Traditional weddings aren’t really my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I like dressing up and shaking my booty like the world’s ending, but staid bridal traditions and lofty expectations make me sick to my stomach. But a couple of days ago, I got married. To a charismatic, ambitious, outrageously funny human being who doubles as my best friend. This meant that I had to make peace with the wedding process and find a way to make it mine.
I’ve never been one of those girls who dreamed about her wedding day. I’ve dreamt of winning large PR accounts, living in Spain, and owning a horse, but not traipsing down a petal-covered aisle swathed in white lace. Me wearing white to my wedding felt about as natural as a pink moose. For me, there was only one choice: Red. As in 1940’s-era scarlet with a shot of flamenco. Unsurprisingly, most wedding dress designers didn’t share my enthusiasm for a red wedding dress. Thank God for Monqiue Lhuillier, whose staff embraced the idea with fervor.
Weddings don’t have to be what people tell you they have to be. They can be as individual as the people tying the knot. Otherwise, what’s the point? You have one day to unite your family, friends, and lifelong confidantes. I see it as an opporunity to create a unique experience. So for anyone who seeks nontraditional ways of planning a wedding, I submit these alternatives. They all worked for me.
1. If you don’t feel like reading bridal magazines or attending bridal shows, skip all of that. For me, it was liberating to dilute the power of the traditional bridal industry by not buying, reading, or attending any of its stuff.
2. Veils were traditionally worn to hide brides’ faces from other men. If that creeps you out, don’t wear one.
3. If you consider tossing a bouquet to be humiliating for single ladies, don’t do it. And if you plain just don’t feel like carrying a bouquet, don’t. There are no rules.
4. If spirituality and human kindness impact you more than organized religion, hold a nondenominational ceremony.
5. If awkward party games and penis lollipops don’t appeal to you, ax the wedding showers and bachelorette parties. Have a small dinner with your best friends.
6. If you feel badly making bridesmaids (or groomsmen) buy expensive outfits they’ll never wear again, ask them to wear a color. Let them choose something that works with their style, body type, and budget.
7. If registering for gifts makes you uncomfortable, set up funds with charities that mean something to you, and/or ask guests to donate to nonprofit organizations of their choice.
8. Write thank-you notes as you receive gifts (and/or donations) instead of doing them all at once after the wedding.
9. Don’t let anyone, at any time, tell you what to do or how to feel, and never allow them to make you feel badly about breaking tradition. They had their time, and this is yours.
10. Remember that just because you’re participating in an act that’s considered traditional, nothing else about it has to be. Modern women (and men) have a chance to show future generations that our world is continually moving forward. Own it.