When planning my wedding, my fiancé and I altered some age-old traditions, gave a few the boot and put our own spin on things to make our day exactly what we wanted.
Here are 10 rules we broke to make the day completely our own:
It took us six months to set a date.
We got engaged around Christmas while we were still in college, meaning a new semester of difficult courses was starting up. We didn't have the time to devote to planning the wedding we wanted, so we took some time to simply enjoy our new title of "fiancés."
You don't have to pick a date within days of saying yes if you aren't ready.
Any newly-engaged couple knows the famous question people ask right away: "Do you have a date set?"
It's wonderful people want to share your happiness, but you don't have to pick a date within days of saying yes if you aren't ready.
Our wedding party was uneven.
The idea there has to be the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen was absurd to me, and honestly, the only benefit is it's aesthetically pleasing in pictures.
We found a way to creatively pair up five bridesmaids and three groomsmen for the ceremony, and we got some pretty great photos with the uneven group, too.
I didn't wear a traditional dress.
Stark white wasn't a pleasing color to me, and I didn't like the look of a long train and an unattractive bustle.
I opted for a tea-length gown and bought it one size up, so it hit the floor perfectly. It was in a soft champagne color, and I felt like a real-life princess.
Do what fits your style, whether it's a bright-white, princess ball gown or an atypical dress in an outrageous color.
Dessert came first.
As soon as we made our way in from the grand march at our reception, we went straight to cake-cutting to get it done first.
We went straight to cake-cutting to get it done first.
This small change made so many things easier: Our photographer was still there to get the photos, people didn't have to feel awkward about taking a cupcake right away after dinner and no one had to wait around or hurry in from outside to see us cut it later on.
It also allowed me to eat a piece of cake immediately, which is every bride's dream.
We put a twist on the "clinking glasses to kiss" game.
My husband and I weren't fans of having to stop and kiss as people obnoxiously tapped their silverware on their glasses during dinner.
Instead, we opted to do something different with the help of our wonderful MC/DJ. She had a list of certain couples in the room, with write-ups I did on each one.
Whenever people clinked their glasses, she called out another couple in the room to kiss before my husband and I would. People absolutely loved this game and kept requesting to be on the list.
There wasn't a garter-removal ceremony...
Although this can be amusing for people to witness, our personal taste veered away from my husband putting his head up my dress to pull off a garter with his teeth.
It didn't emulate the class and sophistication our reception had, so we steered clear, and nobody even noticed.
...but there were two bouquet tosses.
With the removal of the garter ceremony, I completely forgot to bring a garter from home to toss.
In a whirlwind improvising act, one of the bridesmaids offered up her bouquet for me to toss, and I gave my (actual) toss bouquet to my husband to throw for all the single guys.
This is actual proof you can change things on a whim, and nobody cares. In fact, everyone had a great laugh over it.
We didn't party until the sun came up.
Our DJ actually ended at 11 pm, with the advice that "a good party should end when it should, not when it shouldn't."
Although we probably could have danced all night, ending a little earlier was a blessing in disguise. It removed that last-hour awkwardness where lots of people file out, and you're left with only a lonely handful of party-goers.
Although we probably could have danced all night, ending a little earlier was a blessing in disguise.
When the party was over, we still had a full room. This also gave my husband and I a chance to go back to our room and have some time alone to reflect on our amazing day.
We did more than make continuous circles around the room and mingle.
If I had a dollar for every time someone said, "You won't get to eat or dance on your wedding day," I probably could have paid for my dress.
But this wasn't true. My husband and I enjoyed a great dinner at our head table, had time for a glass of champagne and still found time to walk around the room and say personal "hellos" to all our guests during cocktails and dinner.
When the lights got low, I spent most of the night dancing with my new hubs and my best friends. Your wedding is supposed to be your day — eat your dinner, eat your cake and dance all night if you want to.
There wasn't a huge honeymoon planned.
Like most millennial couples, we're on a budget and establishing our careers. When we get our feet on the ground, we can live the dream and visit Germany and Hawaii.
For now, though, we settled for a "minimoon" and got out of town for a couple days to the city where my husband had work testing.
You don't have to go halfway around the world to spend quality time together.
We had time for shopping, amazing meals together, good conversations, a nice hotel and some much needed relaxation. You don't have to go halfway around the world to spend quality time together.
When planning your wedding, break whatever rules you want. You aren't required to adhere to any existing traditions. Create a reflection of who you really are as a couple.
In the end, it's not even about the party; it's about the marriage. But you'll be happy to look back and say you had exactly the wedding you've always wanted.