In my experience with individuals planning their wedding they have all voiced the same concern as the hardest part of their wedding planning; is it okay to skip traditions? The simple fast answer is YES, absolutely! Your wedding should feel like you and be the day you have always envisioned; if that means cutting out things you feel like you are “supposed” to do.
While you can skip any traditions and make your wedding day exactly what you want, there are a few traditions people ask me about the most, and some fun alternatives.
First, a cake. While your guests expect something sweet after dinner, as long as there is something to satisfy that sweet craving your guests will not miss a cake. Additionally, I have seen so many weddings where the cake is served and goes completely uneaten and is wasted! Some fun alternatives would be cupcakes, cookies, pies, etc. In Pittsburgh the classic cookie table is already a built-in alternative, and I promise with the plethora of cookie options; your guests will not miss the cake.
Next, the bouquet/garter toss. Honestly I do not see these done more than I do anymore. Again, while it can be fun, your guests will never expect it. If you don’t have very many single guests that can be an even better reason to skip this tradition for your wedding. I have seen a few different options; instead of tossing a bouquet I have seen people toss different items more specific to them and using them to represent something else. I recently saw a bride toss a cat Squish Mellow and whoever caught it agreed to adopt a cat at the event.
Toasts may seem like something that is such a no-brainer to include in your wedding, but if you opt out of a bridal party or attendants all together you may be left feeling like you have noone to make a toast. It is ok to skip! You may have someone special lead a group prayer, group activity or otherwise announce, but I promise that toasts are not something you have to do!
If you have a very special young person in your life it probably feels very obvious for you to have them as your flower girl or ring bearer, but similarly to the bouquet and garter toss, I do not see these as often as I used to. I think the presence of a child in a wedding brings a little extra chaos that not everyone wants during their ceremony. I have seen people instead opt for their grandmother to be their flower girl, or have a flower dude to add a little more fun to the occasion. Either way, it does not have to be a child, and you don’t have to have them at all!
Favors are definitely a hot topic in weddings, are they expected? What do guests even want? Long story short, I think we will find more people opting toward a magnified guest experience rather than something small to take home, and I am here for it. Many favors that couples take time to create and choose end up in the trash or taken home and not used unfortunately. If you agree, you could opt for a photo booth, caricature drawings, or something similar for your guests.
All this being said, if one or all of these are important to you; go for it! Your day is about you and your partner, and it should be exactly what you want it to be; all the traditions, none of them, or just a few!