Tradition: Keep or Toss?

Hello again y’all! I don’t know about you, but this little snap of cold weather and all of this extra darkness has been anything but kind on my end.  All of the plants have been moved into the greenhouse (leaving my poor porch naked and sad looking), their heat has been set up and is pumping, and all of my extra layers are piling on in full force.  On a bright note, hot coffee seems like even MORE of a blessing, it’s fire pit season, and the holidays are fast approaching! We all gobbled till we wobbled for Thanksgiving and I have an un-ending choice of my favorite Christmas movies to keep our nights occupied for a bit! All in all, I’d say it balances out.  I hope the scales are even for y’all as well! 🙂  

This week we’re going to talk about that sticky little subject: tradition.  Keep it, or toss it? I’d have to say I’m pretty middle ground: but lets put a little meat on the bones of this subject.  I’m breaking down some of these wedding traditions; where they came from and how they apply today.  Then, to top it off, we’ll go over a couple of newer traditions that are still big enough they should be on the list! 

The first one up (it’s my favorite): something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. This is one that’s been around for a realllllllly long time! Long enough that it used to include “and a sixpence in her shoe!” They don’t even make those anymore, hence it being dropped from the expression. It refers to items a bride should carry with her down the aisle: something old for the past lives of the couple, something new for the happy future of the couple, something borrowed from someone with a happy marriage for good luck, and something blue to represent love and fidelity. The sixpence was for good fortune and prosperity for the couple. This is a tradition you could certainly keep or toss, but it’s one of the really fun ones! Most brides enjoy finding the item to represent each, and its a great way sometimes to incorporate sentimental pieces/items from close family members as well. I give all of my votes to keeping this one!

Next we move on to carrying a bouquet down the aisle.  Believe it or not, that’s actually a “tradition” and it’s much better now that it’s origins! Back in the medieval period, brides used to carry a big bunch of herbs and spices (like garlic and dill) to ward off evil spirits.  I’m sure the smell warded off more than that! Yikes.  Thank God we made the switch to flowers…a much better option.  And, I also place this one squarely in the keep section.  Cause let’s be real, how often do you get to carry a bouquet and it’s a part of your look?? On your wedding day, that’s it.  So I vote, do it! You don’t even have to do flowers if you’re not a floral kind of gal.  I’ve seen everything from dried grasses, tropical plants and succulents to wood flowers: whatever makes ya happy!

For this next tradition, we’ve already seen some pretty significant changes happen over time. Matching bridesmaids dresses: today, we see the move towards different bridesmaids dresses, and even different colors or patterns! Here’s the doozie on this one: back in the waaaaay back days, bridesmaids wore matching dresses…matching to the BRIDE! A big “no no” for a very long time: we let the bride have her moment these days. The reasoning behind it was to confuse those pesky evil spirits that always seemed to be hanging around medieval weddings, so that they wouldn’t know which was really the bride. I’ll take today’s version of this tradition any day; different dresses, different patterns…just different!

Speaking of dresses, there’s some tradition behind that all important white wedding dress right?? Actually…it’s really more just a copy cat fashion trend that reallllllllly stuck. Of course, people believe the white to symbolize purity, but really, Queen Victoria in England got married in a gorgeous white gown made of silk and lace that just knocked everyone’s socks off and it really became that solid of a staple! Her train was so dramatic: she needed 12 attendants to help her down the aisle with it. Here’s my take on it: to me it’s more about the gown than the color. Go with what feels right for you. There’s a wide wide color spectrum out there, and not every girl dreams of white for her wedding day! As long as you’ve got the gown of your dreams, that’s what matters. I’m pretty sure if Queen Victoria had worn the same gown in a different color, we’d just have a different color staple!

For a little sweetness, literally and figuratively, we talk about the cake! Back in those medieval times, with all those spirits running around messing things up and all of these traditions apparently being formed, it was custom to pile up a big stack of spiced buns, scones and cookies and have the couple try to kiss over the pile without knocking it over. When we turned the tradition to cake, the tierd structure paid homage to the stacked sweets! It symbolized fertility, good luck and a prosperous future. Saving the top tier (umm, not my cup of tea) is also an old tradition: it was assumed a baby would probably be along within a year, so there would be cake. Personally, I’d just go buy a small version of our cake to celebrate, but if you wanna go through all that there’s plenty of instructions on Pinterest to get ya there.

