier than ever before to get access to and be influenced by others and, with it, there's been a massive shift in recent years in weddings. I'd argue that more and more the 'done' thing is less relevant and 'your thing' more so. So I thought I'd touch a little on the changing face of weddings (as I see it anyhow)
Weddings are typically full of traditions and whilst I'm not an advocate of moving away from tradition entirely, there are some that I 'get' why couples decide to skip. Let's take cutting of the cake as a starter... Apparently this all started in Roman times. Yup.. the groom used to (wait for it) break the cake over the bride's head to symbolise the end of her virginal state. Modern day symbolism (apparently) is for the groom to feed the bride with the cake to show their commitment to provide for one another. Whichever way I look at it, the cutting of the cake seems less and less relevant - and I'm pretty sure that most people couldn't tell you what on earth it was all about anyhow. Certainly one tradition that I understand when it's dropped. In fact I'm pretty sure most people these days cut the cake because they have a cake and want guests to eat the cake...
Who should speak and in what order and when. Again a common question. Tradition is (well in the UK anyhow) that the Father of the Bride is first to take the floor, followed by the Groom and then the Best Man. Again, traditionally the speeches happen after the wedding breakfast (and why is it called a wedding breakfast - another story for another time...). Yet again this is another one that couples are mixing up a little. Firstly, some couples are choosing to have speeches before, during or completely separate from the meal itself. To me this makes complete sense if you're nerves are feeling the pressure and you really would rather enjoy your meal and not sit through it in anticipation and unable to enjoy it. Then to the 'who'. I have known plenty of changes to the order and also who speaks at a wedding. I've commonly had the Bride (why on earth not), bridesmaids and Mother of the Bride have something to say. I've one couple next summer with Caribbean heritage. I'm not sure if you've ever been to a Caribbean wedding but here speeches really are something else... the floor is basically opened to everyone, the mic handed around with everyone having a chance to wish the couple well and say a few things.
The ceremony itself is also changing. It is really not uncommon now for my couples to already be legally married before their 'wedding celebration day.' In these cases they've had a legal ceremony elsewhere with just the two of them and a handful of family/friends and then they have chosen to celebrate with all their family and friends on another date (maybe even the next year). Why? Well with the legal part complete, this opens them up to using any venue (a family home for example) and any celebrant to officiate. In most cases my couples have chosen a close friends to 'marry' them and, because the ceremony is non legally binding, it does not have any restriction in terms of what is/isn't included and can be completely bespoke to them - personally these ceremonies are utterly beautiful because they are so very personal.
The rise of the wedding weekend... More and more couples aren't satisfied with celebrating across one day. A lot are choosing an entire weekend. A relaxed Friday, pre wedding meal or BBQ, a wedding day celebration and then a lazy/slightly jaded Sunday brunch. I've known some people aghast at the extravagance of an entire weekend but I disagree! We speed through life, literally whizz through. I'm always fighting to find the time for family and close friends and having to 'book' time in to make sure I do. Given this, with an excuse to have all your nearest and dearest together, why wouldn't you want to hold them together there and savour it for a little longer than a day?
All these images are from a recent summer wedding I had the pleasure of working for Tara and Ben.
Image credit; Irene Yap from the beautiful wedding of Tara and Ben