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10 Things You Don’t Need to Do at Your Wedding

If you’ve known me or followed me for any amount of time, you know how I feel about traditions and rules. {But if you’re new here, just know that I’m fully in the camp of “do what holds meaning for you!”} But moving into this mid- or even {fingers crossed} post-COVID world, the rules mean even less and there’s even more flexibility when it comes to things you do or don’t need to do at your wedding.

I’m running down the top 10 things you don’t need to do at your wedding along with some alternative ideas if you prefer one of those ideas vs skipping the activity completely! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with including any of these things at your wedding: I’ve seen so many weddings include and love them, especially when they’re meaningfully and intentionally chosen! This blog post is intended to encourage you to do just that, choose things that mean something to you, plan with intentionality!

You don’t have to wait to see each other at the end of the aisle

Most of my couples go for a first look, or another kind of moment that nullifies the nerves and allows you two to see each other and take photos before the ceremony. This means seeing each other for the first time on wedding day during a designated time when your media team {photographer + videographer} is there and ready. This could be staged with a big reveal or completely organic and casual, depending on what you’re looking for. Alternatively, you could actually get ready together and skip being apart entirely! For a lot of my couples, not seeing each other for an extended period of time can feel really weird! Especially on a day when nerves and excitement is high, seeing each other earlier in the day can help calm you.

You don’t have to walk in with your parents or with anyone

This isn’t an option or a desire for everyone – plus there are blended families with multiple sets of parents, so how do you even choose? – and luckily I’ve seen so many amazing variations on the ceremony entrance! You and your spouse-to-be could walk in together, entering and exiting as a united front. You could each walk in by yourselves, meeting in the middle to continue the walk together or meeting at the end of the aisle. Or you could walk in with your entire wedding party altogether, if you wanted!

You don’t have to have a wedding party

The wedding party can look absolutely however you’d like it to. What you’re likely used to seeing is around 5 people on each marrier’s side, but you could cut that down to one person on each, only one person on one side, mismatched numbers on each side, or no one at all! There’s nothing wrong with having a huge wedding party and there’s nothing wrong with not having one at all! You can include important people in your ceremony in so many other ways: like with readings or songs or bringing you pieces during the ceremony, like rings or something for a unity ceremony.

You don’t have to have a cake cutting or cake at all

There are so many options here! I’ve seen a number of alternative desserts: cupcakes, candy buffets, literal piles of cheese, pie, etc. So if you don’t want a cake, skip it! If you don’t want cake but you still like the tradition of cutting the cake together – for some it symbolizes providing for each other – then cut whatever you’d like! Or come up with your own moment that can still hold the meaning without putting pressure on you to perform. Alternatively, and what a lot of my couples choose, is to have a super relaxed cake cutting. So you could do it for the photos, do it for the official dessert time start, but skip the big announcement and guest stampede to come watch.

You don’t have to have toasts & speeches

Though it’s still super common to hold at least one toast during the reception, a lot of couples are moving the bulk of the toasts to the rehearsal dinner instead, so the audience is much smaller and it can feel like less pressure on both the couple and the toast-giver. You don’t even have to have any toasts or speeches if you don’t want, or you can swing the other way and open the floor to whomever! It completely depends on your crowd and how you feel.

You don’t have to have a bouquet & garter toss

These are probably the most-skipped wedding day activities for my couples, and that’s totally okay! A lot of my couples don’t have single friends or don’t care for this for myriad other reasons {trust me, there are plenty} but I’ve also seen couples who put their own spin on this instead, like one couple who chose to toss a stuffed Kirby instead of a garter!

You don’t have to have parent dances

Maybe you change this up and dance with someone else – another important figure in your life who isn’t a parent – or just skip it entirely to avoid the pressure or whatever reason, either way is totally okay. You could also have the dance privately!

You don’t have to have a public first dance or one at all

Most of my couples are shy or don’t care for tons of attention being on them, so having the first dance privately or as a group dance or skipping it altogether are some easy ways to stay comfortable during the reception.

You don’t have to have an official exit

There are typically three ways I’ve seen receptions end: with an official exit where the remaining guests send the married couple off in style with sparklers or bubbles, etc, the fake exit which is just for show and allows the guests to leave or stick around for the after party as they wish, or the organic wind-down which just lets people trickle out whenever. What you do entirely depends on how you and your crowd feel! If you’re an early bedtime human, call it quits at a specific time! If you have a party crowd, maybe opt for a soft end time and keep it going at an after party! If exits don’t mean anything to you and you know people will do what they want, let it wind down naturally! If you’re worried people will feel obligated to stay past their comfort, give them an out with an exit, no matter what you choose to do afterwards.

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do

No, really! You honestly don’t have to do anything at all at your wedding, especially if you’re not feeling like it. And if you’re struggling with feelings of obligation from someone important to you, sit down with those people who are putting pressure on you and have a heart to heart with them. What is important to them about you doing XYZ at your wedding? What’s their why? Is it that they didn’t do or have something at their own wedding and they’ve always regretted it? They’re more than likely coming from a good place, from a caring place and they want to help. So figure out their why and see if there’s a compromise you can come up with or some way to make them feel seen or heard without changing how you want to celebrate your wedding.

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