If you’re like most brides, you’ve had a vision of your wedding day since you were a child. Since then, you’ve probably been to several weddings and have come to learn about certain wedding traditions that take place during the ceremony and reception. From your father walking you down the aisle, to the mother and son dance, the feeding of the cake, and more, these traditions are steeped in history, but what if circumstances don’t allow for some of these traditions?
The first thing to do is to take a step back and realize that your wedding is about you and your partner. You can make your wedding whatever you want it to be. Start your own new traditions. After taking a deep breath and realizing that—yay!— you’re getting married, and that someone loves you and wants to commit the rest of their life to you, you should be on cloud nine.
So, now let’s tackle the details.
Father Walking Bride Down The Aisle
In some cultures, the father walks the bride down the aisle and “gives her away” to the waiting groom. This can cause stress to those who don’t have a father at the ceremony for one reason or another. Instead of seeing this as a loss, focus on what you do have and realize that no one is really giving you away. Honor someone else in your family by having them walk you down the aisle, such as a grandfather, uncle, brother, best friend, or even your mother. There are many options, and all can create a special memory. If your father has passed, you can honor him by having your escort wear something of his, or his favorite color. You can also honor him at the ceremony with a dedication, a video, or whatever else you choose.
Mother and Son Dance
The mother and son dance is part of many wedding traditions, but like the bride whose father is not attending, sometimes the groom’s mother is not able to be there. In this instance you can skip the dance entirely, or the groom can dance with a special person in their lives, such as a grandmother, aunt, sister, best friend, or even the bride’s mother or sister. Try to keep it upbeat—this is a celebration! You can also honor his mother with a tribute, a song, or a picture.
Feeding of the Cake
With the diet restrictions of many people today, it’s no wonder the wedding cake has come front and center when it comes to choices. If the bride or groom have food allergies, food sensitivities, or just don’t eat sugar, should you get a cake catered to those needs or get a mainstream cake that everyone will enjoy? The answer is simple. Get both! The actual wedding cake that will serve all your guests can be a regular sugar-laden cake, while backstage there is a special cake made with coconut palm sugar, stevia, an alternate flour choice, or whatever else you choose. When it comes to the bride feeding the groom and vice versa, that’s the cake you should use. And remember to make sure that the top layer of the cake is your special cake, because that’s the layer you’ll save for your one year anniversary.
The First Dance
The first dance between the bride and groom is a special one and all eyes will be on you. So, what happens if one of you can’t stand up to dance. Whether the bride is on crutches or the groom is in a wheelchair, there are many ways to make the dance romantic and unique. Decorate the crutches or wheelchair, and take it slow. Sit on his lap as he spins around in the chair or lift her off her feet and twirl her. The dance is meant to be a moment of connection between the two of you, so just take the time to connect. This dance will be special no matter how you dance it.
Weddings are supposed to be about love, but sometimes his mother just doesn’t like you, or her dad doesn’t accept you. Maybe both parents don’t approve of the wedding for religious reasons. These differences shouldn’t wreck your wedding. The best way to handle it is to have frank discussion with the opposing parent or parents. Ask them if they truly want to be there and state, in no uncertain terms, that if they attend, they have to behave. Sometimes you may have to leave them out, but if they do attend, do not focus on any negativity. This day is your day. Keep the families separate, on different sides of the room, if they don’t get along.
No matter what differences you may have in keeping with tradition, keep in mind that it’s not the traditions or the white dress that make a wedding. Your love for each other and the celebration of the start of your new lives together is what the wedding is about.