Moving on to some newer traditions, let’s talk about the “first look” for a second. This newer tradition is quite literal: it’s having a moment before the ceremony begins and you’re in front of all of your guests to see each other all done up and ready to get married! Of course, with the photographer there to capture every stinking second of it. This is actually really ramping up in popularity: it used to be hardcore tradition that you didn’t see each other until that moment coming down the aisle. Over the years, we’ve seen a progression towards less importance being placed on “no seeing the bride before the wedding”. Culturally, it makes sense for the times to have this shift: that being said, Ellie and I didn’t opt to do the first look. To be honest, it didn’t really occur to me to do one; it felt natural and right for that first look to be at our ceremony in front of all our friends and family. It was perfect for us, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. BUT, it’s a super cute new tradition that makes for some really great photos, and if having a sweet moment for just the two of you not being witnessed by everyone seems amazing to you, this might be a good one to consider!

A newer tradition that Ellie and I did include in our wedding was writing our own vows. Those traditional promises just didn’t really cut it for us. It was important to us both that we were able to genuinely make promises to one another in our own words. Being able to hear her speak to me from her heart, and make those promises to me in her own words, somehow made them more valuable to me: she wasn’t just repeating lines: she thought them, wrote them and vowed them to me for me to hear in front of all our friends and family, and I did the same for her. It was truly beautiful! (I cried, other people were crying, she even almost teared up…wins all the way around!) If you’re not super attached to the idea of repeating those cookie cutter vows, then don’t! Get a little vulnerable and write them things y’all.

Those are just a handful of American wedding traditions; most of them really can be adjusted to fit whatever your style or preferences are, and they can really add something sweet to your day. When it comes to tradition, I say keep what you need and leave the rest. Keep the traditions, or parts of traditions, that are important to you and your partner: use them in ways that showcase who y’all are, and who you are as a couple. My best example of this would be the tradition of giving away the bride. Ellie and I come from two very different families when it comes to accepting who we are and our relationship. My family always had pretty strict religious views, and unfortunately the price of that was not having any of them present on our wedding day. Of course, this left a pretty big weird hole in the whole “traditional ceremony” thing. Ellie wanted her dad to give her away, and although some very small part of me desperately wanted the same thing, I had come to terms a long time ago with the fact that it just wouldn’t ever happen, for a few reasons. But I didn’t want to walk alone: I walked alone in my first marriage. At that point in my life, I felt if my daddy wouldn’t be there to give me away, then no one would give me away: I would give MYSELF away. But, almost a decade later, I didn’t feel that way anymore. In the end, Ellie’s dad walked her down the aisle, turned around and came right back down the middle again to get me, and he walked me down the aisle. We didn’t need him to “give us away”, he escorted both of us and both of us felt the love! It was perfect for us and for our family, and it still met some form of “tradition”. That’s what I mean when I say keep what you need and leave the rest. Your wedding day is a representation of y’all as a couple and what you’re committing to each other, so it’s okay to pick and choose, adjust, or go full on by the book traditional. I’ll even go so far as to say that I do think it’s important to keep some elements of tradition: in a way of showing respect for what the day is truly about, and what we are all there for. Marriage is a big deal! Joining together two families, and creating another tiny family to grow within that family: it’s a beautiful and sometimes complicated thing. It’s important to make sure to show focus to the serious as well as the fun!

I hope this week’s post gives some new perspective, and maybe even takes some of the stress off of trying to make everything happen perfectly! Tradition is important; it binds us together with some threads of commonality and reference, but it isn’t the end-all be-all.  Keep what you need and leave the rest, do what’s right for you and your partner, and don’t be afraid to make some adjustments along the way.  It’ll all be ok, I promise!

Happy planning y’all!


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